“Campbell has Neil Gaiman’s gift for lushly dark stories and compelling antiheroes”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
The city of Deepgate hangs suspended by chains over the bottomless Abyss. It dispatches its souls to everlasting life by casting them into this pit. The Temple’s resident angel, Dill, takes his duties very seriously, but is plagued by snails.
Rachel, a temple assassin, is disgusted to have been assigned to teach and protect him, while a renegade angel, Carnival, stalks the city drinking it’s citizens’ blood.
Meanwhile, Alexander Devon, Deepgate’s official Poisoner is concocting a very special brew.And if the city hasn’t got enough to worry about, in the Abyss, the god Ulcis is massing an army of souls, ready to rise and overthrow the natural order.
Plenty have remarked on the parallels here with Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast Trilogy, a particular favourite of mine, and rhe similarities are clear. Deepgate has the same rambling, decaying vastness as Ghormengast, it is peopled by a similarly wierd and eclectic bunch of characters (the naming conventions are also very Peakian) and the quasi-religious themes will also be familiar. It is a reverential homage, however and Campbell is skilled enough to carve his own story from Deepgate’s bedrock.