Campbell’s sequel to Scar Night (2006) is a nightmare scenario wherein human souls represent power, blood nourishes the dead and fallen gods battle the King of Hell for control of creation.
Deepgate, the city suspended on chains above the abyss, is a smoking ruin. Self-styled King Menoa controls most of Hell, even though the angels of the First Citadel oppose him. Menoa’s shape-shifting Mesmerist armies need blood to survive in the upper world, so he’s manufacturing 12 invincible arconites out of iron, bone, the soul of an angel and a piece of the shattered god Iril. The gods, booted out of Heaven by their mother, Ayen, found the pearly gates sealed against them; to win their birthright back they must defeat Menoa and claim his souls. Former assassin Rachel Hael brought the young angel Dill back from the dead by giving him the potion known as angelwine, but soon a ghost from Hell displaces Dill’s consciousness; the new occupant of Dill’s body, an ancient battle-angel called Silister Trench, intends to warn the god Cospinol about Menoa’s arconites. Back in Hell, Dill, despite new friends Hasp the battle-angel and mysterious human thaumaturge Mina Greene, cannot evade Menoa, who transforms him into a 13th arconite. If Menoa wins the forthcoming battle, humanity will become extinct; if the gods win, enslavement is the best it can expect.
The untrammeled yarn-spinning trends toward hypercomplexity, yet the result is flavorsome, original and leavened with a fierce sense of humor.