Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Devil In The Gateway II

I am still admiring the way Mike Carey keeps an interesting and entertaining story going when I would have thought that his fictional premises ruled out any kind of extended or continuing narrative.

To confront the voiceless gods, Lucifer must travel to an obscure supernatural realm called "first world" and needs a guide for this partly shamanistic journey. In exchange for two hundred and forty copper aes, Pharamond, the retired deity who supervises transport, advises Lucifer to go to Tsoodzil (see below) with the Navajo Rachel as guide. Because the journey is a pilgrimage, they cannot travel magically or supernaturally so they first drive to an airport in a chauffer-driven car provided by Pharamond/Farrell.

However, all regular flights are suspended. Further, because the journey is shamanistic, lying or coercing their way onto a plane would hurt their chances of success so Pharamond arranges a lift in a truck. Next, they climb to the summit of Mt Taylor/Tsoodzil where the Navajo ancestress, Blue Flint Girl, gives Rachel one charm for each world to be traversed.

Using the charms, they descend through:

fourth world, where there are traces of the flood;
third world, beneath the flood;
second world, a gulf;
first world, darkness.

Rachel wishes the gods of first world dead and Lucifer walks home. Having been paid with his letter of passage, he does not instantly use the letter to leave God's universe but instead travels to Hamburg to ask the Angel Meleos, who is disguised as a bookseller, to check the authenticity of the letter by consulting the Basanos, his living tarot deck. However, the Basanos escape from their maker and become another of the forces with which Lucifer must contend.

He must also:

retrieve his wings, cut off in the previous series, in order to navigate in the Void between universes;
release energy, with which to create a new universe, in the Void;
prevent the universes from decaying after God's departure;
contend with Fenris Wolf who does attempt cosmic destruction;
prepare a divine successor since he himself no longer wants that role;
seek out an obscure realm of the hereafter to rescue the successor who has been killed by one of the other contending powers;
set his affairs in order before finally departing.

My point is that, on several occasions when the narrative seems to have reached an inescapable conclusion, the author's imagination conjures up new circumstances and characters to keep it going. Thus, we read eleven volumes before the story of Lucifer is complete.

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