Neverwhere [NOOK Book]

Overview

Richard Mayhew is a young man with a good heart and an ordinarylife, which is changed forever when he stops to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London sidewalk. His small act of kindness propels him into a world he never dreamed existed. There are people who fall through the cracks, and Richard has become one of them. And he must learn to survive in this city of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels, if he is ever to return to the London that he knew....

See more details below
Neverwhere

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$7.99
BN.com price

Overview

Richard Mayhew is a young man with a good heart and an ordinarylife, which is changed forever when he stops to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London sidewalk. His small act of kindness propels him into a world he never dreamed existed. There are people who fall through the cracks, and Richard has become one of them. And he must learn to survive in this city of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels, if he is ever to return to the London that he knew.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Pixel Planet
...a dark, twisted sort of fable that anyone that has a passing interest in fantasy fiction should pick up and read immediately. Neverwhere is one of the best books that I’ve read this year.
Stephen King
[Gaiman] is, simply put, a treasure house of story, and we are lucky to have him in any media.
Tori Amos
I didn't ever want this book to end. . . Hunter, Islington, Door — these characters are part of my life now. I see them when I turn corners.
Publishers Weekly

Gaiman assumes the role of narrator for his latest book, offering an intimate reading that steals one's attention almost immediately and keeps the listener involved throughout. As the story is based in the United Kingdom, Gaiman is a quintessential raconteur for the tale, with his charming Scottish brogue instilling life and spirit into the central character of Richard Mayhew. Pitch perfect, with clear pronunciation, Gaiman invites listeners into his living room for a fireside chat, offering a private and personal experience that transcends the limitations of traditional narration. The author knows his story through and through, capturing the desired emotion and audience reaction in each and every scene. His characters are unique, with diverse personalities and narrative approaches, and Gaiman offers a variety of dialects and tones. The reading sounds more like a private conversation among friends with Gaiman providing the convincing and likable performance the writing deserves. A Harper Perennial paperback (Reviews, May 19, 1997). (Nov.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal
In his first full-length novel, Gaiman, the comic-book mastermind, brings his talents to the black-and-white world of books, eschewing the darkly elegant illustrations that are a trademark of his comics. However, this journey to yet another fantastical realm is full of haunting images just the same. The story revolves around Richard Mayhew, a bumbling young businessman, who is about to discover a new side of London after helping a wounded girl named Door. He is trapped in an alternate dimension, known as London Below, or the Underground. Once he steps into it, he finds that his normal life no longer exists. The only chance of getting his old life back is to accompany Door on a dangerous mission across the Underground. Like adults stumbling through the pages of a bizarre children's story, Gaiman's likable protagonists fight off the sinister villains of this nebulous underworld. Shards of the concrete world continually pierce the surreal surroundings, as Gaiman weaves a link between the two dimensions of London. Gaiman's gift for mixing the absurd with the frightful give this novel the feeling of a bedtime story with adult sophistication. Readers will find themselves as unable to escape this tale as the characters themselves. Highly recommended.Erin Cassin, formerly with "Library Journal"
Kirkus Reviews
Some of the best pure storytelling around these days is being produced in the critically suspect genre of fantasy, and this exuberantly inventive first full-length novel, by the co-creator of the graphic series The Sandman (1996), is a state-of-the-art example.

The protagonist, determinedly unheroic Richard Mayhew, is a young man up from the provinces and living in London, where he has found both job success and a lissome fiancée, Jessica. Soon, however, Richard meets a mysterious old woman who prophesies he'll embark on an adventure that "starts with doors." Sure enough, his fate becomes entwined with that of a beautiful waiflike girl who calls herself Door, and who is in flight from a pair of ageless hired assassins and in pursuit of the reason behind the murder of her family. Suddenly wrenched away from his quotidian life (people can no longer see or hear him), Richard follows Door underground to an alternative "London Below," where "people who have fallen through the cracks" live in a rigidly stratified mock-feudal society that parallels that of London Above. A parade of instructors and guides brings Richard and Door ever closer to understanding why her father was marked for death by the rulers of London Below, and prepares Richard to do battle with the (wonderfully loathsome) Great Beast of London. Altogether, Gaiman's story ending is both a terrific surprise and a perfectly logical culmination of Richard's journey into the darkest recesses of his civilization and himself. The novel is consistently witty, suspenseful, and hair-raisingly imaginative in its contemporary transpositions of familiar folk and mythic materials (one can read Neverwhere as a postmodernist punk Faerie Queene).

Readers who've enjoyed the fantasy work of Tim Powers and William Browning Spencer won't want to miss this one. And, yes, Virginia, there really are alligators in those sewers—and Gaiman makes you believe it.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061793059
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/17/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 7,174
  • File size: 921 KB

Meet the Author

Neil Gaiman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books for readers of all ages, and the recipient of numerous literary awards, including the Shirley Jackson Award and the Locus Award for Best Novelette for his story "The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains." Originally from England, he now lives in America.

Biography

Neil Gaiman thought he wrote comic books. But a newspaper editor, of course, set him straight.

Back when he was riding the diabolical headwinds of his popular series of graphic novels, The Sandman, the author attended a party where he introduced himself as a comic-book writer to a newspaper's literary editor. But when the editor quickly realized who this actually was -- and the glaze melted from his eyes -- he offered Gaiman a correction tinged with astonishment: "My God, man, you don't write comics, you write graphic novels." Relating the story to theLos Angeles Times in 1995, Gaiman said, "I suddenly felt like someone who had been informed that she wasn't a hooker, that in fact she was a lady of the evening."

Gaiman's done much more, of course, than simply write graphic novels, having coauthored, with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens, a comic novel about the Apocalypse; adapted into hardcover the BBC miniseries Neverwhere about the dark underworld beneath the streets of London; and, inspired by his young daughter, put a horrifying spin on C.S. Lewis' wardrobe doors for Coraline, a children's book about a passageway into a magical, yet malevolent, land.

But it is The Sandman that is Gaiman's magnum opus.

Though he had told a career counselor in high school that he wanted to pen comic books, he had a career as a freelance journalist before his first graphic novel, Violent Cases, was published in England in 1987. DC Comics discovered him and The Sandman was born. Or reborn, actually. The comic debuted back in 1939 with a regular-Joe crime fighter in the lead. But in Gaiman's hands the tale had a more otherworldly spin, slowing introducing readers to the seven siblings Endless: Dream, Death, Desire, Destiny, Destruction, Despair and Delirium (once Delight). They all have their roles in shaping the fates of man. In fact, when Death was imprisoned for decades, the results were devastating. Richard Nixon reached The White House and Michael Jackson the Billboard charts.

Direction from newspaper editors notwithstanding, to Gaiman, these stories are still comic books. The man who shuttled back and forth between comics and classics in his formative years and can pepper his writing with references to Norse mythology as well as the vaudevillian rock group Queen, never cottoned to such highbrow/lowbrow distinctions. Comparing notes on a yachting excursion with members of the Irish rock band U2, the writer who looks like a rock star and Delirium and the rock stars who gave themselves comic-worthy names such as Bono and The Edge came to a realization: Whether the medium is pop music or comic books, not being taken seriously can be a plus. "It's safer to be in the gutter," he told The Washington Post in 1995.

In 1995, Gaiman brought The Sandman to a close and began spending more time on his nongraphic fiction, including a couple of short-story collections. A few years later he released Stardust, an adult fairy tale that has young Tristan Thorn searching for a fallen star to woo the lovely but cold Victoria Forester. In 2001, he placed an ex-con named Shadow in the middle of a war between the ancient and modern dieties in American Gods. Coming in October 2002 is another departure: an audio recording of Two Plays for Voices, which stars Bebe Neuwirth as a wise queen doing battle with a bloodthirsty child and Brian Dennehy as the Angel of Vengeance investigating the first crime in history in heaven's City of Angels.

Gaiman need not worry about defining his artistic relevance, since so many other seem to do it for him. Stephen King, Roger Zelazny and Harlan Ellison are among those who have contributed introductions to his works. William Gibson, the man who coined the term "cyberspace," called him a "a writer of rare perception and endless imagination" as well as "an American treasure." (Even though he's, technically, a British treasure transplanted to the American Midwest.) Even Norman Mailer has weighed in: "Along with all else, Sandman is a comic strip for intellectuals, and I say it's about time."

The gushiest praise, however, may come from Frank McConnell, who barely contained himself in the pages of the political and artistic journal Commonweal. Saying Gaiman "may just be the most gifted and important storyteller in English," McConnell crowned Sandman as the most important act of fiction of the day. "And that, not just because of the brilliance and intricacy of its storytelling -- and I know few stories, outside the best of Joyce, Faulkner, and Pynchon, that are more intricate," he wrote in October 1995, " but also because it tells its wonderful and humanizing tale in a medium, comic books, still largely considered demimonde by the tenured zombies of the academic establishment."

"If Sandman is a 'comic,'" he concluded, "then The Magic Flute is a 'musical' and A Midsummer Night's Dream is a skit. Read the damn thing: it's important."

Good To Know

Some fascinating factoids from our interview with Gaiman:

"One of the most enjoyable bits of writing Sandman was getting authors whose work I love to write the introductions for the collected graphic novels -- people like Steve Erickson, Gene Wolfe, Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker, Peter Straub, Mikal Gilmore, and Samuel R. Delany."

"I have a big old Addams Family house, with -- in the summertime -- a vegetable garden, and I love growing exotic pumpkins. As a boy in England I used to dream about Ray Bradbury Hallowe'ens, and am thrilled that I get them these days. Unless I'm on the road signing people's books, of course."

"According to my daughters, my most irritating habit is asking for cups of tea."

"I love radio -- and love the availability of things like the Jack Benny radio shows in MP3 format. I'm addicted to BBC radio 7, and keep buying boxed CD sets of old UK radio programs, things like Round the Horne and Hancock's Half Hour. Every now and again I'll write a radio play."

"I love thunderstorms, old houses, and dreams."

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 10, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portchester, England
    1. Education:
      Attended Ardingly College Junior School, 1970-74, and Whitgift School, 1974-77
    2. Website:

First Chapter

Neverwhere
A Novel

Chapter One

She had been running for days now, a harum-scarum tumbling flight through passages and tunnels. She was hungry, and exhausted, and more tired than a body could stand, and each successive door was proving harder to open. After four days of flight, she had found a hiding place, a tiny stone burrow, under the world, where she would be safe, or so she prayed, and at last she slept.

Mr. Croup had hired Ross at the last Floating Market, which had been held in Westminster Abbey. "Think of him," he told Mr. Vandemar, "as a canary."

"Sings?" asked Mr. Vandemar.

"I doubt it; I sincerely and utterly doubt it." Mr. Croup ran a hand through his lank orange hair. "No, my fine friend, I was thinking metaphoncally -- more along the lines of the birds they take down mines." Mr. Vandemar nodded, comprehension dawning slowly: yes, a canary. Mr. Ross had no other resemblance to a canary. He was huge-almost as big as Mr. Vandemar -- and extremely grubby, and quite hairless, and he said very little, although he had made a point of telling each of them that he liked to kill things, and he was good at it; and this amused Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar. But he was a canary, and he never knew it. So Mr. Ross went first, in his filthy T-shirt and his crusted blue-jeans, and Croup and Vandemar walked behind him, in their elegant black suits.

There are four simple ways for the observant to tell Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar apart: first, Mr. Vandemar is two and a half heads taller than Mr. Croup; second, Mr. Croup has eyes of a faded china blue, while Mr. Vandemar's eyes are brown; third, while Mr. Vandemar fashioned the rings he wears on his right hand out of the skulls of four ravens, Mr. Croup has no obvious jewelery; fourth, Mr. Croup likes words, while Mr. Vandemar is always hungry. Also, they look nothing at all alike.

A rustle in the tunnel darkness; Mr. Vandemar's knife was in his hand, and then it was no longer in his hand, and it was quivering gently almost thirty feet away. He walked over to his knife and picked it up by the hilt. There was a gray rat impaled on the blade, its mouth opening and closing impotently as the life fled. He crushed its skull between finger and thumb.

"Now, there's one rat that won't be telling any more tales," said Mr. Croup. He chuckled at his own joke. Mr. Vandemar did not respond. "Rat. Tales. Get it?"

Mr. Vandemar pulled the rat from the blade and began to munch on it, thoughtfully, head first. Mr. Croup slapped it out of his hands. "Stop that," he said. Mr. Vandemar put his knife away, a little sullenly. "Buck up," hissed Mr. Croup, encouragingly.

"There will always be another rat. Now: onward. Things to do. People to damage."

Three years in London had not changed Richard, although it had changed the way he perceived the city. Richard had originally imagined London as a gray city, even a black city, from pictures he had seen, and he was surprised to find it filled with color. It was a city of red brick and white stone, red buses and large black taxis, bright red mailboxes and green grassy parks and cemeteries.

It was a city in which the very old and the awkwardly new jostled each other, not uncomfortably, but without respect; a city of shops and offices and restaurants and homes, of parks and churches, of ignored monuments and remarkably unpalatial palaces; a city of hundreds of districts with strange names -- Crouch End, Chalk Farm, Earl's Court, Marble Arch -- and oddly distinct identities; a noisy, dirty, cheerful, troubled city, which fed on tourists, needed them as it despised them, in which the average speed of transportation through the city had not increased in three hundred years, following five hundred years of fitful road-widening and unskillful compromises between the needs of traffic, whether horse-drawn, or, more recently, motorized, and the needs of pedestrians; a city inhabited by and teeming with people of every color and manner and kind.

When he had first arrived, he had found London huge, odd, fundamentally incomprehensible, with only the Tube map, that elegant multicolored topographical display of underground railway lines and stations, giving it any semblance of order. Gradually he realized that the Tube map was a handy fiction that made life easier but bore no resemblance to the reality of the shape of the city above. It was like belonging to a political party, he thought once, proudly, and then, having tried to explain the resemblance between the Tube map and politics, at a party, to a cluster of bewildered strangers, he had decided in the future to leave political comment to others.

He continued, slowly, by a process of osmosis and white knowledge (which is like white noise, only more useful), to comprehend the city, a process that accelerated when he realized that the actual City of London itself was no bigger than a square mile, stretching from Aldgate in the east to Fleet Street and the law courts of the Old Bailey in the west, a tiny municipality, now home to London's financial institutions, and that that was where it had all begun.

Two thousand years before, London had been a little Celtic village on the north shore of the Thames, which the Romans had encountered, then settled in. London had grown, slowly, until, roughly a thousand years later, it met the tiny Royal City of Westminster immediately to the west, and, once London Bridge had been built, London touched the town of Southwark directly across the river, and it continued to grow, fields and woods and marshland slowly vanishing beneath the flourishing town, and it continued to expand, encountering other little villages and hamlets as it grew, like Whitechapel and Deptford to the east, Hammersmith and Shepherd's Bush to the west, Camden and Islington in the north, Battersea and Lambeth across the Thames to the south, absorbing all of them, just as a pool of mercury encounters and incorporates smaller beads of mercury, leaving only their names behind.

Neverwhere
A Novel
. Copyright © by Neil Gaiman . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

Interviews & Essays

On Tuesday, June 17th, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Neil Gaiman to discuss NEVERWHERE.


Montey from NYC:

Neil Gaiman: Frantic negotiations are currently going on to buy NEVERWHERE the movie rights. To be completely honest, I have no favorite actors, the characters are so real to me, it is difficult to pinpoint an actor and actress. If anybody, I could play Richard, but I have no plans of acting.


Robert from New Jersey: Who do you think is the best horror/fantasy writer out there today?

Neil Gaiman: If it has to include both categories, the finest author out there is Jonathan Carroll, who is now being published in trade paperback, normally in the literature shelves. Books such as SLEEPING IN FLAME, A CHILD ACROSS THE SKY, and OUTSIDE THE DOG MUSEUM.


Dickey Charlton from Studio City, CA: Great book!! Marquis de Carabas rocks!! Where do you think up these unusual characters? Are they strictly from your imagination, or do you use any real people as influences for your characters? Marquis de Carabas in particular.

Neil Gaiman: I think de Carabas probably, in my head, originally began life as a kind of Richard O'Brien character. But most characters in NEVERWHERE came out of place names. I wondered what the Earl would be like in Earl's Court or the Angel in Islington. In the Marquis I wanted a character who was, in his mind at least, always one step ahead of the plot.


Paul from New York City: Do you prefer writing comics or writing full-length books?

Neil Gaiman: What I prefer is telling stories and every method of telling stories. Whether comics, TV, film, radio drama, short stories, poems, or novels. They all have their up sides and down sides. But for me, the primary goal is always the act of telling the story.


Greg from St. Louis, MO: Croup and Vandemar are a couple of vicious dudes. Do you think such evil exists in our world today, or only in fiction?

Neil Gaiman: I think one cannot read a book about serial killers or the Holocaust without realizing that evil exists in reality worse than anything one will encounter in fiction. Croup and Vandemar, however, are cartoon evil characters. Like most of the people in NEVERWHERE, they know their roles in the book and are proud, delighted, and possibly even honored to be the bad guys. As Mr. Croup puts it, they don't have any redeeming features.


Mike Margiotta from Albany, NY: I really enjoy your Sandman work. I also love the collaboration you did with THE BOOKS OF MAGIC. Do you have any plans to bring back Morpheus? I have been away from comic books for several years now, so excuse my question if you currently have anything like this currently in print. I love your work!

Neil Gaiman: The story of Sandman is really over -- you'll find it in the ten volumes of graphic novels that begin with PRELUDES AND NOCTURNES and ends with THE WAKE. It's one story that took eight years to tell and 2,500 pages, and for now I am very content to leave it that way.


V. from Florida: Hello, good fellow! How's it going? Any date set on the Stardust publication? How about a Miracle Man resurgence?

Neil Gaiman: Stardust, which is a four-volume adult fairy story and will be very heavily illustrated by Charles Vess, will be published in six weekly intervals starting in October. No news on Miracle Man, although the next issue has been finished for almost four years now.


Sue from Port Washington, NY: As a child, which comic strip did you most enjoy reading, and did those strips influence you today?

Neil Gaiman: The comic strip I most enjoyed and which probably influences me today was Feiffer. I practically learned to read on the Feiffer collection THE EXPLAINERS, and I think the comic book that I most enjoyed was the original Swamp Thing.


tyg from Silicon Valley: Hi, Neil. Any word on "Neverwhere" being picked up for U.S. showing? Also, did any other signings in the Boston area materialize?

Neil Gaiman: Two noes.... If people want to see "Neverwhere" the TV series, which is flawed but fun, they should write to whatever station you would like to see it on Sci-Fi, PBS and let them know. I am only doing the stops on the tour.


Shaun from Parma: How much difference is there between the British and U.S. versions of NEVERWHERE? Also, when will we see some of the endless miniseries?

Neil Gaiman: The American version of NEVERWHERE is about 10,000 words longer than the English; it has a few extra scenes and a lot more description. However, it lost one of the prologues which can be found on the Avon web site, and it lost some of the jokes.


Kirk Chritton from Sedalia, Missouri: How has living in the U.S. changed your working relationship with Dave McKean?

Neil Gaiman: Well, our old working relationship consisted of one of us phoning the other every night at 2am because we were the only people we knew who would be up at that time, and we would see each other every few weeks. Now when we do things together it is in shorter, more concentrated bursts, but we still delight in working with each other, and I loved doing THE DAY I SWAPPED MY DAD FOR TWO GOLDFISH. We have a book called DUST COVERS coming out toward the end of this year.


Pauline from Berkeley, CA: I'm also a fan of Jonathan Carroll. Any chance of both of you collaborating in a venture of some sort?

Neil Gaiman: There are people you don't want to collaborate with, because you want to see what they do and because what they do is so unique. Authors like Jonathan Carroll or Iain Sinclair or Gene Wolfe are people I want to read, not to write with.


Sean Kelley McKeever from Columbus, OH: Do you plan on writing more comics in the near future, and if so, will you only write for comics occasionally, or will you possibly take on another monthly series?

Neil Gaiman: I have no plans to write another monthly ongoing series at this time. But it is possible a few years down the road. Most of the work I am currently doing in comics is very short. Sandman took me almost a decade to write, so these days I like things I can finish by teatime.


Ismael from N.Y: What is your obsession with angels? From Lucifer and the Angels that keep Hell in SEASONS OF MIST, MURDER MYSTERIES to NEVERWHERE.

Neil Gaiman: I don't know. Every time I write a good angel, I think I've got them out of my system forever, and then I'll turn around and another angel has crept in. They are like roaches. All I can do is apologize.


Eden from Virginia: In that great interview with you from the book COMIC BOOK REBELS from a few years ago, you mentioned working on a show for the BBC called something like "The Underside." I'm assuming that became NEVERWHERE. I'm just curious about how long you've had the concept of NEVERWHERE.

Neil Gaiman: Yes, since 1991.


Kjartan from Norway: Thinking back to the book GOOD OMENS, how is writing a book alone, like NEVERWHERE, compared to writing it together with another writer?

Neil Gaiman: I get to keep more of the royalties. It is difficult to explain and probably bears the same kind of relationship that masturbation does to sex.


Jeffro from Colorado: Any plans for an "Endless" characters' miniseries any time soon besides Death?

Neil Gaiman: There is a "Destiny" series, which I don't have anything to do with, coming soon. I plan to write a "Delirium" series once I finish writing STARDUST.


Cindy Archer from Houston, TX: Your story "Snow, Glass, Apples" was a real treat. Do you have any plans to give other "Disneyized" stories the same treatment, returning them to the grisly tales from which they most likely evolved?

Neil Gaiman: I was planning to write a "Jack in the Beanstalk" retelling at some point. We'll see. Avon plans to release a short story collection next year, tentatively entitled SMOKE AND MIRRORS.


Pauline from Berkeley, CA: Do you have any comments regarding censorship in comix? BTW, congrats for winning the award for best fantasy short story for a graphic novel, no less!. Must have ticked off some of the fantasy writers out there!! :

Neil Gaiman: Thanks for the congratulations. The bit I thought was silly, was we got the award on Saturday night and on Sunday morning, they changed the rules to prevent it from ever happening again. My main comment on censorship is that I am in favor neither of it nor of any self-appointed censors. Which is why I've given so much time and energy to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, which fights for First Amendment rights. I just had a chapbook called ON CATS AND DOGS published by Dreamhaven Books, profits from which will go to the CBLDF.


Lizard Man from The Swamp: Mr. Gaiman, I absolutely love your work and I am psyched to read NEVERWHERE. I just want to know what graphic novels you read?

Neil Gaiman: "Cerebus," "From Hell" and "It's a Good Life If You Don't Weaken" by Seth are three of my current favorites.


V. from Florida: I read somewhere that you may be directing a "Death" film. True or untrue?

Neil Gaiman: An outline for "Death" the movie is sitting on somebody's desk at Warner Bros. But everything depends on what happens with and to the "Sandman" film which I am not involved with.


Andy from Allentown, PA: Will you ever combine any of the characters from your Sandman series with any of your other books? I would love to see them with Door and Richard.

Neil Gaiman: I strongly suspect that the world of NEVERWHERE is the world of Sandman, but I could be wrong.


Moderator: Thanks for joining us this evening, Neil.

Neil Gaiman: Thank you for having me, and thanks to barnesandnoble.com, which has been so supportive with all my books.


Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

Introduction

Richard Mayhew is an unassuming young businessman living in London, with a boring career in finance and a pretty but demanding fiancée. Then one night he stumbles across a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her, and the life he knows vanishes in an instant.

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 fiancée doesn't recognize him, and his landlord rents his apartment out to strangers. He has become invisible and inexplicably consigned to a London of shadows and darkness -- to a city of monsters and saints, assassins 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.

Neverwhere is the home of the Lady 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 persons responsible for 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 dreaded 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.

Discussion Questions

  1. Who is Richard Mayhew? What defines his everyday life in London? How would you characterize his relationship with Jessica? Who does he encounter on the street who alters the course of his life? How is this event predicted by the old fortuneteller at his going away party?

  2. Who are Mr. Vandemar and Mr. Croup? Describe their personalities. Did you find any of their appearances in the book terrifying or humorous? Which ones? Who are they searching for at the beginning of the book?

  3. Who is the Lady Door? What are some of her unusual powers? What creatures help Door gain access to the marquis de Carabas? What is her quest?

  4. How would you describe the marquis de Carabas? Did he seem entirely trustworthy to you? With whom does he collude? What is the significance of the silver box he gives to Old Bailey? What transformation does de Carabas undergo in Neverwhere?

  5. Where does Richard meet Hunter? How does she help him in the London Below? How does she react to the disappearance of Anaesthesia? Whom does she vow to protect? How is that pledge ultimately compromised? Were you surprised by her betrayal?

  6. How would you describe London Below? What serves as its primary mode of transportation? Who populates it? What regular occasion serves as a kind of neutral meeting ground?

  7. Name some of the more eccentric characters Richard Mayhew encounters in London Below. Were there any aspects of this region that you found particularly fascinating or easy to envision?

  8. Did you feel sympathy for any character in particular? Did you feel revulsion for any of the characters? Which ones?

  9. Of the special powers enjoyed by Islington, Door, de Carabas, and Hunter, which ones did you find most marvelous? Which abilities would you like to possess? How did Richard interact with this motley crew?

  10. Were you surprised by Richard's decision at the end of Neverwhere? Why do you think he made such a choice?

About the author

Neil Gaiman is the critically acclaimed author of the novels American Gods (winner of the 2002 Hugo Award for Best Novel), Stardust (winner of the American Library Association's Alex Award), and the award-winning Sandman series of graphic novels, as well as Smoke and Mirrors, a collection of short fiction, and Coraline (winner of the 2003 Hugo Award for Best Novella), a tale for readers of all ages. His first book for children, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, illustrated by Dave McKean, was one of Newsweek's Best Children's Books of 1997. In 2003, Gaiman and McKean teamed up again to produce another illustrated children's book, The Wolves in the Walls. His small press story collection, Angels & Visitations, was nominated for a World Fantasy Award and won the International Horror Critics Guild Award for Best Collection. Originally from England, Gaiman now lives in America.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 675 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(389)

4 Star

(201)

3 Star

(57)

2 Star

(17)

1 Star

(11)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 675 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 11, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Changed my mind

    Before reading Neverwhere I would never have called myself a 'fantasy' fan. I was almost turned off from reading this based on its classification. I am so happy I did read it though. It's turned into one of my favorite books. It pulls you out of reality while you read it and suddenly you are in another world. The characters are great and the plot is brilliant. I have now read every book by Neil Gaiman and I love them all. He recently did a book signing that I attended and all I could do was thank him for being a writer. I would say the age range for this book should be 14+. A couple scenes are graphic with adult themes. Neverwhere turned me on to the fantasy genre. It's worth a read.

    28 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 15, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Loved it

    One of my favorite books of all time, so ingenious and imaginative and hillarious! Mr Croup and Mr Vandemar are the most delicious villains. And Richard's adventures in the underworld are mesmerizing. Read this book 3 times, and each time it's a so satisfying.

    20 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2008

    GREAT BOOK

    I loved this book from start to finish. To me it reminded me of a darker version of Alice in Wonderland. It seemed to me the book had a sense of magic to it. I love the unexpected plot of the story. There was very little that I did not like to this book. Neil Gaiman says that he will write the second one to this book. I can't wait for the next one to come out.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Neverwhere

    Fantastic hardly begins to describe this book, Gaiman¿s imagination simply rises over most in a way that is ¿ well, delicious. This book truly reads like a treat and it also reads quickly. There is so much vividness to the underground world Neil creates, so much detail and so much spark to it, that falling into it and believing it becomes extremely easy. And once you are in that state, turning pages in this book is a cinch.<BR/><BR/>In this story, a man, who is leading your average life in an average world (London, England), at the average point in his life, ends up stumbling into something he should not have seen and instead of walking past it like everybody else does, he helps the girl that falls before him. From that point on Richard Mayhew is dragged into the vicious underworld of the forgotten, where he must struggle not only to survive but also to keep his sanity if he ever hopes to get his life back.<BR/><BR/>This book provided a lot of creative inspiration, and if you know Neil Gaiman, more famous for his work authoring the Sandman Graphic Novels, you know his work is dark, witty, entrancing and addictive. A very good read.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A new Favorite!

    I wasn't really a fan of Fantasy genre until this book. Neil Gaiman creates a very dark and outlandish world beneath the city of London England inhabited by a feudal aristrocrasy, solitary warriors, and a religious cult who talks to rats. But up in London "proper" Richard Mayhew is living an ordinary and orderly life. His fiancée, Jessica has seen to that until the hapless Richard literally trips over a bleeding young woman. Jessica demands he leave her be, but Richard's compassion won't let him leave her injured, lying on the pathway. He takes her to his flat where she cleans up and soon disappears. Lady Door is running from two mendacious mercenaries who have slaughtered her family. By morning, Mayhew has apparently vanished too! His bank card won't work, taxi drivers don't stop for him, Jessica doesn't recognize him, but most troubling to Richard is that his landlord has rented out his flat. He has no home. He has inexplicitly ceased to exist in the world as he knows it. The only way to return to his reality and regain his home, job, and fiancée is to enter the shadowy neverwhere world of Lady Door's London Below.
    With no choice available to him, Richard joins Neverwhere's noble lady and her small band to find the malevolent Angel (who will stop at nothing to possess Door's abilities) and stop his evil plan to destroy London Below and its inhabitants. Only then, Richard can find his way back home to London Above.

    Reading Gaiman's NEVERWHERE takes the London's Tube's loudspeaker warning "Mind the Gap" to a much more complex meaning... People can fall through the gaps/cracks, literally, not only down onto the rails but much deeper, ending up in "London Below". Richard Mayhew is an unlikely Samaritan and protagonist, but when confronted with a choice he follows his charitable instinct and assists a wounded rag girl he finds lying on the sidewalk. To save her from her apparent killers he sacrifices all that he is as well as the basic creature comforts of life.

    Gaiman spins a brilliant yarn of life in the underbelly of London, with its shady characters, speaking rats and special "guides". There is more than one reality. In London Above Richard and Lady Door can be seen but not recalled beyond an instant. The real-life maze of London underground tunnels, hidden passageways and dead ends provide the existent, yet twisted, backdrop to the story. Time and distances have no meaning. The names of tube stations acquire new relevance: the Earl resides at Earl's Court, the black Friar monks are in Black friars and Islington is an Angel. Following Door and her unusual companions, Richard discovers the limits of his endurance especially when confronted by the Black Friar quest and on the Night Bridge. Mayhew questions his own existence and reality. While his desire to get back to his normal life keeps him going, his chances to break free from the shadowy Neverwhere increasingly appear to diminish. Gaiman's novel has become one of my favorite books and a proud addition to my home library!

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2008

    A reviewer

    I have read several Neil Gaiman books, and I'm gonna go out on a limb and say this is my favorite. American Gods is a close 2nd, but something about the dark London underground just drew me into this book. Enchanting,haunting, and beautifully written, I loved every minute of it!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    Had potential but...

    I'm REALLY surprised this book got so many positive reviews? Did we all read the same book?? The plot and most of the characters were interesting but it was boring. It was slow and the author neglected to address why there was a London Below, how Richard even got there, why the London Below people have powers and some didn't, etc. I mean the book wasn't necessarily "bad" but it definitely wasn't good at all. It had potential but fell flat.

    4 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 25, 2011

    Extremely Entertaining Read

    For fantasy-loving, Neil Gaiman fans, Neverwhere is an entirely perfect book. The plot was intense and magical in so many creative and delicious ways. I finished the book in about three days, since I just couldn't put it down. It's full of horror, thrilling events, magic, rats, and evil characters as well as good ones. Finishing the book was mind-blowing, since I can't recall being that awed by a novel besides the Harry Potter series. And that's saying something! The juicy details and beyond-creative story line is insanely riveting, so I absolutely recommend this for anyone who has a taste for fantasy and Neil Gaiman. One of his finest (and earliest) works.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    Amazing!

    Gaiman has the perfect combo of imagination with terror, thrills and fantasy.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2007

    Whoa...

    For starters, I love Neil Gaiman's writing style. Very imaginative and straight to the the heart. I read an earlier review by 'Mike' and I have to totally disagree. Gaiman's books are all very creative and imaginative and extremely well written. I believe that Mr. Gaiman adds a breath of fresh air to a semi-stale genre. He's a God-send for consumers of good writing everywhere! Now, about Neverwhere... I enjoyed this book. Not to the point of euphoiria, but enjoyed it nonetheless. The story plot and conception of this book are amazing. They are what really got me interested. I have read other Gaiman books, Anansi Boys and American Gods, and enjoyed those thouroughly. American Gods was my favorite, with Neverwhere very close behind! A very good read for anyone wanting a slight chill with a side of laughter! Pick this one up!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I loved the characters

    I absolutely love Neil Gaiman's work. I first became aware of Neil Gaiman when a friend recommended me reading American Gods. As with American Gods, I become intrigued and captivated by Neverwhere's characters. Neil Gaiman is an amazing author and creates a vivid visual of what London underground is like. I was so wrapped up in Neverwhere that I finished the book quickly. The plot is exciting and well written. After reading American Gods and Neverwhere, I am a permanent Neil Gaiman fan. He also wrote Coraline. I would highly recommend this book to persons who enjoy fantasy worlds and those who enjoy the imagination that Neil Gaiman brings into his books. I will say this, it is not a light, funny book. It can be a little dark but entertaining none-the-less. Not only are the characters and plot well written, the interactions that the characters have with each other are also well written. For those who enjoy slightly darker fantasy, I would highly recommend Neverwhere.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2008

    A reviewer

    This is perhaps my favourite book, and it is only made better by listening to the author read it. Croup and Vandemar are deliciously creepy, the Marquis is disdainful, and he even manages to convincingly portray an innocent teenage girl 'Door'. I've never been a fan of audiobooks before, but this was amazing.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2004

    One of the best novels I've ever read in my life!

    This is one of my favorite novels. This book is full of sardonic humor, absolutely hilarious villains, believable characters, mystery that will blow you away, and a mystic feeling that sticks with the story all the way through. The character is a normal guy and stays normal throughout the book so that the reader can relate to how he reacts to certain situations and how he acts in general. Pick up this book. You won't be disappointed. TRUST ME.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    REVIEWED: Neverwhere WRITTEN BY: Neil Gaiman PUBLISHED: 2003 (fi

    REVIEWED: Neverwhere
    WRITTEN BY: Neil Gaiman
    PUBLISHED: 2003 (first published as a miniseries script, 1996)

    It’s really been a long time since I’ve read a dark fantasy book as absorbing as NEVERWHERE by Neil Gaiman. Suffice it to say, this novel was fascinating, exciting, funny, scary, and overall simply brilliant.

    Whatever happens to the “people who fall between the cracks in society,” The homeless, the runaways, the forgottens? They literally fall into another “mirrored” world below, composed beneath the sewers of London and built with the magic and lost technology that is forgotten today. In “London Below” entire villages may have fallen through the world and people from all walks of life converge, in a world of shadows, conspiracy, monsters, angels, and crime.

    Gaiman’s style of writing seems so effortless and natural. It’s very warm and conversational, as if he were telling the story to you in person while sitting at a county pub with a couple pints of suds. It’s smart and entertaining and satisfying. Gaiman has a talent for world building, and there are a host of background characters who are all just as fascinating as the main characters. This book has been made into a T.V. Series for both BBC and again for A&amp;E and a comic series through DC Comics, so it’s really gotten around.

    Highly recommended for lovers of adventure, dark fantasy, and light horror.

    Five out of Five stars

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2012

    Woogster

    A fun fast read. I primarly enjoy horror/suspense, king and the such but deciced to give gaiman a look after reading a few of b.n reviews, I really enjoyed his style. Was able to connect with his characters actually caring if they survived through to the next chapter. I've since read other gaiman novels and am now pretty much hooked, he mixes fantasy with great chatacters like few can, love this guy, recommend- recommend!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2012

    not recommended

    very weird and complex, hard to follow. his most recent book is better, this is a disappointment.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    A modern classic

    Yet another winning novel from the prolific imagination of the phenomenally talented Neil Gaiman, a true master of the art of storytellng in whatever medium he chooses to express himself. Well worth reading: the BBC's filmed adaptation is equally wothwhile.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2012

    I got this book because it sounded interesting and something I w

    I got this book because it sounded interesting and something I would like to read. Boy was I wrong. I thought this book to be boring. There was so many times I thought about giving up, I kept reading just in case I missed anything. Nothing caught my interest until about page 200 and there is only 259 pages in the nook book. I hated the 1 paragraphs to explain what the other characters are doing. If you're going to do that, at least make it a chapter or worth something more that seemed like it was to mean something (most of the time it was worthless or useless). Not only was the character Richard to be whiny and annoying, the character descriptions were vague. I found this book to be like the people of London below - forgettable.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 25, 2012

    Okay fantasy

    I found it hard to get into this story line. It held my mild interest for a few chapters but something is missing. I put it aside and may go back and finish it when I have nothing else to hold my interest.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2012

    Quite Strange

    Perhaps I am not used to this type of literature (about the "underworld") - wanted to stop reading it because of the peculiar story line, yet finished it after all. ODD story, peculiar writing style ....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 675 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)