Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (In Linear Order)

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Always There?

The angel Islington goes crazy and destroys Atlantis. He gets locked up for thousands of years, and the key that can set him free is held by this monklike group called the Black Friars. In presentish day London, Islington is reached out to by Portico, a man with the power to open doors. Portico wants to unite London above and London Below (an alternate dimension/reality London). Islington wants Portico to release him so he can conquer heaven. Obviously Portico is like hell no, so Islington hires two super evil, maybe immortal goons named Croup and Vandemar. The goons kill Portico and his family, except for his daughter Door, who also has the same door opening powers. They leave a note that imitates Portico telling Door to trust Islington.

Meanwhile in London Above, a regular joe named Richard runs into an injured Door who is running from the goons. Richard helps her and then becomes a part of London below; people above do not recognize him anymore. Richard and Door recruit a bodyguard, a girl named Hunter, as they run from the goons and seek Islington. They are also helped by the Marquis, a seedy guy who owes Portico a favor.

Richard, Door, and Hunter eventually meet Islington who instructs them to get the key from the Black Friars. They each succeed in a challenge, most notably Richard who is made to think he is crazy and imagining the whole thing. Meanwhile, Marquis is purposely tortured and ‘killed’ by the goons so he can learn their, and Islington’s, plan.

As Richard, Door, and Hunter head back to Islington, Hunter reveals she is a traitor and surrenders Door to the goons. All she wanted was a spear that would help her slay the Beast of London, a boarlike creature with a legendary and gruesome reputation. The Marquis joins Hunter and Richard and they head towards the labyrinth where the Beast dwells and is, coincidentally, another path to Islington. Even though hunter betrayed them, they still need her to get past the beast.

Through dumb luck, Richard ends up killing the beast as Hunter dies. He attains knowledge of the labyrinth and leads himself and the Marquis to Islington. The Angel tortures Richard in order to make Door open the way to Heaven using the Black Friars’ key. She opens a door with a copy of the key and it turns out to be a gateway to Hell; Islington and the goons are sucked away. Door uses the real key to send Richard back to London Above.

Richard’s brief happiness in being home fades to melancholy as he misses his adventures and friends from below. The story ends with Richard using Hunter’s knife to open a door from which Marquis pops out.

//Missing the rats, Anaesthesia, Lamia, Hammersmith, Jessica, the Earl, Old Bailey, and much more

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