Date of Publication: 1996
Number of Pages: 370
Synopsis (from back cover): Richard Mayhew is a plain man with a good heart – and an ordinary life that is changed forever on a day he stops to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London sidewalk. From that moment forward he is propelled into a world he never dreamed existed – a dark subculture flourishing in abandoned subway stations and sewer tunnels below the city – a world far stronger and more dangerous than the only one he has ever known…
Review: This book starts out at a perfect pace, introducing the reader to the main character’s ordinary life, and swiftly sweeps both the reader and this ordinary man into a dark reality from which there is no escape. By the end of the book, I had a real affection for the bewildered Richard, and for his friends in London below: the curiously powerful Door, the conniving marquis de Carabas, and even the single-minded bodyguard, Hunter. It’s easy to become concerned in their fates, and they are all unique and likeable characters, each in their own ways.
This story is easy to relate to, as it follows a familiar plot: average person gets swept up in mysterious goings-on, meets allies, they have a quest to follow, with powerful enemies popping up now and then to interfere…or worse. This doesn’t mean that the story is stale. Indeed, it constantly surprised me with its twists and turns, and its utter originality. But what makes the story familiar makes it comfortable; otherwise, the alien world in which Richard finds himself would be too cold and unknowable. Richard, being from London Above, gives the story its dose of reality, which of course makes the book all that more unnerving.
All fans of fantasy and modern thrillers will enjoy this book. This is the first book of Gaiman’s that I’ve tried, and I’m looking forward to reading more!