Neil Gaiman

Photo from publisher's archives

Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book

In Krakow, on Wawel Hill, there are caves called the Dragon’s Den, named after a long dead
dragon. These are the caves that the tourists know about. There are caves beneath those caves
that the tourists do not know and do not ever get to visit. They go down a long way, and they are inhabited.
Silas went first, followed by the grey hugeness of Miss Lupescu, padding quietly on four feet just behind him. Behind them was Kandar, a bandage-wrapped Assyrian mummy with powerful eagle-wings and eyes like rubies, who was carrying a small pig. There had originally been four of them, but they had lost Haroun in a cave far above, when the Ifrit, as naturally overconfident as are all of its race, had stepped into a space bounded by three polished bronze mirrors and had been swallowed up in a blaze of bronze light. In moments the Ifrit could only be seen in the mirrors, and no longer in reality. In the mirrors his fiery eyes were wide open, and his mouth was moving as if he was shouting at them to leave and beware, and then he faded and was lost to them.
Silas, who had no problems with mirrors, had covered one of them with his coat, rendering the trap useless.
“So,” said Silas. “Now there are only three of us.”
“And a pig,” said Kandar.
“Why?” asked Miss Lupescu, with a wolf-tongue, through wolf teeth. “Why the pig?”
“It’s lucky,” said Kandar.
Miss Lupescu growled, unconvinced.
“Did Haroun have a pig?” asked Kandar, simply.
“Hush,” said Silas. “They are coming. From the sound of it, there are many of them.”
“Let them come,” whispered Kandar.
Miss Lupescu’s hackles were rising. She said nothing, but she was ready for them, and it was only by an effort of will that she did not throw back her head and howl.

Neil Gaiman

(born in 1960) regarded as one of the most famous living writers of fantasy and science-fiction, author of short fiction, novels, comic books, film scripts and even of a computer game script. His best known books include Stardust, Coraline and The Graveyard Book as well as the comic book series Sandman. He has won numerous awards, including the Bram Stoker Award and the Hugo Award.

Gaiman writes for adults and children. He has started to create books for younger readers, because — as he explains — he has wanted to show his own children what his lonely work is all about. He began his career as a journalist, and his first book was a biography of the band Duran Duran.

Born in Great Britain, he has now been living in the United States for many years. He often contacts his readers by means of blogs and social networking media (his Twitter profile, [@neilhimself], is followed by more than 2 million people).

In 2007, Neil Gaiman visited Krakow, a city — as he himself called it on his blog — „of trout and dragon”. People queued then for the writer’s signature alongside the Main Market Square. Gaiman mentions the Wawel Hill in The Graveyard Book, whereas the plot of one of his short stories, Feminine Endings, takes place on the Main Market Square. (mj)

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