Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (1998)

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (1998)


Neverwhere graphic novel -vol. 1

Neverwhere — A stand-alone novel by Neil Gaiman

Genres and Sub-GenresEdit

Urban Fantasy / SciFi

  • Neverwhere is a stand-alone Urban Fantasy

Book Description or Overview Edit

Richard Mayhew is a young man with a good heart and an ordinary life, which is changed forever when he stops to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London sidewalk. His small act of kindness propels him into a world he never dreamed existed. There are people who fall through the cracks, and Richard has become one of them. And he must learn to survive in this city of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels, if he is ever to return to the London that he knew. ~ ‎Shelfari

Themes Edit

  • Homelessness: Describe this theme.
  • Ignorance: Richard was ignorant to the people around him, just floating through his life but not truly enjoying any of it. He was exposed to a whole new world when he "fell through the neck" which caused him to open his eyes to the world around him
  • Loss of Innocence: Richard begins his journey as someone who is innocent and pure. As he ventures through London-Below he is exposed to the horrors that world contains and once his views on the Angel Islington are shattered by the Angel's true nature, he loses all innocence of his previous thoughts.

~ Source: ‎Shelfari

Other Series by Author (onsight) Edit

American Gods series

World Building Edit

Setting Edit

London Below (aka London Underground)

  •  A fictional place under the city: London, almost now people know it exists.


  • Floating Market: The floating market is a place where all of London Below meet. It is always moving
  • London Above: London, England: Present day
  • British Museum Tube Station: A disused station on the London Underground:
  • H. M. S. Belfast: A moored battleship in the Thames
  • Islington:
  • Hammersmith:
  • Ruislip:
  • Harrods:
  • Down Street:
  • London Wall:

The Supernatural Elements Edit

Monsters, saints, angels, knights in armour,


Groups and Organizations:

  • Velvets: A cold race of people living in London Below who act as guides but appear to be tricksters who corner the unsuspecting and suck the life from them. Unclear if this is true of all members of the race, or just what we see.
  • Rat Speaker Group:

World Edit

Richard Mayhi is an unassuming young businessman living in London, with a dull job and a pretty but demanding fiancée. Then one night he stumbles across a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her—and the life he knows vanishes like smoke. Several hours later, the girl is gone too. And by the following morning Richard Mayhew has been erased from his world. His bank cards no longer work, taxi drivers won't stop for him, his landlord rents his apartment out to strangers. He has become invisible, and inexplicably consigned to a London of shadows and darkness—to a city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth of sewer canals and abandoned subway stations. He has fallen through the cracks of reality and has landed somewhere different, somewhere that is Neverwhere. For this is the home of Door, the mysterious girl whom Richard rescued in the London Above. A personage of great power and nobility in this murky, candlelit realm, she is on a mission to discover the cause of her family's slaughter, and in doing so preserve this strange underworld kingdom from the malevolence that means to destroy it. And with nowhere else to turn, Richard Mayhew must now join the Lady Door's entourage in their determined—and possibly fatal—quest. For the dread journey ever-downward—through bizarre anachronisms and dangerous incongruities, and into dusty corners of stalled time—is Richard's final hope, his last road back to a "real" world that is growing disturbingly less real by the minute. ~ Shelfari

Protagonist Edit

Richard Mayhew is a young man with a good heart and an ordinary life, which is changed forever when he stops to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London sidewalk.

Sidekick Edit

Characters Edit

Characters What About
Richard Oliver Mayhew Business man An ordinary man with an ordinary life from London Above
Miss Door young woman Has the unusual ability to open any door; she's entire reason Richard Mayhew falls through to 'London Below,' and his life is never the same again.
Mr. Vandemar Assassin Slow and uncompromisingly violent. Extremely well spoken
Marquis de Carabas A powerful and mysterious denizen of the underworld.
Hunter Door's bodyguard unable to go to London above
Anesthésie Rat-Speaker group A dweller in London-below, part of the Rat-Speaker group. She escorts Richard deeper into London Below and to find Door.
Jessica Bartram Richard's fiancee 's very pretty and very self-centered fiancee of London Above.
Gary Perunu co-worker Richard's friend and co-worker
Old Bailey roof dweller Man that lives on roofs and sells birds and information
Mr. Arnold Stockton Jessica's boss
Brother Fuliginous Head of the Black Friars
Lamia velvet child One of the velvet children. Seductive, offers guidance for a price.
Lear Street performer able to see both London Above and Below people
Angel Islington guardian angel of London previously guardian angel of Atlantis
Portia Door's mother
Arch Door's brother
Hammersmith giant, blacksmith A blacksmith at the Floating Market, a true giant of a man
Ruislip sumo wrestler named after a tube station
Dunnikin Leader of the Swamp People
Father Abbot black friar
Claire E. White
Lord Portico
Mr. Ross assassin hired by Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar
Aunt Maude
Anaesthesia A Rat speaker
Mister Varney
Mr. Figgis
George Buchanan
Messire Marquis

To expand the table, in Edit–Visual mode, right-press on a Row of the table or Column (Control-press on a Mac)—choose add Row or Column.

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman

Author Edit

Neil Gaiman

Bio:  Neil Gaiman wrote the award-winning graphic novel series The Sandman, and with Terry Pratchett, the award-winning novel Good Omens. His first book for children, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, illustrated by Dave McKean, hasn't yet won any awards, but was one of Newsweek's Best Children's Books of 1997. Angels & Visitations, a small press story collection, was nominated for a World Fantasy Award and won the International Horror Critics Guild Award for Best Collection, despite not having any horror in it. Well, hardly any.

Born in England, he now makes his home in America, in a big dark house of uncertain location where he grows exotic pumpkins and accumulates computers and cats. ~ Neil Gaiman

Cover ArtistsEdit

  • Cover Artist: J. K. Potter — 1997 US, Avon Books (Source: ISFdb Listing)
  • Cover Artist: Alvin Langdon Coburn — 1997 US, Avon Books (Source: ISFdb Listing )
  • Cover Artist: Dave McKean — 1996 UK, BBC Books (Source: ISFdb Listing)

Artists' ISFdb pages: 

Publishing InformationEdit


  • Edition: Paperback, First Paperback Edition, 287 pages, Published September 16th 1996 by BBC Books — ISBN-0563387467
  • Edition: Paperback, 370 pages, Pub: Sept 2-2003 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1996) — ISBN-0060557818
  • Edition: Paperback, 370 pages, Pub: Sept 2-2003 by William Morrow Paperbacks
  • Edition: Paperback, Author's Preferred Text, 384 pages, Pub: 2005 by Headline Review — ISBN-0755322800
  • eBook: 400 pages, Pub: Mar 17-2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1996)—ISBN-0061793051

Source: ~ Goodreads | Editions of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Book Cover Blurb Edit

Under the streets of London there's a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.

Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere. ~ Goodreads | Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere by the evil pastry xd-d4cc4tm

Neverwhere Fan Art

First Sentence Edit

The night before he went to London, Richard Mayhew was not enjoying himself.

Table of Contents Edit

  • Prologue
  • Chapters 1-20
  • Acknowledgments

Quotes Edit

  1. Goodreads | Neil Gaiman Quotes (Author of American Gods)
  2. Shelfari:
  • “I already killed you once. What does it take to teach some people?”
  • “That was tonight?" Richard paused for a moment. If ever, he decided, they made disorganisation an Olympic sport, he could be disorganised for England”
  • “And Jessica saw in Richard an enormous amount of potential, which, properly harnessed by the right woman, would have made him the perfect matrimonial accessory.”
  • “'Is there anything, really, to be scared of?' 'Only the night on the bridge,' she said. 'The kind in armor?' 'The kind that comes when day is over.'” — Richard and the leather woman
  • “The marquis felt, then, that much of what he had gone through in the previous week was made up for by the expression on Hunter's face.”
  • “He wondered how long the corpses had been there, and whether they had been killed by the Beasr or by the mosquitoes.”
  • “So the day became one of waiting, which was, he knew, a sin: moments were to be experienced; waiting was a sin against both the time that was still to come and the moments one was currently disregarding.”
  • “"I'm not scared of falling," he told himself. "The part I'm scared of is where you finish falling."”
  • “"When angels go bad, they go worse than anyone. Remember, Lucifer was an angel once."” — Marquis de Carabas
  • “He opened his mouth and tasted the wine once more. It made him feel happy. It made him think of skies bigger and bluer than any he had ever seen, a golden sun hanging huge in the sky.Everything simpler, everything younger than the world he knew.”
  • “Mr. Vandemar showed them his teeth, demonstrating his sunny and delightful disposition. It was unquestionably the most horrible thing that Richard had ever seen.”
  • “And Richard shook his head, and felt wrung out, and emptied, and flayed. "An angel," he whispered, hysterically, to the tunnels and the dark. "An angel.” — Richard Mayhew
  • “You don't ask any questions. You don't get any answers. You don't stray from the path. You don't even think about what's happening to you right now.” — The Marquis de Carabas
  • “Somewhere not far inside him was the fear- the stark, utter, silently screaming terror- that if he got too close to the edge, then something would take over and he would find himself walking toward the edge of a cliff top and stepping off into space. It was as if he could not entirely trust himself.” — Richard Mayhew
  • “Richard began to understand darkness: darkness as something solid and real, so much more than a simple absence of light. He felt it touch his skin, questing, moving, exploring: gliding through his mind. It slipped into his lungs, behind his eyes, into his mouth...” “Scare her? We're cutthroats, not scarecrows.” — Mr. Croup
  • “'Mind the Gap,' she said urgently, to Richard. 'Stand back over there. By the Wall.' 'What?' said Richard....And then it erupted over the side of the platform. It was diaphanous, dreamlike, a ghost-thing, the color of black smoke, and it welled up like silk under water, and moving astonishingly fast while still seeming to drift almost in slow motion, it wrapped itself tightly around Richard's ankle....The thing pulled him toward the edge of the platform, and he staggered. He realized, as if from a distance, that Hunter had pulled out her staff and was smacking the tentacle of smoke with it, hard, repeatedly....The smoke-tentacle let go of Richard's ankle and slid back over the edge of the platform, and it was gone.....'What...' he tried to say, but nothing came out. He swallowed, and tried again 'What was that?'...'I don't think it has a name,' she said. 'They live in the gaps. I did warn you.'”

Read Alikes (suggestions) Edit

Awards Edit

  • Mythopoeic Fantasy Award Nominee for Adult Literature (1998),
  • Prix Julia Verlanger (1999)

Trivia Edit

Notes Edit

See Also Edit

External References Edit


Read Free Online:



World, Characters:

Neverwhere Online—study guides

Neverwhere Reviews






Fan Sites:


Gallery of Book Covers Edit

Goodreads | Editions of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

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