Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere.
This is the first novel I have read by Neil Gaiman, I’m so glad I did because I enjoyed the way he describes everyday items, characters and occurrences with such flair he enables his readers to visualise the world and characters he creates.
This story centres on Richard Mayhew, a character described as a kind guy, leading a very ordinary life albeit under the thumb of his fiancée, Jessica. It is this kindness that creates his encounter with a girl called Door, in danger and badly hurt on a sidewalk, hunted by Mister Croup and Mister Vandemar.
Door is from London Below …there’s London Above - that's where you (Richard) lived - and then there's London Below - the Underside - inhabited by the people who fell through the cracks in the world. For some reason this encounter means Richard also become one of those people, a part of London Below and unnoticed by London Above. Richard must then seek out Door and the answers to how he can reintegrate into ordinary reality.
He reunites with Door at the Floating Market, held at Harrods; he witnesses a bizarre showdown between bodyguards fighting to become Doors personal aid. The character Hunter, legendary, attractive yet dangerous is chosen as her personal bodyguard assisting Door and the Marques De Carabas in their quest to find the Angel Islington and the answers to the deaths of Doors family. Richard, with no other option follows.
Along the journey we experience the extraordinary, bizarre and at times horrifying characters and settings of London below. Characters such as Mister Croup and Mister Vandemar are brilliant, dangerous, and awfully evil and provide moments of pure revulsion. Door, an enjoyable character yet one who has experienced great loss and the Marques De Carabas a character who will have you questioning his loyalties, which side does he belong to? There are also the Rat speakers, the real Old Bailey and the beast of London, all of the characters Gaiman has created are describe and defined so well in his own whimsical and unique way you can’t help but be intrigued by them.
Neverwhere is a superb read, one that is hard to put down. A story of one man’s journey, transformation and search for courage. A story involving a girl and her quest to find the killer of her family, a story which is magical and dreamlike, full of humour, sadness and thoroughly enjoyable.