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First UK edition
Author Clive Barker
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Dark Fantasy
Publisher Collins (UK)
Poseidon Press (US)
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 672
ISBN 0-00-223271-5

Weaveworld is a novel by Clive Barker. It was published in 1987 and could be categorised as dark fantasy. It deals with a parallel world, like many of Barker's novels, and contains many horror elements.

It was nominated in 1988 for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.

Plot summary[edit]

The novel revolves around the world of the Fugue, a magical world which lies woven within a rug. Many decades ago the Seerkind (creatures of magical abilities) decided to hide themselves through a spell or "Rapture" in a safe haven after being hunted down and eradicated by humans for centuries (with humans most commonly depicting them as demons and fairies in their mythological tales) as well as being decimated by a destructive being known as The Scourge. This creature's form is entirely unknown to the Seerkind, given that none of those assaulted by the Scourge survived to describe it. The Seerkind collect a number of beautiful places, hills, meadows and mountains, alongside their belongings and themselves and undergo a spell which encloses all of them in a rug. They also leave the wife of one of their kind, a non-seerkind woman named Mimi Laschenski, outside in the human world with the purpose of keeping and guarding the rug and also unleashing the world of the Fugue someday when the world had become a safe place for them. Eight decades later, a sudden interest emerges for the rug at the time an elderly Mimi (having recently gone through a stroke in her old age) expires: Calhoun Mooney, an ordinary young man, accidentally comes into contact with the rug and realises its magical nature; Suzanna Parish, Mimi's granddaughter, is given clues to the rug's existence from her grandmother (who can no longer speak since the stroke) and moves to uncover its secrets; Immacolata, exiled by the Seerkind into the human world, wants to find the rug and destroy her race. Cal and Suzanna join forces against Immacolata, her dead sisters and a greedy human known as Shadwell. The second part of the book develops within the world of Fugue, unleashed from within the rug, and deals with the struggle of characters for the control of this world. The third part sees the Fugue destroyed, with the surviving Seerkind, Cal and Suzanna hiding on a remote, wooded hill in Somerset and facing the ultimate battle against the resurrected Scourge.


  • Calhoun "Cal" Mooney: A bored young man whose life alternates between his job at an insurance company in Liverpool and caring for his father until he encounters the mysterious rug that instantly strikes him as something peculiar. Cal becomes entangled in a magical adventure while also realising his feelings for his companion Suzanna Parish.
  • Suzanna Parish: A young woman who pays a visit to her dying grandmother, Mimi Laschenski, and is given clues to her family's secret past. Suzanna carries both Seerkind and Cuckoo blood in her veins. After accidentally obtaining the menstruum by Immacolata, she becomes almost as powerful as her and proves her battle skills later on in the book, trying to save the Fugue.
  • Immacolata: A cold, ruthless sorceress, who was exiled by her own race for practising evil magic and desiring too much power. A woman of tremendous dark abilities, she seeks the rug with the purpose of destroying it and ultimately unmaking her kind.
  • Shadwell aka the Salesman: a greedy man, whose speciality is his talent to convince others to buy anything he chooses to sell. Shadwell has been given a gift by his accomplice, Immacolata; a jacket with a glittering lining which is able to hypnotise and persuade anybody to do his bidding by granting them a wish. He gradually becomes more and more confident and finally decides to seize the power of the Fugue for himself.
  • The Scourge: a catastrophic, ancient power of unknown origin. It slew the Seerkind by hundreds in the old times until they decided to prevent this genocide by hiding their world within the rug. After decades of hibernation, the Scourge is awoken in the desert by an eager Shadwell, who wishes to see the Seerkind thoroughly slaughtered. Persuaded by Shadwell, the Scourge then views itself as a form of avenging angel, identifying itself with Uriel.
  • The Hag: one of Immacolata's triplet sisters, whom she strangled while all three were in the womb. The Hag survived as the ghostly presence of a gruesome old woman, always accompanying her sister and helping her when necessary. She can divine knowledge by examining the afterbirth produced by her prolific and likewise ghostly sister.
  • The Magdalene: Immacolata's other triplet sister who also survives after her prenatal death as ectoplasm. She frequently rapes defenceless men and gives birth to brutally deformed abominations (called by-blows) within hours of their conception.
  • The Rake: A hideous phantasm of a former sorcerer named Domville who tested Immacolata by becoming a necromancer in an attempt to seduce her, believing himself to be more powerful than her. The attempt failed when he brought forth 'the Surgeons' (although it is never confirmed, it is heavily implied that these were the Cenobites from Barker's earlier work 'The Hellbound Heart' and its subsequent film adaptation 'Hellraiser'), who proceeded to fillet him. He is resurrected by Immacolata as a terrifying boneless demon and sent to assassinate the Seerkind which he does, claiming the life of Lillia before being destroyed by a passing train after being lured onto the tracks by Cal and Nimrod.
  • Jerichau St. Louis: one of the Seerkind who is among the first five to be unleashed from the rug. He later becomes Suzanna's friend and companion, choosing not to return to the weave.
  • Hobart: a cruel and deranged police inspector whom Shadwell manipulates to capture Suzanna and Jerichau. He is later possessed by the Scourge.
  • Nimrod: another one of the first five Seerkind to be unleashed from the carpet after Cal tears off a piece of it. He is a shape-shifter, initially trapped in the form of the infant which he used to escape from a jilted husband whose wife he had seduced.
  • Mimi Laschenski: Suzanna's grandmother, the guardian of the rug. At the time Immacolata tracks her down, she is too old and weak to use an effective magical trick and willingly dies to prevent herself from disclosing any secrets, under Immacolata's pressure.
  • Romo: A Seerkind lion-tamer and husband of Mimi. During an encounter with Immacolata, his lions grievously wound her in revenge for Mimi's death at the hands of the dark sorceress.
  • Balm de Bono: A Seerkind rope-dancer. He becomes friends with Cal during Calhoun's first visit to the Fugue, and later warns he and Suzanna of the approaching Scourge following a failed attempt to invoke the Old Science to combat it.
  • Lemuel Lo: Owns an orchard of enchanted fruit (Giddy fruit) in the Fugue, which is later burned to the ground by Hobart's invading forces.
Cover for Japanese edition of Weaveworld.

Religious aspects[edit]

The novel contains several religious references, particularly in the form of character names:

  • Immacolata's name is a reference to an epithet of Virgin Mary, in association to the Immaculate Conception, a central belief of Roman Catholic Church. Immacolata is often described by Barker as a perverse version of Virgin Mary. She persists on her "virtue" by keeping her virginity. She is also called in the novel by the alias Black Madonna.
  • One of Immacolata's ghost-sisters is named "the Magdalene". The Magdalene is a lusty, nymphomaniac ectoplasm. Her namesake denotes a contrast to the "chastity" her sister's name declares, by having a vague association with Mary Magdalene, disciple of Christ. Mary Magdalene has often been identified with the nameless adulteress whom Christ saved from an angry crowd, as chronicled in the Bible.
  • The Scourge is a being of unknown origin, whose mission was to guard a garden, wherein the Seerkind were born and remained captives, until their escape. Immacolata mentions that different religions have called the garden different names, including Christianity which has acknowledged the fabled garden as the Garden of Eden.
  • The Scourge presents itself to Shadwell as if it is the incarnation of the angel Uriel, with the mission to punish the Seerkind due to their escape from the Garden of Eden.

"The Scourge rose from its throne of sand, and in an instant it grew blindingly bright. Shadwell covered his eyes, but the light shone through flesh and bone, and into his head, where the Scourge was pronouncing its eternal name. I am called Uriel, it said. Uriel, of the principalities."

  • Jerichau's name is a reference to Jericho, the city (in the Occupied Palestinian Territories) that is mentioned in the Bible.
  • Nimrod's name is a reference to the evil Mesopotamian king, Nimrod, who built the city of Babel.

Critical Reception[edit]

Reviewing Weaveworld in the Toronto Star, Henry Mietkiewicz stated "Barker proves to be far more accomplished and self-assured than in any of his previous work...Weaveworld depends upon a relatively intricate narrative structure and a host of finely crafted characters". [1]

Comic book adaptation[edit]

Cover of Weaveworld # 1. Art by Mike Manley.

Weaveworld was made into a three-issue comic series in 1991 by Epic Comics. The series were written by Erik Saltzgaber and pencilled by Mike Manley. Clive Barker served as consultant.

Mini-series adaptation[edit]

A possible film or television adaptation of the novel has often been deemed problematic, mainly due to the epic scope of the book which demands an extensive use of special effects, many costumes and scenery and a potentially huge script. It has frequently been rumoured that the novel would be adapted into a mini-series. Such rumours have spread throughout the years, since Showtime obtained the legal rights for a mini-series in 1996 but so far, despite the occasional rumours, no project has come to fruition. Novelist and screenwriter Michael Marshall Smith completed a first draft of a script for an eight-hour mini-series in 1995. Smith was later asked to write a complete script, but the project has fallen into hiatus and he is no longer involved.[2] In 2001, Barker stated in an interview that a Showtime six-hour mini-series was about to enter a two-year preproduction stage, directed by Queer as Folk director Russell Mulcahy, probably shot in Australia.[3] Barker announced that shooting was slated to start in 2003, with Stephen Molton as the screenwriter. In 2005, Barker stated that "finally, finally, finally!" the book had been adapted into a mini-series.[4] In 2006, Barker again claimed that the mini-series adaptation was about to enter production.[5]


External links[edit]