This will be a short review for a short story!
How The Marquis Got His Coat Back, takes place after Neil Gaiman’s novel Neverwhere, where instead of telling it from the perspective of Richard the previous main character, this story is from the perspective of the Marquis de Carabas.
Who is in the midst of gathering his recently dead self and is on a quest to find his beloved coat in the aftermath of the resolved disaster from the previous book. Without his coat the Marquis doesn’t feel like the Marquis de Carabas anymore and finds that even his words lack the finesse they once had that could assist him in getting his way in almost every situation.
It was fun roaming around in the dark London Below again with a character who normally holds a lot of confidence and great abilities in escaping difficult scenarios. In Neverwhere the Marquis was really mysterious and hard to figure out at times from the view of Richard, so I really enjoyed reading about his emotions and thought processes.
Especially from the weakened and vulnerable state his life is in, where he is forced to rely on the unrequested assistance of his brother Peregrine. Peregrine is a new character for us to meet, and on first impressions he seems to be just as suave and cunning as the Marquis. Or as the Marquis’ inner dialogue describes as “…just a hair better-looking”. In this story we get to observe the Marquis appreciating the help of his brother who he never openly appreciated before the event of losing his coat. Instead we read beautiful moments where he admits in his inner dialogue that as a boy he had “…wanted to be elegant, elusive, brilliant and, above all things, he had wanted to be unique. Just like Peregrine.”
Gaiman’s sophisticated ability to lead readers through a mystery really shone throughout this short story. I really felt like I was on an adventure with the Marquis. I was shocked when he was shocked and I felt tricked when the Marquis was tricked into being a part of the shepherd’s imprisoned flock. The escape plan used at the end was really clever and linked nicely back to some Mushroom characters the Marquis encountered in the first section of his journey.
If you enjoyed the dark fantastical adventure Neverwhere was, you will enjoy diving back into London Below for the lost coat of the Marquis de Carabas.