At this pace Campbell will soon be a very skilled storyteller.
The chained city of Deepgate is now in ruins, and the spine militia are trying to halt the exodus of panicking citizens with brutal force. Rachel and the angel Dill are dragged off to the Temple torture chambers, but strange things start to happen as a foul red mist rises from the abyss beneath the city....
Alan Campbell continues the Deepgate trilogy started in Scar Night, in this the second book – Iron Angel. This tells the continuing story of Rachel and Dill as they escape from prison and embark upon a dangerous journey across the Deadsands to the faraway lands of Pandmeria, Coreollis and the depths of Hell itself.
I must confess I have avoided this book for a little while now after reading Scar Night. The setting of Scar Night was monumentally impressive, although the other key areas of storytelling were sadly lacking. Of course, true to form, this book proved a whole lot better than Scar Night.
We finally get to see some of the background history touched upon in Scar Night. This reveals itself in the overlying theme of this book, which tells of the upcoming war between the Armies of Hell, and those of Earth, led by the Ulcis Brothers. The Ulcis Brothers have dispatched Copsinol, God of the Sea, and his trusted servant, John Anchor, to close up the hole opened by Dill and Rachel in Scar Night.
The book is separated into three parts. The first part being particularly entertaining and a fun read. This is partly due to its strong characterisation and not such an over reliance on setting a vivid and rich scene. The scene setting is certainly impressive, though not to the exclusion of the whole story. We are introduced to more characters, namely the Gods themselves, and their minions. I found John Anchor particularly engaging, servant to Copsinol, God of the Sea, and I am looking forward to his involvement in the third book. The way he pulls the ship along by rope is the stuff of legend.
The second part tells of the journey through hell. This is told slightly differently and again Campbell uses his skill in creating a rich canvass. Whilst not as detailed as Scar Night, there were occasions when I struggled through this section. Although in the end, I overcame these difficulties.
Dill seemed to shrink back into his old character after overcoming his fear at the end of Scar Night. This part is also particularly gory and Campbell creates a world reminiscent of Dante’s hell. The third part inevitably brings the whole book together ready for the final instalment in the Deepgate Codex.
All in all this is a far more accomplished book than its predecessor. The writing has improved and the whole aspect of telling a story is greatly expanded upon. The second part can be occasionally difficult. This is possibly due to the total change of pace and tone from the excellent first part. The world is vastly bigger and this helps the vivid scenery become more balanced and not focussed on one area. The actual storyline has great potential and has left me looking forward to completing this trilogy. At this pace Campbell will soon be a very skilled storyteller.
Review by Allan Fisher
1 positive reader review(s) for Iron Angel
Lynn from US
Fantastic series. I have read all of the Deepgate novels and love Dill. Are you continuing the series? I want to read more about him.
9.3/10 from 2 reviews