In The Gates
, readers received an introduction to the off-kilter world of Samuel Johnson and his dachshund, Boswell, who live in Biddlecombe, England. The Infernals
continues the story of Samuel, who is now 13, and going through the usual early teen angst of worshipping from afar the most popular girl in school. The only difference is that Samuel has a bit of an undeserved reputation as a troublemaker, when in reality he and Boswell managed to save the world from an invasion from Hell. That invasion was made possible by a little-noticed side effect from the Large Hadron Collider, which allowed the denizens from down below to get a toehold in real-time England. While the Great Malevolence, as his demons like to call him, sinks deeper and deeper into a funk, others fight for control in his absence, which allows Connolly to introduce an improbable supporting cast that includes two police officers, the driver of a Happy Whip ice-cream truck, four rude dwarfs and a host of demons and otherworldly creatures as Samuel and Boswell, once again, find themselves sucked into an adventure they'd rather not have. Connolly's hilarious and witty tale is replete with interesting scientific and social observations. It's a story that educates without pain and, much like fellow British author of the comically absurd, Tom Holt, Connolly finds humor in folklore, legend, fables and fairy tales.
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