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3.79  ·  Rating details ·  5,456 ratings  ·  232 reviews
Rich and powerful, the Geary dynasty has reigned over American society for decades. But it is a family with dark, terrible secrets. For the Gearys are a family at war. Their adversaries are the Barbarossas, a clan whose timeless origins lie in myth, whose mystical influence is felt in intense, sensual exchanges of flesh and soul. Now their battle is about to escalate.
Mass Market Paperback, 637 pages
Published February 3rd 1999 by HarperTorch (first published May 19th 1998)
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K.C. Hunter It's supposed to be a two-parter, but much like many of Barker's series, there are questions as to whether it'll be written. The war between the Geary…moreIt's supposed to be a two-parter, but much like many of Barker's series, there are questions as to whether it'll be written. The war between the Gearys and Barbarossas was to expand greatly in the second book with this one being mostly setup for that.(less)

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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,456 ratings  ·  232 reviews

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mark monday
Aug 03, 2016 rated it did not like it
so it took over 400 pages before I finally gave up. should I congratulate myself for making such a colossal effort or should I be ashamed at the colossal waste of time? I think shame is the appropriate emotion. it feels like I've watched Clive Barker jacking off for over 400 minutes, finding myself occasionally interested but mainly bored and annoyed, and then just walked away before Clive climaxed. for shame, mark, for shame! shame on you for wasting so much time and shame on you again for writ ...more
Mar 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I read this first when it came out, so this is a reread. My initial impression was of gods walking among us with a serious attempt to make old legends real. I recognized Dumuzi/Tammuz right off the bat and was enchanted. I had been doing a Barker marathon at the time, so I was really into the meandering and directionless text. He always got somewhere in the end, so I my faith was strong.

This second read showed me how much more mythology I now know and reaffirmed my belief that Barker was a bit m
Brandon Rucker
Jun 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Galilee, for me, is Clive Barker at his storytelling best. It may not be as inventive as Cabal (Nightbreed), Imajica & Everville, or as mind-bending as The Hellbound Heart (Hellraiser), nor as imaginative as Weaveworld, but it’s the best written, the best ‘told’ story of all of his with elegant, seductive, magnetic prose that’s as smooth as butter. His prose in this book can make even the most boring, mundane things seem worthy of your attention.

It should be stated right up front Galilee is not
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s a real shame that the likes of Jackie Collins and Danielle Steel are the ones who get the mini-series. As if ever a book deserved to have some big, sprawling six hour epic based on it – it’s Clive Barker’s ‘Galilee’. Following the fortunes of two strangely interconnected families (one oh so mortal; the other oh so immortal), the narrative swoops through history conjuring grand passions, horrific feuds and the nature of fame and power in the United States. This is a magical book, which is ge ...more
Oct 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: fantasy, historical
Galilee is a strange book, and very hard to classify. It's a love story, sort of. It's a family history, sort of. It's a supernatural thriller, sort of. It's kind of all of those things and actually none, but that's what makes it such an interesting read.

The characters are intriguing, although not always likeable. Rachel in particular is deeply annoying; you get the impression that Clive Barker wants to make her compelling and sympathetic, but she just sort of ends up being whiny, spoiled, neuro
Nov 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
4.5 stars. I really like this novel. The Barbarossas are beyond fascinating and the Gearys are... quite nauseating, especially towards the end. I like Barker's ability to weave the real and fantastical together so neatly. Although the majority of the book revolves around Rachael and the Gearys, it's really the Barbarossas that provide all of the color when it comes to characters. They just make those super-rich, megalomaniacal Gearys look so damn boring. I could have easily read another couple h ...more
Nov 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I had two reactions while reading this book - I absolutely loved parts of it, the way Clive Barker presented the story as told from the point of view of someone writing a book of the family saga. My favorite bits were these short breaks in Maddox's writing and how we got glimpses of the Barbarossa clan. I also enjoyed the Geary family saga for the most part. Interestingly, though, I did not care for the title character, Galilee, or Rachel, and their story line felt a bit forced to me. I also fel ...more
Barbara ★
Apr 03, 2010 rated it did not like it
I gave up on this one at page 110 because I just couldn't face another 500 pages of this high class drivel. Had I been actually reading this instead of listening to it in my car, I wouldn't have made it past the first chapter. I expected a sci-fi thriller from Clive Barker not this Kennedy-esque family saga. In the first 100 pages, there was everything from rape, sodomy, gays, lesbians, fights, infidelity, a religious zealot-a fishermen turned prophet. Yet even so, it was boring as hell. I've ne ...more
Nov 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars; for the last hundred pages or so I debated whether I would be rounding up to 5 or down to 4. I think I'm coming down on the side of 5...or...maybe 4. Yeah. I'm a waffler :)

Barker offers some truly wonderful character development and a unique take on the old "gods among us" theme. It's interesting that the two central characters -- Galilee and Rachel -- were by far the least compelling people in the story. The chapters dealing with their relationship were easily the low point of the bo
Elizabeth Coldwell
Jan 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Much as I love Clive Barker's epic works of fantasy, 'Galilee' is the one that just doesn't work, as far as I'm concerned. The central premise is intriguing - the rich, powerful Geary family (heavily modelled on the Kennedys and presented as America's modern gods) are at war with the Barbarossas ('real' gods, as old as time), and when Rachel Geary falls in love with Galilee Barbarossa, their relationship threatens to destroy both families. But the Gearys somehow aren't evil enough, despite one o ...more
Carmilla Voiez
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book that could only have been written by Clive Barker. I have come to believe that Barker identifies most strongly with his female characters in these epic fantasies. Rachel as she is held by her lover perhaps echoes Barker's yearning to be protected and possessed. Gender seems irrelevant in Barker's world, fluid, and I love letting the concept wash over my imagination like ocean waves as I read. The story untangles the knots between two great American families, one powered by greed ...more
Sep 15, 2008 rated it liked it
Much to love. This is the novel I would have my wife read to understand why I enjoy Clive Barker. The other stuff would worry her so... :)
Jay Lamm
Feb 06, 2015 rated it liked it
I love Clive Barker and I wish I could rate this book higher. That's why I like a nice 10 point rating system. Look, the only reason I give this three stars is because I just didn't really care so much about the story. Basically, the is about two rival families--kinda like the Ewings and the Barnes in "Dallas"--one family is your average rich well-to-do family of eccentrics, the other family is a set of demi-gods. These two families, and their past, is brought back to a boiling point when a woma ...more
Katie Jo
May 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I love Clive Barker but he really couldn’t care less about character development. You could definitely say he compensates for this with his ability to craft other worlds, but being a person that really enjoys characters and needs to be invested in them to enjoy something, I found this hard to read. Rachel was extremely vapid and her becoming more gutsy over time wasn’t really enough to endear her to me. Had this book been cut in half, I think I would’ve enjoyed it more. There was a LOT of buildu ...more
Matthew Tait
Jan 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is the third reading I’ve had of Galilee, and there are always subtle hints of the grander vision you might’ve missed on the first occasion. The prose is as succinct as ever – a svelte voice that changed the genre for the better all those years ago. As we saw the horror tale transferred from Transylvania to the suburbs with King, we then saw the metamorphosis climb even higher into other realms of possibility with Barker.

Called A Romance, and a shying away from the macabre even by Barker hi
Oct 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
Great book, too meandering, bad sex.

Is that enough of a review? Clive Barker is heretofore irrevocably linked with Piers Anthony in my books as an author who adds usually bad and at times quite odd eroticism to keep people turning the pages. Not needed. The ideas behind this book can carry themselves. I really like the idea of taking great families and mingling their history with mythology. It is a timeless concept (Early Greek kings, Caesar, blah, blah and's been done) but indicative
J.R. Ortega
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
My first Clive Barker novel. What a journey! I love how Barker has a way of creating characters with deep backstories. Somehow, this has been a bad year of reading. Not sure why. I've started three or four books only to put all of those down. I went out and bought some other Barker novels, so I'm going to make October all about him. ...more
Baal Of
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: stew
This is a colossal, meandering, multi-threaded book, and it could have been tedious, but within about 50 pages I was pretty much hooked. The magic/weird that would be found in something like Weaveworld is present but to a much lesser degree, making it cut more closely to magical realism, a genre I don't tend to favor, however the complexity of the characters and tangling of the various stories kept me intrigued. I tend to like Barker's writing style, and he has a way of making seemingly mundane ...more
Mar 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
Favorite Quotes

Whatever capacity she possesses to supernaturally beguile a human soul—and she possesses many—she liked his clear-sightedness too well, to blind him that way.

Did I say that she was beautiful? I was wrong. Beauty is too tame a notion; it evokes only faces in magazines. A lovely eloquence, a calming symmetry; none of that describes this woman’s face. So perhaps I should assume I cannot do it justice with words. Suffice it to say that it would break your heart to see her; and it woul
Apr 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Once again Clive Barker breaks away from the genre labelling tag of a ‘horror author’ for which he has been undeservingly stamped with since his early work. With Galilee, Barker takes to a new path with a beautifully written story of love that dances with the celestial and magical throughout. Indeed, elements of his past work such as ‘Sacrament’, ‘Imajica’ and dare I say even the ‘Book of The Art’ novels are clearly visible within this epic tale.

With an obvious dedication of passion and love to
Jason Bergman
Apr 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Galilee is very good, as pretty much anything Clive Barker writes is bound to be. But it does stumble in a few ways.

Galilee is a history of two families, the Gearys, a Kennedy-esque family of American privilege, and the Barbarossas, a family blessed by divinity and eternal life. That is both a summary of the story and its core problem. Because while the story of the Gearys is quite good, the Barbarossas are, with the exception of the title character, a distraction.

This novel has a lot of fat. It
Dec 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Even though it's not really my kind of story, Galilee fascinated me with its brilliant writing style and imaginative plot. Like Quentin Tarrantino, Barker has the ability to borrow from an assortment of unheralded genres (soap opera, trashy romance, alternate history) and transcend them into something both literary and unique. This is story-telling on an epic scale, composed back before Barker started spreading himself too thinly to devote so much time and attention to his writing--his last few ...more
Dec 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys deep thought.
I've read this book numerous times and I have come away from it with differing things each time. This time I found that I wasn't as enchanted with the story itself. Instead, I found that I was thinking more about the Divine and the ideas that the book delved into. And I'm not sure I could even tell you what those ideas are... :P

It's not a story told in a traditional fashion. It weaves between the present and past of the story without clearly demarcating which is which. I think that is part of w
It's not a book for everyone and definitely not one of Barker's best, but it's still got enough twisted elements and gratuitous sex to satisfy the fans. It's a rather complex family saga in the form of a first person narration, though the narrative changes from time to time. It's a little bit too long for one to truly sit down and enjoy, I am not even sure what kind of drug Barker was on when he wrote this but it's a hard book to like. ...more
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another Barker novel savoured in my own time.
Galilee is a feverish tale perfect for the vacations. Exquisite prose, dreamy sub plots, and a touch of supernatural made this book great for me.
It's been months since I read this book, but its seductive storytelling keeps coming back to me. This book is so unlike any other book I've read, and on my top 5 delightful reads.
Jun 09, 2011 rated it did not like it
I did my best, but, I just couldn't get through this. Barker's attempt to build a complex landscape of relationships (a la Tolstoy), just didn't work and became nothing more than tedious. So, about 20% into the book, I bailed. ...more
Nov 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
I liked this one, but it REALLY leaves you hanging at the end, and there is no sequel yet. :(
doesn't hold a candle to Weaveworld. ...more
Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"And the gods go on, in spite of themselves; and the human road stretches out before us; and we walk, like wounded children, waiting for the strength to run." ...more
Chris Gorsend
Feb 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
Barker is too pretentious to just give in to his central concept (Dynasty meets Clash of the Titans) and have the kind of campy, lurid fun the idea deserves.
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Clive Barker was born in Liverpool, England, the son of Joan Rubie (née Revill), a painter and school welfare officer, and Leonard Barker, a personnel director for an industrial relations firm. Educated at Dovedale Primary School and Quarry Bank High School, he studied English and Philosophy at Liverpool University and his picture now hangs in the entrance hallway to the Philosophy Department. It ...more

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