neverwhere - grahpic by Dave McKean @ Hourglass

Richard Mayhew is an unassuming young businessman living in London, with a dull job and a pretty but demanding fiancee. Then one night he stumbles across a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her - and the life he knows vanishes like smoke.

Several hours later, the girl is gone, too. And by the following morning Richard Mayhew has been erased from his world. His bank cards no longer work, taxi drivers won't stop for him, his landlord rents his apartment out to strangers. He has become invisible, and inexplicably consigned to a London of shadows and darkness, a city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth of sewer canals and abandoned subway stations. He has fallen through the cracks of reality and has landed somewhere different, somewhere that is Neverwhere.

For this is the home of Door, the mysterious girl whom Richard rescued in the London Above. A personage of great power and nobility in this murky, candlelit realm, she is on a mission to discover the cause of her family's slaughter, and in doing so preserve this strange underworld kingdom from the malevolence that means to destroy it. And with nowhere else to turn, Richard Mayhew must now join the Lady Door's entourage in their determined - and possibly fatal - quest.

For the dread journey ever-downward - through bizarre anachronisms and dangerous incongruities, and into dusty corners of stalled time - is Richard's final hope, his last road back to a "real" world that is growing disturbingly less real by the minute.

Published by the BBC, the British edition of the novel was released Fall 1996 to coincide with the airing of the television series on BBC2. It contains a second prologue that was cut from the North American edition of the novel, and assumes its readers have a passing familiarity with London. It uses words like 'wanker' which most Americans would not understand.

ISBN 0-563-38326-7

Published by Avon Books in the summer of 1997, marketed as Gaiman's solo debut novel. It contains some scenes that were cut from the UK edition of the novel, and assumes its readers have no familiarity with either London or England, and changes "colour" to "color" and so on.

ISBN 0-380-97363-4

Available as an audio book read by Gary Bakewell

enter london above enter london below meet neil meet neil