From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Campbell sets his stunning debut fantasy in Deepgate, a town wreathed in chains that keep it hanging suspended over a bottomless abyss, peopled by worshippers of Lord Ulcis, the god of chains, and tormented by a mad angel named Carnival. The author, who was a video game designer, renders Deepgate beautifully. It's a complex city of creaking metal links, stone and shadow, inhabited by priests, assassins and the boy-angel Dill, who will lead a journey into the abyss in a desperate attempt to save the city. Campbell has Neil Gaiman's gift for lushly dark stories and compelling antiheroes, and effortlessly channels the Victorian atmospherics of writer and illustrator Mervyn Peake as well. This imaginative first novel will have plenty of readers anxiously awaiting his follow-up. (Jan.)
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A vast network of ponderous chains suspends Deepgate over a dark chasm. The church of Ulcis dominates the skyline and the citizens' lives. When a Deepgate denizen dies, the body is cast, with appropriate rites, into the chasm. According to the church, Ulcis lies in the abyss. When he has enough of the sanctified dead to support him, he and they will rise and overthrow Ulcis' mother, Ayen, who bars men from the joys of Paradise. In the meantime, Deepgate battles intermittently with the nomadic heathens of the surrounding deserts, who worship Ayen. Deepgate is home to two angels, the 16-year-old male last descendent of one of Ulcis' companions, and the mad female Carnival, who, once a moon, hunts down and drains someone's blood and soul to remain alive. Almost torturously crafted in characterization, plot, and setting,Campbell's debutmay appeal most to those who like novels in the manner of Dickens, whose highly evocative, occasionally overripe, memorable style Campbell's recalls. Frieda Murray
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