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by Neil Gaiman

hardcover edition

Neverwhere is the first solo novel by Neil Gaiman, the writer of the phenomenally popular comic book series The Sandman. It's reminiscent of the sort of nightmare where you don't know what's going on, or where you are, or why people are chasing you; but it's a particularly interesting and amusing nightmare.

London stockbroker Richard Mayhew is on his way to dinner with his fiancee when he finds a ragged girl named Door bleeding to death on the sidewalk. Because he has a kind heart, Richard saves Door's life and helps her contact her allies to take her home; in so doing, he is briefly exposed to the danger and magic hidden beneath London's streets. Because no good deed goes unpunished, Richard discovers the next day that he has been erased from his comfortable life. He is invisible to other people; his friends and fiancee have forgotten him; his landlord rents his apartment out from under him.

Richard is left with little choice but to try to find his way back to Door. But London Below is dangerous at the best of times, and right now it could be lethal for Richard and Door as a pair of cartoonishly evil cutthroats pursue them through sewers, subways, and caverns measureless to man.

Richard is a frustrating protagonist who spends most of the book tagging along with little purpose, boggling at the sights of London Below. However, Neverwhere is crawling with strange and memorable characters with their own undercurrents of power and grudges. The writing is frequently funny, and Gaiman has a gift for turning a bizarre metaphor. He writes with tremendous affection for London in all its grimy glory. The result is a cross between Rats & Gargoyles and Mary Poppins, and well worth reading.

-- Christina Schulman.
Reviewed in
March 1998

hardcover edition
Publisher: Avon
Date: July 1997
ISBN: 0-380-97363-4
Binding: hardcover
Pages: 337
Price: US $24.00

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Sep 2001 / CMS