"Sacrament" is the tale of a young boy's apparently chance encounter with two immortals in the Yorkshire Dales, which changes the course of his life forever. As an adult living in San Francisco the encounter has left him with unfinished business (and a spirit guide that I felt held echoes of the bunny from Donnie Darko) to return to, business of epic proportions.
Clive Barker has a unique style and flow to his work, and a beautifuly brave and fertile imagination. This sees him glide well away from the often formulaic outpourings of other writers in his genre. Within the solidly described material worlds of California and Yorkshire, here is a story of humans and immortals, psychic powers, gods and devils and one in which esoteric and occult references abound.
My favourite pieces are the chapters set in Will's childhood. A number of modern writers of horror fantasy write exceptionally well from a youngster's point of view and then often insist on continuing or returning to the plot from a less-flexible adult perspective. This for me is only somewhat the case in "Sacrament".
Whilst Will's sexuality is important for elements of the twisting plot, Barker at times seems unsure what to do with it. The chapters set in the San Francisco gay scene are wearily and sometimes even cheesily romanticised. Though they do contrast - possibly deliberately - to the highly eroticised relationship of the immortal couple. The worst this does though is to give the reader a few extraneous pages and it hardly affects the flow of the book.
In all, an excellent read. I haven't read Clive Barker for a while, and having refreshed myself with "Sacrament" I think it's high time I was seeking him out again ...