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Scar Night (Deepgate Codex #1)

3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  3,290 Ratings  ·  297 Reviews
Suspended by chains over a seemingly bottomless abyss, the ancient city of Deepgate is home to a young angel, an assassin, and a psychotic murderer hungry for revenge or redemption. But soon a shocking betrayal will unite all three in a desperate quest.... The last of his line, Dill is descended from legendary Battle-archons who once defended the city. Forbidden to fly and ...more
Hardcover, 421 pages
Published December 26th 2006 by Bantam Spectra (first published January 1st 2006)
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Mark Lawrence
Sep 11, 2016 Mark Lawrence rated it really liked it
I've been reading Scar Night for 8 whole weeks! I don't get a lot of time to read but the 8 weeks is only partly a reflection of that.

For whatever reason, the first half of Scar Night didn't grip me. On the other hand I've given up on a fair number of best selling fantasy books between page 50 & 100 when they've not worked for me - and I didn't give up on Scar Night. What kept me in the game were the facts that Scar Night has excellent prose, good description, good dialogue, and tremendous i
Jul 30, 2013 Amanda rated it it was ok
I desperately wanted to love this book, but to quote Gregory House quoting the philosopher Jagger, "You can't always get what you want." There are so many amazing concepts in this book, but that's part of the problem--there are so many potentially engaging ideas brewing in here that it's like Campbell couldn't decide on just one so decided to toss them all in at once. The result is that no one idea or character receives the full attention it deserves. For instance, the most compelling character ...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Scottish author Alan Campbell - best known for his "involvement" in designing the popular game Grand Theft Auto - spent ten years, on and off, working on his debut novel Scar Night, the first book in the Deepgate Codex. For fans of "steampunk" fantasy writer China Mieville (Perdido Street Station, The Scar, Iron Council), Scar Night is a solid, original addition to the subgenre.

The city of Deepgate hangs suspended by chains abovethe Abyss, its foundations built by Callis, the angel Herald of th
Dan Schwent
Deepgate is a city hanging by chains over a nigh-bottomless abyss. There is an organization of assassins called the Adepts of the Spine that works for the church of Ulcis. One adept, Rachel, is charged with two tasks; training Dill, the last archon of his line, and hunting down Carnival, a rogue angel who claims a soul every Scar Night. Only someone else has begun claiming souls and Carnival is taking the blame...

Sounds good, right? So what's not to like? A lot, as it turns out. The writing scre
May 05, 2013 Jason rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books, read-2013
4 Stars

I scored this a bit higher than I probably should have as I love these types of books. The cover compares Campbell to Neil Gaiman and I must say that I did not see any similarities at all. What I did see was an urban fantasy that would have fit right in with Hal Duncan's Book of all Hours series. The stories, characters, and setting are,all similar, not their writing style.(Duncan is a difficult read).

This is a fast read that is dark and dirty. The cast is diverse and we get many POV's.
Mar 06, 2011 Rollie rated it liked it
After reading dystopian books, I never thought I would meet again steampunk books. I’ve seen this book actually in Goodreads and fortunately found a copy in one of our bookstore here. I was lucky then to have this book because some of my friends find this hard to catch one.

Dill is the last angel of his line. Being the last archon tails a heavy consequence. As the age of sixteen, he still doesn’t know how to fly, much less how to fight. So when the time comes he has to become a temple angel, he m
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Sep 30, 2011 Jayaprakash Satyamurthy rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I'm a fantasy fan, but I've gone off the genre in general. Too much heavy, overblown writing masquerading as epic style, too much Sopranos-style soap opera, too little magic and strangeness.

Despite the steampunk tag (which means nothing to me - I refuse to accept that steampunk is a genre, it's just a bit of window dressing to help focus target markets) this is a pretty good fantasy debut. Lots of dark magic and some weird technology and a healthy dose of the macabre. A great city setting and a
Mike (the Paladin)
May 03, 2011 Mike (the Paladin) rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
While this book isn't "wonderful" it has a unique flavor. I would not (as some have) call this a "traditional" fantasy. It has bits of "post apocalypse", a touch of Science fiction, some overt fantasy, a little flavor of steam punk....I'd call it sort of it's own "thing".

I'm not enamored with this book, I don't plan to re-read it, but it is worth a read to try this world out. It's a world of dry dusty want and blood smeared violence...but that's not the whole of it. Building it's own mythos and
Jan 05, 2012 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was a little apprehensive about reading Scar Night but I thought that it sounded pretty good. When I started reading it I felt that it was a little slow but quite interesting. As the story progressed however, I got really sucked into the story and it had a sort of exponential curve of interest.
I absolutely loved Scar Night. It’s really original and while it has quite a lot going on, it’s really easy to follow and I didn’t get lost trying to follow one individuals story as they all managed to b
Dec 07, 2012 Alden rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
The one thing that can be said for Scar Night: it does not retread paths already turned into six-lane super-highways. The Tower of Shadows, for instance (a worse book, and one I read right after this one) takes place in Fantasy Kingdom 17, and features a pirate cove, an enchanted port city, and a genuine, do-gooding knight, for God's sake. Where does Scar Night take place?

On top of a bottomless chasm, in a city which dangles down on a series of thick iron chains. Which is a dark, kinda cool imag
May 02, 2009 Lily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy fans, esp. if you like it dark
I was first draw to Scar Night because of its cover (I know, what a sin). But how could I resist a dark angel rising in front of a moon, AND Publisher's Weekly's claim that Campbell writes like Neil Gaiman. "That's a lot to live up to," I thought.

Campbell doesn't write like Neil Gaiman. He has none of Gaiman's humor or light-heartedness. Instead, his writing is thickly dark, with his own brand of situational humor to help lighten the mood.

Scar Night was difficult for me to get into at first, bec
Sep 01, 2015 Susana789 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vďaka výbornému českému prekladu veľmi čitateľné, nie je to konvenčná love story ani heroická rozprávka pre deti, zaujímavé postavy, akčný dej. Veľmi sľubné.
Jun 19, 2011 Katy rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
CScott Morris
Aug 31, 2010 CScott Morris rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Steampunk, Horror, Dark Fantasy
lan Campbell is a designer and programmer for Grand Theft Auto, not exactly the type of person you would expect to write a Dark Fantasy/Steampunk novel like this.

But man, this guy is multi-talented.

Scar Night takes place in a wonderfully dark world, where blood is the currency of both heaven, and hell. Long ago, God closed the gates of hell, in a fit of anger at the evilness of mankind. Her sons rose up with an army of angels, but lost, and were cast down to earth and imprisoned. On such son was
In a city suspended over the void by chains of steel, angels hunt in the night…

The decaying city of Deepgate hangs suspended over the abyss by a mass of chains. It is ruled by a theocracy supported by the mythology of a god who will eventually return with a host of dead souls to kill his brother and save the world. The reality is somewhat darker, and this gritty fantasy is as blood-soaked as it is compelling.

The story starts as a dark mystery, attempting to find a soul thief in the city who murd
I've read this book twice. Unlike a couple of other reviewers, I found enough to interest me that I bought the rest of the series.

Scar Night has a lot of possibility. Campbell has built an intriguing, steampunk-ish, 'is it F or SF?' world around the city of Deepgate, suspended above a truly deep and dark abyss. He's put interesting people in the world, and the story itself was strong enough to leave me wanting answers to some of the mysteries.

Unfortunately, Campbell also skimps on some of the s
Jul 18, 2008 Dhuaine rated it liked it
Recommends it for: readers tired of cliches
Shelves: fantasy, dark-fantasy
City of Deepgate, suspended above bottomless chasm by huge chains, provides shelter for pilgrims of all sort and is the capital of religious power - the Church of Ulcis. Existence is hard and painful, especially with devilish Scar Night looming over the city every month - and now even more so, with new, unexpected threat rivaling even the demons.
The setting is gritty and dark, and even though the world looks like traditional fantasy with its lone city surrounded by hordes of barbarians (other ci
May 20, 2009 Ricky rated it really liked it
I thought this was a pretty great book. Right from the start it hooks you and does a good job of not letting go. We're introduced to some pretty entertaining characters that do a great job of breaking away from the usual stereotypes without feeling completely unfamiliar.

Dill is an angel just coming of age, the last in a long line of temple defenders or Archons. He's portrayed as hesitant and conflicted, without degenerating into the whiny crybaby syndrome that seems to plague most "conflicted"
Jun 19, 2009 Ty-real rated it liked it
Two immediate comparison come to mind when talking of this book: the setting is a blend of Dickensian and Gormenghast. The latter's influence can also be seen in the characters, most obviously the naming of them, although the eccentricity many act with do seem to be of the Gormenghast mould.

The book, on the whole, is uneven though. The plot feels a bit messy, and could use more focus. Good, albeit with a bit of an unpolished feel, writing overall-very nice imagery especially. The fast pace made
Feb 20, 2009 Morgan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: to any one who likes dark fantasy / steam punk
Shelves: fantasy, steam-punk

The city of deepgate hangs suspended over a deep chasm by 99 chains . Legend says that at the bottom of this chasm lies the sleeping god ulcis, gathering a army of souls to take back the heaven that he and his followers were cast out of. Though not is all that it seems with this sleeping god. Three fates will intersect during the dreaded scar night to reveal the true nature and plans of the sleeping god ulcis.


This is a great start to a new fantasy serie
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Okay. I'm not saying this to insult video game designers and developers. But this is not at all the sort of novel that you'd expect someone who worked on Grand Theft Auto to write. It's varyingly dark and whimsical, and doesn't take itself too seriously. I had a serious case of "Whoa, this is someone's first novel?" If you like the fantasy genre at all, you should give this a read. Caveat: one theme of this book is how people's ideas about religion can be ugly, and how they can do ugly things in ...more
Aug 01, 2010 Teemu rated it it was ok
Alku lupaa, pari kohtausta lunastaa, mutta kokonaisuus on tylsä kun mikä. Päähahmo on söpöstelevä pökkelö, tylsä murrosikäinen poju, eli klassinen "samaistumishahmo", josta todellisuudessa kukaan ei voi innostua, eikä ainoa mielenkiintoinen sivuhahmo (sopivan bitch vampyyrienkeli) saa läheskään tarpeeksi huomiota. Konsepti on sinänsä jees: tapahtumapaikkana on taivaasta pudonneiden ja rotkoon vajonneiden "enkelien" palvojien rakentama ränsistynyt kaupunki, joka roikkuu valtavien ketjujen päällä ...more
Dec 27, 2012 Alice rated it really liked it
Shelves: steampunk
This is a good introductory novel for the fantasy/sci-fi sub genre, Steampunk. It's a Victorian setting with technology based on steam power and Babbage's Difference Engine . The gadgets are often Rube Goldbergian as a result. The transport is often zeppelins or balloons. It's no surprise that Jules Verne is a patron saint of sorts for this literary category.

The debut novel by Alan Campbell not only has echoes of Verne, but Mary Shelly with the darkest of Dickens thrown in for good measure. The
Jan 25, 2015 Hanzel rated it liked it
The first ummmmm what 200+ pages was sooooooo slow, here the author starts to introduce his characters (Dill the last of the battle archons, this world's version of an angel, Rachel Hael, spine with a heart, the author's version of an assassin, Carnival a bad angel, and my favorite of the lot Devon the villain, I am not sure if he is the main villain but this is just the first book.
Ok, the story Iril the despot goddess of this realm, was challenged by her son Ulcis, although Ulcis won, he was st
Mar 02, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
To quote the blurb: "Suspended by chains over a seemingly bottomless abyss, the ancient city of Deepgate is home to a young angel, an assassin, and a psychotic murderer hungry for revenge—or redemption. But soon a shocking betrayal will unite all three in a desperate quest...."

There is so much more to this book. I felt that it had a great premise and intriguing characters. I thought it was tightly plotted and I was never bored while reading it.

I won't say that IT WAS THE BEST BOOK EVAR!!!1!!! o
Nov 16, 2010 Nathaniel rated it liked it
Dill & Carnivale were interesting binary characters and some of the action was quite exciting. But ultimately this book felt needlessly convoluted and purple in its attempts at apocalyptic gloom. Sometimes when you have a strong central conceit and visual "sticky" images for the reader, you should pare down. Didn't totally admire the effort (on account of how effortful it was) but it has strong moments.
May 14, 2008 J. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Significantly better than I thought it would be. A combination of imagistic and epic fantasy that reads a bit like a cross between China Mieville and Neil Gaiman. Not quite as good as either at their best, but then again, this *is* a debut. Had a few scenes which made me simply vibrate with glee at their coolness. Generally well-written and absolutely worth reading for someone interested in new, current fantasy fiction.
Wow, what a debut! Excellent book....great atmospherics, characters, weird city-scapes with roughed-up angels and Victorian gaslights illuminating plankways & narrow cobbled streets leading to upside down citadels and topsy-turvey houses. LOVED it - great Steampunk yumminess!

Hope Campbell writes another series as great as this one - utterly capitvated me.
Nov 25, 2008 Sharon rated it it was ok
Shelves: weird-fiction
Interesting setting and characters with a lot of potential, but it ultimately fell flat in terms of plot and writing. I had to make myself finish it. Campbell has some good ideas, but he's just not a great writer. I don't think I'll be reading the sequel.
Christy Stewart
The visuals in this book are like porn to me.

I think this series may convert me into an otakukin.
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The Geek Society ...: Scar Night Discussion 2 4 Oct 04, 2015 11:08PM  
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I was born in Falkirk, Scotland, and grew up there, before moving on to to study Computer Science at Edinburgh University. After graduating, I worked for DMA Design, Visual Sciences and Rockstar, developing video games: Body Harvest for the Nintendo 64, Formula One 2000 for the Playstation, and the Grand Theft Auto series on the PC and PS2. After we'd finished Vice City, I left to pursue a career ...more
More about Alan Campbell...

Other Books in the Series

Deepgate Codex (3 books)
  • Iron Angel (Deepgate Codex, #2)
  • God of Clocks (Deepgate Codex, #3)

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