Something about ‘em puzzles me
Spend my whole life tryin’ to figure out
Just what them girls are all about…”
What man doesn’t wish to be the knight in shining armor - saving the damsel in distress? Exactly what Richard Mayhew does, except that his fiancée Jessica is in tow as well, warning him not to; and to make matters worse, the rescued damsel-Door, bloodied and wounded implores him to extend to her another favor - find her friend Marquis de Carabas, who would help her escape the fate that awaits her in the guise of two ruthless assassins - Mr. Croup and Mr.Vandemar.
So precisely why is Door in trouble? Her parents were killed in London Below, and her bid to escape brings her to London Above. She possesses the inherent gift of opening other things, besides just doors. The fox-like Croup and the animal devouring wolfish Vandemar are on her heels, to subject her to the same fate as her family.
Richard is paid a visit by Messrs. Croup & Vandemar, showing him a picture of their ‘sister’ Door, whom they would like to take back to mother; sensible Richard denies her presence, and on their way, the duo hear Jessica break Richard’s heart and their engagement. As if it couldn’t be more infernal - Richard is now invisible, homeless and jobless.
In search of Door (who, by the by, has disappeared in smoke), Richard travels to London Below, to the kingdom of the Rat Speakers, and the Floating Market, where he finally finds Door, who is conducting a recruitment drive for prospective bodyguards. Finally, the position goes to Hunter, and the three (Door, the Marquis and Hunter) get Richard to join them on their journey to the Earl’s Court-the Earl would direct them to the Angel of Islington - guardian angel of London Below.
The Marquis, a swashbuckling, suave, smooth Puss in Boots type of chap has been a loyal friend of Door’s deceased family. Along with him, they all travel to the Court, although he has to leave mid way owing to irreconcilable differences with the Earl. Meanwhile, the Earl directs them to the British Museum, to find the Angelus statue, which paves the way to the Angel. Once they meet, the Angel promises to reveal the identity of the killers of Door’s family. However, she must first salvage the inimitable key from the Black Friars, the other residents of London Below.
On the other hand, the Marquis strikes a deal with Messrs. Croup & Vandemar – that in exchange for a priceless T’ang Dynasty figurine, they would disclose the mystery of the murder of Door’s family. While the Marquis lives up to his word, unfortunately, the wolves in sheep’s clothing- Croup & Vandemar- don’t; ending in the tragic end of the brave Marquis.
On the other hand, Door, Richard and Hunter are on their way to the Black Friars, where the three face a test each-Door wins the test of intellect, Richard- the test of character and Hunter, the test of strength. This success results in them getting the key.
The Devil in the plot is the Angel, closely following on his devious trail, Hunter. Both of them want to use Door’s powers for their own gain - he to have dominion over all the angels, and Hunter to slay the Beast. But all’s well that ends well - everything evil is carefully dispensed, and Richard returns to London Above-more confident, yet longing for London Below.
Neil Gaiman’s penchant for fantasy has yet again drawn readers, young and old alike, to enjoy yet another spiraling and thrilling story about worlds unknown. The Book is also a drama series on TV, starring Clive Russell and Laura Fraser. Gaiman has outdone himself with the Book- a modern day fairy tale of opulent magnitude, is what the reader should expect. He is also the author of the Graveyard Book, American Gods and the comic series The Sandman. Gaiman is the first writer to win both the Carnegie and Newberry medals for The Graveyard Book (2008).