When Liz Drake’s best friend vanishes, nothing can stop her nightmares. Driven by the certainty he needs her help, she crosses a continent to search for him. She finds Blake comatose in a Vancouver hospital, victim of a mysterious accident that claimed his lover’s life – in her dreams he drowns.
Blake’s new circle of artists and mystics draws her in, but all of them are lying or keeping dangerous secrets. Soon nightmare creatures stalk the waking city, and Liz can’t fight a dream from the daylight world: to rescue Blake she must brave the darkest depths of the Dreamlands.
Even the attempt could kill her, or leave her mind trapped or broken. And if she succeeds, she must face the monstrous Yellow King, whose slave Blake is on the verge of becoming forever.
Downum (the Necromancer Chronicles) grounds this tale of friendship and love in a community of artists and magic users. When a ritual goes terribly wrong and leaves Vancouver artist Blake Enderly in a coma, his best friend, Liz Drake, and her stereotypically English boyfriend, Alex, travel to Vancouver to find out what happened to him. To save his life, Liz must navigate deadly magical peril in the waking world and undertake a quest in an equally dangerous dream world that leads her to Robert Chambers's Carcosa and its ruler, the Yellow King. Downum's narrative is packed to excess with artists and hangers-on, a dangerous drug with connections to the dream world, bloodthirsty maenads, and gun-toting cleanup artists specializing in supernatural mishaps. Readers eager for diverse characters will delight in the casually displayed variety of sexual and romantic orientations, including Liz's comfortable asexuality. The vividly evoked bohemian, magical Vancouver and the haunting dream lands are largely secondary to the bonds of love, romantic and otherwise, among the novel's likable, intensely beleaguered core characters.