BOOK REVIEW – NEIL GAIMAN – THE SANDMAN 9 – THE KINDLY ONES   DC / Titan Books.

 

Ninth book of the original Sandman Decalogue, though others have been added since the finale. Here, the consequences of some of the Dream maker’s actions reach their sad and terrifying conclusions. His foiling of a plot by the Norse God Loki, to gain charge of the Christian Hell, after he disappearance of Lucifer has led to Loki taking an extreme revenge. He has found a child Morpheus (The Sandman) had promised would one day be taken to Dream as his own, away from his mother. The boy, Daniel, seems to be thrown onto a fire, and the police find photographs of his charred remains. The distraught mother, Lyta Hall, vows vengeance, and calls on the Greek myth Furies to assist her, becoming a fury herself.

 

The Furies are unable to intervene directly, as they can only take vengeance in the case of family related blood feuds. Unfortunately, they learn of Morpheus indifference to the death of his own son, Orpheus, and that gives them a cue to seek him out. When Morpheus leaves Dream (his capital city, where dreams are kept) to fulfil a vow to another mortal woman, the Furies begin to kill his allies off, and a full-scale war erupts.  Morpheus can only end it by an act of supreme self-sacrifice, and calls on his sister, Death to take his life, but he is seen to resurrect himself in the child Daniel, now an inhabitant of dream.  Loki is recaptured by Odin and punished by having snake venom dripped into his eyes forever.

 

There are stories within stories here, including the illustrated prose tale of a man who’s children flew away in response to his brutal murder of their mother. It’s the most action packed, longest and climactic of the Sandman series, with the Touching conclusion The Wake to follow and round off the story with proof that dreams and dream makers can never truly perish.

 

 

© Copyright. Arthur Chappell  

 

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