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Alan Campbell

Alan Campbell fantasy authorAlan Campbell was born in Falkirk, Scotland, and grew up there before moving on to to study Computer Science at Edinburgh University. After graduating, he worked for DMA Design, Visual Sciences and Rockstar, developing video games: Body Harvest for the Nintendo 64, Formula One 2000 for the Playstation, and the Grand Theft Auto series on the PC and PS2. After finishing Vice City, he left to pursue a career in photography and to write. Learn more at Alan Campbell’s website.

Deepgate Codex

Deepgate Codex — (2007-2012) Lye Street is a prequel. Iron Angel is called Penny Devil in the UK. Publisher: Suspended by chains over a seemingly bottomless abyss, the ancient city of Deepgate is home to a young angel, an assassin, and a psychotic murderer hungry for revenge — or redemption. But soon a shocking betrayal will unite all three in a desperate quest… The last of his line, Dill is descended from legendary Battle-archons who once defended the city. Forbidden to fly and untrained even to wield the great sword inherited from his forebears, he has become a figurehead for a dying tradition. Now he lives a sheltered existence in one of Deepgate’s crumbling temple spires under the watchful eye of the Presbyter who rules the city. Spine assassin Rachel Hael has better things to do than oversee the Presbyter’s angel. Each dark moon she must fight for her life among the city chains, hunting an immortal predator with a taste for blood. But when a traitor brings enemies to Deepgate’s doorstep, Dill and Rachel are forced into an uneasy alliance with the city’s oldest and most dangerous foe. They must journey down into the uncharted chasm to save their sprawling metropolis — and themselves — from annihilation. Once they descend however, they learn that what lies below is far more sinister than what they’ve been taught to expect.

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Lye Street: Perfect introduction to the Deepgate Codex

Lye Street by Alan Campbell

Lye Street is a 135 page novella exclusively available from Subterranean Press in two unique, limited editions — a fully cloth bound hardcover signed by the author (numbered to 2000) and a signed leatherbound copy housed in a custom traycase (numbered to 26). Cover artwork is provided by Dave McKean — longtime Neil Gaiman collaborator and noted CD cover artist — while the wonderful interior illustrations are done by the award-winning Bob Eggleton.

One of the best things about Scar Night was the thrilling prologue which first introduced the demonic Carnival, a deranged and immortal angel who feeds on the blood of victims every ‘scar night.’ Lye Street is the prequel to that prologue and ends just w... Read More

Scar Night: Doesn’t quite meet its potential

Scar Night by Alan Campbell

Alan Campbell's Scar Night is the first book in a proposed trilogy (Deepgate Codex) and it’s a decent and intriguing start, though one hopes that succeeding books do a much better job of realizing the potential in the backstory than Scar Night itself does.

The strengths of the book mostly lie in its background. One is the underlying mythos: a millennia-ago war in heaven, a god who waits in the abyss below a major city as they feed him their dead (along with the dead’s souls) so he can create another army to storm heaven, a race of angels, a powerful church, a once-powerful group of heathens. Another strength is the setting — the city of Deepgate, suspended by massive chains over the god’s abyss, chains that wind through the entire city, holding up houses and blocks (or sometime... Read More

Iron Angel: Hell is especially vivid and original

Iron Angel by Alan Campbell

I thought Scar Night, the first book in Alan Campbell’s Deepgate Codex, never really reached its potential in terms of story, character, or richness of imagination and detail. It had enough to keep my interest piqued in the series, but I can’t say I was holding my breath for book two.

Iron Angel picks up slightly after the events of Scar Night and continues the major story arc. A long-ago war in Heaven ended up with Heaven sealed, the god Iril shattered into pieces (which retain power) in the Maze of Hell, and his sons scattered and imprisoned, though most managed to free themselves and plot a return to heaven. Meanwhile, they must deal with King Menoa of Hell, who is attempting to lead his Mesmerists out of Hell into this world. Read More

God of Clocks: A bit of a letdown, but still a good series

God of Clocks by Alan Campbell

God of Clocks is Alan Campbell’s third (and I believe final) book in his Deepgate Codex. It is (save for the ending) better than Scar Night, but nowhere near as strong as Iron Angel.

In God of Clocks, the Spine assassin Rachel is reunited with the young angel Dill, though his soul is now enhoused in a monstrously tall (400’ I think) mechanical construct of an angel. They are joined by the thaumaturge Mina Greene (still with her strange dog) and the god Hasp, who is also transformed (though in much different fashion) and who is carrying a mind-controlling parasite that allows him to be ordered by any of a group of people to do whatever they tell him to, making him an untrustworthy ally. They are pursued by 12 other “archonites”... Read More

Damnation for Beginners: A DEEPGATE CODEX novella

Damnation for Beginners by Alan Campbell

Alan Campbell has been on my TBR list for years, but I still haven’t managed to get around to reading his DEEPGATE CODEX. That is going to change soon, though, because I just finished his novella Damnation for Beginners which takes place in the city of Cog in the DEEPGATE CODEX world.

This short book is about Jack and Carol Aviso, who work as bank tellers for the greedy Henry Sill Banking Corporation. Jack and Carol know better than to keep their money with Henry Sill because nearly every day the customer account policies change and the customers continue to become further indebted to the company. Jack’s and Carol’s jobs are to explain the convoluted policies to the thousands of customers who line up daily to complain. The offices of the tellers are located in cabins in a huge cog embedded in a cliff. The cog rotates constant... Read More

The Gravedigger Chronicles

The Gravedigger Chronicles — (2011-  ) Publisher: When the last of the Gravediggers, an elite imperial infiltration unit, are disbanded and hunted down by the emperor they once served, munitions expert Colonel Thomas Granger takes refuge in the unlikeliest of places. He becomes a jailer in Ethugra — a prison city of poison-flooded streets and gaols in which a million enemies of the empire are held captive. But when Granger takes possession of two new prisoners, he realises that he can’t escape his past so readily. Ianthe is a young girl with an extraordinary psychic talent. A gift that makes her unique in a world held to ransom by the powerful Haurstaf — the sisterhood of telepaths who are all that stand between the Empire and the threat of the Unmer, the powerful civilization of entropic sorcerers and dragon-mounted warriors. In this war-torn land, she promises to make Granger an extremely wealthy man, if he can only keep her safe from harm. This is what Granger is best at. But when other factions learn about Ianthe’s unique ability, even Granger’s skills of warfare are tested to their limits. While, Ianthe struggles to control the powers that are growing in ways no-one thought were possible. Another threat is surfacing: out there, beyond the bitter seas, an old and familiar enemy is rising — one who, if not stopped, will drown the world and all of humanity with it…

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Sea of Ghosts: Campbell has created another stunning fantasy world

Sea of Ghosts by Alan Campbell

CLASSIFICATION: Sea of Ghosts is a nautical-themed epic fantasy that reminded me a of cross between Robert V.S. Redick’s accessible Chathrand Voyage series and the grittier works of Glen Cook, James Clemens and Alan Campbell’s very own Deepgate Codex, while the book’s magic system brought to mind Mark Charan Newton and Ken Scholes. Recommended for fans of Read More