Every month, on Scar Night, the rogue angel Carnival takes a random unsuspecting victim, breaks every bone in his body and sucks out every last drop of his blood (now that is a serious case of PMT). Every fifty years, she makes an exception and her choice is far from random. It's nearly Scar Night and her next victim, Sal Greene is expecting a visitor...
Lye Street is a short novel written as a prequel to Campbell's excellent first novel Scar Night
. That novel was followed up by two less than excellent sequels (Iron Angel
& God of Clocks
and Lye Street post-dates all three, so I approached it with some caution. The second and third in the trilogy were not entirely egregious, but they lost much of the dark, foreboding, Ghormengastian
atmosphere that made Scar Night so compelling. They simply seemed to miss the point.
This prequel however, does not, I am pleased to say. It resides entirely within the chained city of Deepgate and, if foreboding, is what made SN so good, then Lye Street bodes with the best of them. If you liked the Peakeian atmosphere of the first novel then, here, Campbell has certainly Peaked. Lye Street is easily on a par with the first of his novels, well written with evocative prose and vivid imagery, a cast of varied, intriguing (and somewhat Dickensian) characters and no little wit (Othniel Cope's "answer" to the ox cart driver's query being a slightly corny, but also very funny example).
The story itself is brief and to the point - it's point being to set the scene for Scar Night. Indeed it sets this novel up so comprehensively that reading it should really be compulsory. On the other hand, it also stands alone very nicely as an enjoyable read.
Well worth a go.