A shelf-cracking sequel to The Great and Secret Show (1989) that begs the question: Is this sort of hermetic dross really worth the felling of defenseless forests? It's back to the shores of Quiddity, the undulant dream sea that separates worldly Cosm (a.k.a. the Helter Incendo, where we Sapas Humana live) from the trippy Metacosm (home of fabulous beings with names like Noah and King Texas), for a restaging of the epic struggle for the Art, major magic that was last coveted by the infinitely wicked Kissoon, who sponsored the previous battle to control this transcendental force. Itinerant biker chick Tesla Bombeck leads the way to Everville, a sleepy small town in Oregon about to be savaged by the passage of the Iad Uroboros -- a mindless, evil juggernaut bent to Kissoon's will -- through a rip in the veil between Cosm and Metacosm. Determined to thwart Kissoon, Bombeck enlists the aid of several cronies, among them Catholic gumshoe Harry D'Amour, a tattooed student of necromancy; computer archivist Nathan Grillo, guardian of the novel's paranormal Internet; and Phoebe Cobb, an Everville resident whose lover, Joe Flicker, has fled to Quiddity. A vast array of freaks and oddities -- moody ghosts, supernatural impresarios, serpents molded from feces -- crops up as everyone lurches toward the apocalypse at Everville's crossroads (there's even a vigilante marching band). Flogging his readers with one limp cliffhanger after another and concocting increasingly more baroque pseudo-religious explanations for each new image of wonder or shock that floats, flies, drifts, swims, or slithers into view -- while relinquishing a lot of the sex and gore that have enlivened other efforts -- Barker gasses on to a feeble climax before abandoning the story to its doleful collapse. The man should have his pens and paper taken away before he can get to thinking about a trilogy. Everville? Never mind.