Hidden within a warehouse is a rug. This rug, called the Fugue, is the home of the Seerkind, which was woven into a rug to keep it safe. However, the Fugue has enemies in the form of the witch Immacolata and her undead sisters the Magdalene and the Hag, as well as her human servant, Shadwell the Salesman. In their search to find and destroy the Fugue, they find a man known as Cal who takes it before they can and opens it up, bringing the land of the Fugue back. At that point, a story full of wonders and terrors begins...Clive Barker's second full-length novel, and his first novel that could more easily be classified as Urban Fantasy than Horror.
This novel provides examples of:
- Another Dimension: The Fugue, the magical places of our world that were hidden in the Weave.
- Arc Words: "That which is imagined need never be lost." It first appears in the book of fairy tales Suzanna's grandmother, Mimi, gave her. It shows up again at least twice after this and at the very end, the exact meaning is made clear.
- Big Bad: Immacolata, at least at first. This trope is played with rather interestingly, as Shadwell is actually the instigator of most of the conflict throughout the story, but only briefly holds any genuine power.
- Bigger Bad: The Scourge
- Body Horror: That ol' Barker classic. The Rake comes to mind. The Magdalene's children are horrific mishmashes of bodies twisted into every conceivable form of mutilated, warped wrongness.
- Cain and Abel: Immacolata killed her triplet sisters the Magdalene and the Hag when they were in the womb together.
- Continuity Nod: Immacolata refers to an incident where a man she knew was hunted by the Cenobites (not by name).
- Corrupt Cop: Hobart, who might have been an Inspector Javert, were it not for the fact that he's stone-cold insane.
- Lilith: Claimed by Immacolata as an ancestor.
- Crossover: At one point, Immacolata makes reference to mysterious demons she calls "The Surgeons". Better known as Cenobites.
- Death Equals Redemption: Immacolata
- Dragon Ascendant: Shadwell, the Salesman. Initially content to aid Immacolata in destroying the Seerkind, his desire for power goes to his head and he seeks to become a god of the Fugue, discarding Immacolata the instant her usefulness is spent.
- Green-Eyed Monster: The Seerkind consider envy to be humankind's defining trait.
- The Hecate Sisters: Immacolata, the Magdalene and the Hag are a thoroughly evil manifestation.
- Martyr Without a Cause: This is secretly Hobart's motivation.
- Meaningful Name: Immacolata, who is a virgin.
- Mother of a Thousand Young: The Magdalene's children are twisted monstrosities created as dark mirrors of the men whose seed creates them.
- Patchwork Map: The Fugue, quite literally. Justified, since it's made out of whatever odd patches of reality the Seerkind could take without being noticed.
- Spirit Advisor: The Magdalene and the Hag to Immacolata.
- Our Angels Are Different: Uriel, except that he's really not the angel Uriel, just a being serving a similar function who went insane and latched onto the story of Uriel guarding the gate to Eden as a means of justifying its existence.
- Villainous BSOD: Immacolata's breakdown in the Fugue.
- Virgin Power: Immacolata makes her magic stronger by retaining her virginity.
- Weirdness Censor: Stated to be the power of the Cuckoos, aka normal humans.
- Witch Species: The Seerkind