Campbell’s debut Deepgate Codex trilogy (Iron Angel being the middle book) is punk something or other. Steampunk? Gothic punk? Dieselpunk? None of these categories quite fits. It’s the story of a deep, richly imagined world where life sucks. For some deific political reason that is not fully explained (yet), the goddess of Heaven has closed her gates on the world. If you’re dead, you’re screwed, because everybody is going to Hell now. If you’re alive, you’re screwed anyway, because Hell is planning to stage an invasion. Iron Angel describes the movements of the ordinary and some not-so-ordinary people who have gotten caught in the crossfire.
Campbell’s descriptive power reminds one of the work of Mervyn Peake and Clive Barker. And if you know who those two writers are, then you should be very, very afraid of this book. Like the bit with Cinderbark Wood. Good Lord. There’s a lot of brutality and you might say that humanity is in a bit of a tight spot, but it’s not all doom and gloom. Amidst all the villains, there are some characters who are quite definitely good people, and they know how to fight. Recommended.