For nine hundred generations, the city of Deepgate has hung suspended by giant chains over a seemingly bottomless abyss.
In the unfathomable darkness below is said to reside the dread god Ulcis, 'hoarder of souls', with his army of ghosts.
Outside the city extend the barren wastes of Deadsands, inhabited by the enemy Heshette, so that safe access is guaranteed only by a fleet of airships.
At the hub of the city itself rises the Temple, in one of whose many crumbling spires resides a youthful angel, Dill, the last of his line.
Descendant of heroic battle-archons, yet barely able to wield the great sword he has inherited from his forebears, he lives a sheltered existence under the watchful eye of Presbyter Sypes, who rules the Temple.
For despite his sense of purposelessness, Dill has a destiny about to unfold -- one that will take him down into terrifying depths of the pit in a desperate quest to save the teeming but precarious city from total annihilation at the hands of a cunning and resourceful traitor.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 500 pages
- Publisher: Pan Macmillan
- Publication Date: 04/05/2007
- Category: Fantasy
- ISBN: 9780330444767
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.
Review by McGrewc
One of the strangest dark fantasies I've ever come across. The author builds such a fantastic world, a city hung from chains over the abyss, two angels left, one an ineffectual young man, the other a 2000 year old serial killer, both of whom must save their world, that I hardly know where to begin a review. I was enthralled.
Review by Uffer
I'm still not entirely sure what to make of this book. By the time I'd read the Prologue, I had a clear impression of a decaying City ruled by a corrupt Church, and troubled by a psychopathic angel. By the end of the scene, my sympathy lay slightly more with the psychopath, if only because she hadn't been described in great enough detail for me to form an active dislike. It could, I felt, only get better. The main story begins some 2000 years later, by which time the city is further decayed, the Church watches closely over a boy-angel forbidden to fly, and 'pilgrims' are brought under guard to the city to die. As the tale unfolded, I found it difficult to empathise with any of the characters, and found myself rather wishing the whole sordid city of chains would just fall into the pit and have done with it. This is, undisputedly, a very visual, very dark, gritty fantasy. Unfortunately, there is no relief from the lovingly painted dark and gritty details, and the protaganists are all, frankly, more or less equally distasteful, unprincipled, irritatingly thoughtless or just plain unpleasant. I was around three quarters of the way through the book when I finally started to empathise with any of the characters, and then it was a half-made Church assassin and the psychopath. Having said all this, it was worth ploughing through the first three-quarters of the book if only for the scene involving the living chain-mace.Did I enjoy the book? More than I expected to by the halfway mark. Will I buy the sequel? Possibly not.
Review by lewispike
This is a sprawling, intriguing book. It starts looking excellent, but declines somewhat through the course of the book - although it leaves me wanting more and waiting for Iron Angel to be out in paperback.The entire culture is a part of the story and hard to review without spoilers, but there is a central belief in Ulcis, the God of Chains and a city hanging over an abyss held up by the chains. The church of Ulcis amongst its other pleasant activities runs a group of assassins called the Spine.There is a (probably completely insane) man who has lost his wife to his service for the church and this story in part is about his drive for revenge on the people and church that cost him his beloved. There are other stories too, such as the fallen angel Carnival who hunts and bleeds a victim each Scar Night (new moon), and the story of Rachel a Spine assassin who has not quite completed her training process and Dill, a young angel she is protecting.Just when all this seems too much, there's another culture thrown into the mix, although rather peripherally and it is viewed contemptuously through the eyes of the narrator at that point.