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Clive Barker


Clive Barker






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Book No.






Followed By

Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War

Abarat is the first of five planned novels in the Abarat Quintet by Clive Barker. It was published in 2002 by HarperCollins.

It is followed by Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War, which was published in 2004, and Abarat: Absolute Midnight, which was published in 2011.

Synopsis (from U.K Edition)[]

It begins in the most boring place in the world - Chickentown, U.S. A.There lives Candy Quackenbush, her heart bursting for some clue as to what her future might hold. When the answers come it's not one she expects. Out of nowhere comes a wave, and Candy, led by a man called John Mischief, leaps into the surging waters and is carried away to the Abarat - an archipelago where every island is a different hour of the day.

As Candy journeys from one amazing place to another, making fast friends and encountering treacherous foes, she begins to realize something - she has been there before. Candy has a place in this extraordinary world - she is there to help save the Abarat from the dark forces that are stirrimg at its heart.

She's a strange heroine, she knows. But this is a strange world. And in the Abarat, all things are possible.

Plot Summary[]

Prologue - The Mission

The book begins with three women, each of different ages, who are on a small red ship being chased by a storm. Their names are Diamanda, Joephi, and Mespa. With them they carry a "precious cargo" in the form of a small box that carries the hope of the Abarat. All three are anxious about getting caught from their leave from the Palace of Bowers. They are debating whether or not they should be doing their holy mission, which relates to the death of a young girl. A falling star hits their sail as they duck for cover. They suspect the star, and the storm, was meant for them. Mespa notices a fifty-foot mantizac, a type of sea serpant, has been following them. When it lunges out of the water, it nearly bites Diamanda. They decide their dire situation calls for some "moon-magic" and begin to pray to Lady Moon. Veins of energy leap from Diamanda's fingers and move skyward. Mespa says Lady Moon heard, and the clouds part with the power of moonlight. The light covers the boat and fixes its damages. The light fades away, and the women sail on towards a place called the Hereafter. 

Part One - Morning Tide

The main story begins with Candy Quackenbush who lives in Chickentown, Minnesota, a place she detests and finds boring. In school her teacher assigns the class project in which they have to find ten interesting facts about the town, something Candy doubts she can do. When Candy goes home and tells her mother Melissa, she insists Candy can't do it because she actually wants something weird. Melissa suggests that she go to the Comfort Tree Hotel in town and inquire about a Henry Murkitt. Candy goes here and talks to woman her mother used to work with named Norma Lipnik. She tells Candy about a room that has never been rented out since she has worked there; Room Nineteen. Norma then takes Candy to the room and tells her about Henry Murkitt. He was the grandson of the man who founded Chickentown, which was originally called Murkitt. Henry's life was a series of a calamities, including his wife Diamanda leaving him mysteriously. In 1947, the town council decided to change the name of the town, leading to Henry's suicide in the hotel room. There are still blood stains on the wall visible. He left behind a sextant, and a note about "waiting for his ship to come in." Candy leaves the hotel satisfied with the morbid details.

Back in class, the teacher Miss Schwartz berates Candy's paper, calling it pure gossip. She continues to harass Candy, and loses her patience when she see's the doodles in her notebook. Candy doesn't realize it at first, but she had been drawing the sea. Schwartz tells Candy to go to the principles office, but when she goes down the hallway she decides to walk out of the school to the anger of her teacher. She walks down the streets of her town, feeling a new freedom. She decides to follow a golden cloud that has amassed in the sky and leaves the town's last street out into a grassy prairie. As she gets farther into the grassland, she finds strange sea shells and a rundown lighthouse. 

Before she can fathom why these things are in the middle of a prairie, miles away from any sea, she senses movement near her. After hiding in the grass for a moment, she sees the movement was a strange-looking man. He has a red skin, one narrow eye and one wide, and a pair of antlers. On the antlers are seven small heads, each one possesing the ability to speak. The man introduces himself as John Mischief, and his seven John brothers on his antlers as Fillet, Sallow, Moot, Drowze, Pluckitt, Serpent, and Slop. Right after he introduces himself, he tells her there is someone close that he had been running from. They drop low in the grass and see him, a tall and gaunt named Mendelson Shape. He is grotesque in appearance, and looking around the grassland. John Mischief tells Candy their meeting must be Providence and asks her for a favor. He asks if she would go inside the rundown lighthouse and turn on the light while he distracts Shape. She agrees.

Mischief runs off to distract Shape while Candy makes a run for the lighthouse. Mischief manages to stab Shape, but he quickly catches onto the distraction and begins to walk towards the lighthouse. Candy carefully walks up the rotted wooden steps and makes it to the top room. In the center of the room she finds a small bowl on top of an inverted pyramid. When she can't make sense of it, Mischeif tells her "Light is the oldest game in the world." Shape breaks open the lighthouse door and begins to slowly ascend the stairs, taunting her with morbid lullabies. In the rotted floorboards she finds a small metal ball with waves carved all around its turquoise surface. Right before Shape enters the room she throws the ball inside the cup. The pyramid begins to glow and spin. Shape berates her for what she has done, which she sees when she looks out of the balcony. 

Rolling out onto the prarie in the distance is a large blue sea, quickly approaching the lighthouse. Shape tells her it is called the Sea of Izabella and is in a trance-like state as he watches it. But soon after that he tells her the Abarat is not for human eyes and starts to choke her. Under the weight of both of them, the lighthouse floor collapses just as she fall unconcious. When she wakes, John Mischief is with her. He says they need to be leaving, but asks if she will carry something with her but won't tell her what it is. When he tells her to have a look at it, she unwraps a leather bundle and a light flashes, revealing an empty bag. Mischief tells her she now has the Key. Before he leaves with the waves, Candy begs him to take her with. He doesn't want to at first, but her insistence convinces her. They walk out onto a jetty that had appeared with the sea and jump into the water towards the Abarat.

Part Two - Twilight and Beyond

Candy and Mischief let the Sea of Izabella carry them away. Mischief tells her about the Islands of the Abarat. There are twenty-five islands, one for each hour of the day and one more that is a mystery. On each island, the time is always according to the hour's name and the time is constant. The large waves seperate Candy and Mischief from each other. Candy comes upon a group of fish-like humanoids playing cards on a table above the water. She washes up on their table. The group call themselves Sea-Skippers, and help Candy find Mischief in the waters. Soon afterward, the Sea-Skippers give Candy and Mischeif a ride to the nearest island in the Straits of Dusk; the Yebba Dim Day at 8 o'clock. The Yebba Dim Day is a large island that is shaped like a head with many levels and towers all along the top. When the group makes it close to the docks, people instantly recognize John Mischief as a thief and police are called. Mischief admits to Candy that him and his brothers are master thieves, and has to leave her for both their safety. 

Candy is dropped off on the dock and makes her way inside the Yebba Dim Day. The whole structure seems to be made out of the old timber from broken ships and other types of driftwood. The walls that make up the many levels of the Great Head are lined with the shells of many animals and barnacles. Cables connected all throughout the structure keep the electricity on, but there are many outages and flickering lights. Candy sees many different types of species when walking through the levels. Many of them are humanoids, but with many other distinguishing features. Most have hats that have a fishtank on top. 

A woman named Izarith approaches Candy and asks if she is cold. She has gills on her cheeks and necks like the Sea-Skippers that brought her to the island. Izarith offers her hospitality just as the dock that Candy entered through collapses and many people go into a frenzy. Candy takes Izarith's offer and goes into her house. She meets Izarith's children, Maiza and Nazre, who are a toddler and infant. Nazre has a sickness, which Izarith attributes to being away from the Sea. Izarith says that her great-grandfather was a pureblooded species of waterdwellers called Skizmut, but her blood was diluted to the point where she cannot breathe underwater or visit the great Skizmut cities like she wants. She and her husband Ruthus want to buy a boat to be closer to the sea. Candy offers some dollars and finds out the Abaratian currency is called Paterzem, which has a high exchange rate for dollars. Izarith looks at the dollars incredulously, but excitedly accepts Candy's offer. Izarith asks Candy is she will watch her children while she runs out for some food. 

Meanwhile, the story shifts point of view back to Mendelson Shape who made it back from the Hereafter. He is waiting in the library of the Twelfth Tower on the island of Gorossium at 12 o'clock midnight. He is waiting to talk to the Lord of Midnight, a man named Christopher Carrion. When Carrion enters the room, it's enough to make Mendelson flinch. The Lord of Midnight has pale skin like a corpse, black robes, and a deep voice. His lips have many scars where his grandmother had sewn his mouth shut for saying the word love. Around his head there is a translucent tank of fluid that hold several forms of snaking lightning. The forms are Carrion's nightmares that are funnelled out of his brain. When they rub against his skin, he is able to relive his nightmares and smile. Mendelson tells Carrion that he failed in his mission to steal the Key back from John Mischief because of a teenage girl. Carrion uses magic to throw Mendelson across the room in punishment. He tells Mendelson to find the girl Candy even if she is dead, claiming that he can interrogate the dead if he needs to. Carrion appears to be amused at the notion of seeing a girl. 

Part Three - Where Is When?

Candy awakes in Izarith's house after nodding off for a few minutes and hears a strange buzzing sound. When she turns she sees a large bug watching her. Slowly she starts to fight the bug, only to find that it is a mechanical device with camera eyes. It escapes just as Izarith comes back in. Izarith then tells Candy to leave, fearing the safety of her children. Candy understands her concern and leaves.

Back on Gorgossium, Christopher Carrion meets with a man from Commexo City, a city of light on the dark isle of Pyon at 3 o'clock in the morning. Carrion resents the man who founded the city, Rojo Pixler, for bringing light to the darkest part of the isle, but finds his technology useful. He has a man named Voorzangler into the tower to show him one of Pixler's devices, the Universal Eye. It is an automated screen that has thousands of video footage from all across the Abarat. Mendelson identifies the footage of Candy taken in the Yebba Dim Day. Carrion suddenly feels entranced while watching her face, as if he had met her before. When the video ends, Carrion keeps the device and chokes Voorzangler and sends him away when he objects. Carrion tells Mendelson to wait at Vesper's Rock for further instruction to go after Candy. When they get there, Carrion uses ground-up human bones and magic to conjure a giant moth for Mendelson to ride.

When Candy goes back onto the streets of the Yebba Dim Day, the crowds are still in a frenzy over the dock collapsing. During the distraction Candy steals a few pastries from a street vendor and runs. As she eats them in an alley she is approached by a man named Samuel Hastrim Klepp the Fifth who saw her steal the pastries and says he won't tell if she shares. He says that he is the editor of Klepp's Almenak, a magazine that his ancestor started generations ago. Klepp also reveals his distrust of a man named Rojo Pixler because of his propaganda figure, a joyous child called the Commexo Kid. Candy follows Klepp into his home where he prints the Almenak. On the balcony Candy uses a squid-like being to telescopically observe the archipelago as Klepp tells her about the Twenty-Five islands. The island that she tries to focus on is the Twenty-Fifth Hour, which Klepp says is called Odom's Spire. It is a tall island shrouded in glowing mist that no one has been to without disappearing or coming out insane. As they watch the islands, a giant moth flies down and kidnaps Candy from the balcony, and Mendelson Shape is commanding it. Shape tries to scare her with different stories about the horrors of Gorgossium. Nearby air ballons fire arrows at the moth and strike it between the eyes. It pluments down toward a forest on another island.

Part Four - Wicked Strange

In the forest of Gorgossium, Christopher Carrion is taking an introspective walk. He sees the balloon attack from the eyes of the giant moth. The girl Candy shifts his thoughts towards his past romance with a princess of the daylight islands named Boa. Years before they had communicated through letters about a marraige between them. He thought it would be a grand idea, since they were of two worlds, night and day. In her letters she politely refused him time and time again even though her father King Claus and brother Prince Quiffin like the prospect. Her rejection didn't sit well with Carrion. He thinks to himself that appearance of the girl from the Hereafter might be a second chance for him.

When the moth falls, it lands in a small copse of trees. Candy lands in the canopy, but Mendelson had been thrown off onto some rocks farther away. Candy climbs down easily from the trees and hides as she sees the hunters from the balloons land nearby. She overhears that one of the men is Rojo Pixler, the man Klepp had told her about. His assitant sees her in the trees and captures her. The man lets her go when she realizes the squid on her face died. She buries it on the island as Pixler tries to convince her to join him. When she tells him she is from the Hereafter, he asks if she will take him there, presumably to conquer. Candy is able to escape when she tells them that the moth was made with the Lord of Midnight's magic, and heads off further into the island.

Meanwhile, the point of view shifts to John Mischief after he and his brothers left Candy at the dock at the Yebba Dim Day. To escape the police, he joins a crew on a ship called the Belbelo. The crew are a dark-skinned woman named Geneva Peachtree, a captain named Hemmett McBean, a humanoid creature named Two-Toed Tom, a brutish man named Kiss Curl Carlotti, and a young psychic girl named Tria. Notably, Tom has a husband and children who he left behind for the crew's mission. Geneva tells Mischief that they need him to dig to look for Finnegan Hobb, the son of a Prince of Day and a low-born magic woman of night, and also the former fiance of the dead Princess Boa. Ever since a dragon had killed her on their wedding day, Finnegan has wanted revenge against all dragons, also putting blame on Christopher Carrion as the one who had the dragon kill her. Soon after he joins them, they run into a sea dragon who tries to get the crew to give up Tria to pass through his waters. They battle the dragon, but Mischief is greatly wounded by the dragon's teeth. The Belbelo sinks and they make their way toward the island called the Nonce, which Tria says is the place where Finnegan is.

Candy makes her way across the island, which she identifies as Ninnyhammer at 10 o'clock. She spots a domed house at the top of a hill and makes her way toward it. A group of wide-eyed cats reveal themselves to her and appear to swarm her. After they become very numerous, Candy runs from them towards the house. She pounds on the front door and a short man steps out. He is short but looks taller because of the many hats he wears. He lets her inside the house, cursing what he calls the Tarrie-Cats. He introduces himself as Kaspar Wolfswinkel. His house is covered in books and pamphlets. Kaspar begins to tell her about the devil cats, but she thinks the words cruel. When she hears crying from the other room he tells her there is a wake going on. She doesn't believe him, as he is wearing a bright yellow suit. When she accuses him of lying his attitude changes and he refuses to let her leave. Too late does Candy realize the cats were trying to warn her. Kaspar has his slave Malingo, a orange-skinned creature, put her in a blue cage. Malingo's eyes are kind, Candy notes. Kaspar then uses some sort of magic to go through Candy's mind and pulls out the Key that the John brothers had put there. The pain of his invasion knocks her unconcious.

When Candy awakes, she hears Kaspar in the other room telling someone about finding her and the Pyramid Key. Malingo is nearby and tells her she needs to escape. Kaspar hears them talking and demands they go to him. He puts Candy on the telephone to a man named Otto Houlihan, an assassin and torturer for Christopher Carrion. He interrogates her about the Key, but she feigns innocence. The last thing Houlihan says is that he is coming for her. Kaspar dismisses her and Malingo. In the other room, Malingo tells her she needs to escape but it's nearly impossible. Before they can discuss it further Kaspar comes in and begins to mentally torture Malingo. Candy defends him, and Kaspar tells her it is useless to defend a geshrat, the species that Malingo is. While fetching Kaspar's rum, Candy sees the portraits of five people who are wearing the hats that Kaspar currently has on. When she brings him his rum, she pushes him and takes his staff, attempting to escape. Kaspar calls Malingo, who then takes the staff from Candy. Malingo hesitates when given an order, a sign that his master's influence is waning. When Candy and him try to run away, Kaspar takes ahold of her wrist. Candy starts to hit him and knocks of all of his hats. His reaction to losing them makes Candy realize that his magic comes from the hats. Her and Malingo escape from the house after Malingo strikes Kaspar on the knee.

Candy and Malingo flee from the house into the darkness, with Malingo celebrating his freedom. Soon after, they hear the voice of Kaspar nearby them, taunting. Candy cannot see him, which Malingo attributes to his magic has. He begins to beat Malingo and tries to drag Candy back to the house. A group of the tarrie cats swarm around them, causing the invisible Kaspar to back away in fear. Candy realizes that the cats can see him. Malingo wrestles the hats off of Kaspar, and the short man becomes visible. A man walks into view who has a very feline face. He introduces himself as Jimothi, the leader of the tarrie cats and as the warden of Kaspar who is a prisoner on the island for murdering his friends for their magic hats. Jimothi advises her to get away from the island before Otto Houlihan arrives. Malingo suggests they conjure a glyph through magic, revealing that he learned how to wield magic when Kaspar would pass out from rum. He begins to recite an incantation, but the glyph doesn't appear quickly enough. Houlihan's glyphs are seen in the distance, so Candy decides to help him with his conjuration. They quickly summon the glyph out the air just as Houlihan's glyphs and army land far away from them. His army is a brutal breed of stichlings, beings made of mud and sewn-together rags that Christopher Carrion's grandmother makes. The stichlings get to the glyph just as her and Malingo are lifting away.

Candy and Malingo celebrate their escape, but it is short-lived as they feel the glyph being pulled toward the Twenty-Fifth Hour. When the glyph reaches the colorful clouds, it gets tipped upside down and Candy feels herself thrown out. She falls into an strange darkness of blank space, holding very still. After a few moments, she hear the sound of rain. Voices of her mother and father sound out, and she realizes it was a conversation that happened before she was born. Three voices of woman come into the darkness. A light reveals the woman. One is very old with long white braids. One is dark-skinned and has the night sky in her eyes. The other has a feral beauty in her face. They introduce themselves as the Sisters of the Fantomaya. They tell her they should not have brought her to the Twenty-Fifth, but they needed to prepare her for work she has to do there later. They show her a phantasmagoric series of images, presumably from the island. The Fantomaya say everything, past, present, and future, happens at the Twenty-Fifth Island, and it is their job to study them. They also tell Candy she is very important. Diamanda also reveals herself as the wife of Henry Murkitt, and learns of his fate from Candy. One of the things they allude to is Candy having an interest in a man named Finnegan Hobb, and the danger of creatures called the Requiax who live in the very depths of the Sea of Izabella. They leave quickly so they don't get caught, and tell her not to be scared of the long journey ahead of her.

A man named Abraham Hollow, who the Fantomaya said is the Keeper of the Twenty-Fifth, appears far away in the unending darkness. A giant rat tells him of an "interloper" in the islands and he summons of the Fugit Brothers.  Candy runs away, and the Fugit Brothers chase her. She looks back at them once and sees their terrifying appearance. They have pale white skin akin to clowns. Each of their facial features, eyes, mouth, ears, nose, and hair, are seperate from their heads. They have small spidery legs and crawl all around their heads.  The brothers chase after her through a strange darkness and decide whether or not to tear out her heart or make her crazy, and then do it. They chatter darkly with each other as Candy runs into the darkness. Candy figures out how to escape by diving into the air and ends up on the shore of the isle. She reunites with Malingo, but her triumph is short-lived. One of the Fugit Brothers' eyes burrows out of the rocks with its spidery legs. Candy and Malingo desperately try to escape as the form of Julius Fugit burrows out of the ground, and Tempus a few minutes after him. Julius manages to grab ahold of Candy's leg while their glyph is lifting away. She kicks him in the face, but the glyphy crashes and breaks. Candy and Malingo are seemingly trapped on the shore, but just then a red boat floats out of nowhere. They get in the boat and Candy sees the form of Diamanda in the air, though she is not visible to Malingo. Diamanda uses her magic to summon a fast wind to carry the boat away, leaving the Fugit Brothers wading in the water, frustrated by their escape.

The book ends with Candy and Malingo sailing away in the boat, letting the Sea of Izabella take them where it may.

Appendix: Some Excerpts From Klepp's Almenak

In the back of the book is a small chapter appendix from the fictional Klepp's Almenak detailing each of the Twenty Five Island of the Abarat in order.