By Christopher Fowler
I had never read
any of Christopher Fowler's work until I read Roofworld. I had
heard good things about the book though, and I didn't have to get many
pages into it before I discovered that I had heard right. It is very
is the story of a society secretly living in London and quite separate
from the rest of the City dwellers (who the Roofworlders call the
You don't have to get very far into the book before you realize that
the Roofworld community has been around for a long time. The Roofworld
society might not be new, but there have been some new
developments up amongst the roofs. A man called Chymes is the main
reason for this. The present day Roofworld is lead by Nathaniel Zalian
and he is a good guy. The hooded man, Chymes, on the other hand, is not
a good guy at all and a lot of the Roofworlders have either been killed
by him or gone over to join him and his occult society.
Although the Roofworlders are living separate from the rest of society,
when the victims of Chymes dark and unusual sacrifices turn up on
terra-firma it draws attention to the fact that something
strange is going on above the heads of the City dwellers and when the
body of a teenaged boy falls from the flaming remains of a neon
Coca-Cola sign Detective Chief Inspector Ian Hargreave is put in charge
of the investigation.
Hargreave is not the only 'Insect' that gets dragged into the
Roofworlder's war. Two of the books main characters Robert Linden and
Rose Leonard also hail from the ranks of those who would normally live
underneath a roof rather than on top on one. Robert is trying to find
out who owns the rights to a book called The Newgate Legacy
because the company he works for is considering making it into a film.
While searching the flat of the recently murdered author he finds
something that seems to be a manuscript for another book and it
eventually leads him to Roofworld. Rose is employed to take care of the
apartment block where the author lived and she too ends up
'going up' and meeting the Roofworlders.
is a very imaginative work and when Fowler describes the Roofworlders
sliding along on nylon cables, called runs, and travelling from one
building to another above the busy night-time streets he manages to
make it all sound very plausible, if a little scary. There is no
imagination either when it comes to the way that some of the characters
die and they die in all kinds of unusual and bloody ways.
is 400 pages long and I enjoyed reading every one of those 400 pages.
It is one of those books that makes you feel almost a little sad when
you reach the last page because then the adventure is over, and you
have to say a final goodbye to the characters. Until the next time that
you read the book, that is.