A series of {{steampunk}}-{{fantasy}} novels by Alan Campbell, previously a member of the team who created the ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' games.

Taking place in a particularly CrapsackWorld, the series begins in the peculiar city of Deepgate, a town built on a series of chains that span a vast abyss. Over three thousand years ago, the goddess who reigns over Heaven sealed it against humankind, damning all souls to Hell. Seven of her sons rebelled against her, and after a long war, they were cast out of Heaven as well. The oldest of those gods, Ulcis, is said to reside in the abyss below Deepgate; its church worships him, and the dead of Deepgate are sent down to him to give him an army for his second rebellion. After all, if your choice is to be the minion of a fallen god or to go to Hell, the former probably sounds like a much better idea.

Of course, not everyone is particularly supportive of this idea. The Heshette, desert tribes who live outside of Deepgate, still worship the goddess and consider the people of the city to be the worst of heretics; the tribes and the city have been warring off and on for the past several centuries. Deepgate has been able to stay independent because of the power of the Spine--emotionless assassins specializing in poison--and Ulcis' archons, battle angels who have lived in the city since its creation.

At the outset of the series, though, the archons have been dwindling in number, and Deepgate has come to rely on airship technology for their wars instead. Only two angels remain: One is sixteen-year-old [[UnluckyEverydude Dill]], who has lived a cloistered life in Deepgate's church, forbidden even from learning how to fly. He's pretty frustrated with the times having shunted him aside, and would love his own chance for adventure. His wish is granted when the church higher-ups assign [[DefrostingIceQueen Rachel]], a scapegoat Spine, to teach him about combat--just when strange happenings have started to occur across the city.

Oh, and have we mentioned yet that the only other angel is an AxCrazy serial murderer who's been the scourge of Deepgate for the past three thousand years?

The ''Deepgate Codex'' series has four installments upon its conclusion this year: the three main books ''Scar Night'', ''Iron Angel'', and ''God of Clocks'', as well as the novella ''Lye Street'', which explores a bit of Carnival's past and introduces the Greene family. Interviews with the author can be found [[http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780553384161&view=auqa here]] and [[http://fantasybookcritic.blogspot.com/2008/04/interview-with-alan-campbell.html here]].
----
!!The Deepgate Codex utilizes these tropes:
* AbusiveParents: [[spoiler:Rachel]]'s dad neglected her, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not. Poor [[spoiler:Carnival]] got ''holy shit'' levels of abuse from her father.
* AffablyEvil: Devon, until he goes and [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope jumps off the slippery slope]].
* AloofAlly: Carnival. Or, well, she tries really hard with the "aloof", but we know better. [[spoiler:She doesn't even bother trying with [[{{Sidekick}} Maybe John]].]]
* AloofBigBrother: Mark Hael.
* AlternateUniverse: The [[spoiler:time schisms]] are responsible for several of these. We see glimpses of a few of them. [[spoiler:The main timeline of the series seems to be the canon one, but there are several other happy worlds that will probably last as AlternateContinuity fragments.
* AndIMustScream: The Soft Men. Eurgh.
* {{Animesque}}: It's near impossible for anyone familiar with anime or video game tropes not to imagine how easily these novels could be adapted to either format.
* AnyoneCanDie: Up to and including godly figures. [[spoiler:To the relief of the readers, though, all seven of the TrueCompanions made it through the series alive.]]
* AppropriatedAppellation: Ulcis called Carnival a "carnival freak" when she was younger. She took the name and ran with it, [[spoiler: refusing to be called by her real name, Rebecca]].
* ArchnemesisDad: [[spoiler:Ulcis]] to Carnival.
* AttackAttackAttack: Carnival. It's why we love her.
* AuthorAppeal: Campbell really, ''really'' likes plucky characters who don't know when to quit. It's a tiny bit obvious to his fanbase.
* AxCrazy: Carnival and Mr. Nettle.
* BadassNormal: Rachel.
* BadEnd: We're allowed to see one.
* BeautifulAllAlong: Dill and Rachel make a habit of noticing [[spoiler:Carnival]]'s inner and outer beauty at seemingly random times throughout ''Scar Night''.
* BerserkButton: Carnival once hunted a man's descendants ''for [[DisproportionateRetribution five hundred years]]'' [[spoiler:because he raped a girl; she was DrivenToSuicide, and Carnival found her body (and diary)]]. This is a bit excessive [[HairTriggerTemper even for her]]... [[spoiler:but then again, [[RapeAsBackstory it probably hit a nerve]]]].
* BerserkerTears: Carnival, in the tower fight at the end of ''Lye Street''/beginning of ''Scar Night''.
* BloodMagic: [[spoiler:Angelwine]] is made from the blood of 13 people. (Blood is commonly referred to as 'soul' in the book; bodies drained of blood do not get to join Ulcis's army. This is what drives the B plot in ''Scar Night''.) An injection of it is sufficient to bring [[spoiler:Dill]] ''back to life''. Though granted it does seem to work a bit differently for angels and humans. Humans it makes functionally immortal. [[spoiler:Poor Carnival]] needs it, but has to get her fix by draining someone's blood once a month. Her body is covered in scars [[spoiler:gouged into her body as repentance after each kill.]]
* BodyHorror: [[spoiler:Alice.]]
* BoisterousBruiser: John Anchor. Also Hasp, to some degree.
* BreakTheCutie: ''Everyone''--but especially poor, ''poor'' Dill.
* BreakingSpeech: [[spoiler:Ulcis gives Carnival a very ugly one towards the end of ''Scar Night'', vicious enough to reduce her to tears and put her in a HeroicBSOD. Her ShutUpHannibal, while somewhat delayed, is made all the sweeter because of it.]]
* BullyingADragon: Carnival just can't catch a break. Granted, the people of Deepgate have a reason to hate her, but they go out of their way to blame every little thing on her and exaggerate the bad things she ''actually'' does.
* ChainedHeat: Towards the end of ''Scar Night'', Rachel and Carnival are chained together by the ankle. Half of the time, the vitriolic situation gives CharacterDevelopment to them both and their relationship. The other half, this leads to BackToBackBadasses. But whenever their priorities diverge, things get a little messy.
* TheChessmaster: Sabor and Mina.
* ClusterFBomb: Most of the cast, although Carnival is particularly notorious for it.
* CommonEyeColors: At first appearing to subvert characters' natures, but actually hinting at hidden traits--[[GreenEyes Rachel]] is jaded and world-weary but shows a whimsical side when affectionately teasing Dill, and [[BrownEyes Mina]] is a flighty schemer but also very dependable, for instance.
* CompletelyDifferentTitle: the Italian editions of the three books are title "Il Raccoglitore d'Anime" ("The Harvester of Souls"), "Il Dio delle Nebbie" ("The God of Mists") and "Il Dio delle Anime" ("The God of Souls"); and while the first two ones are at least somewhat related to their plots, the last one... is not.
* CoolBigSis: Rachel, once she takes a liking to Dill.
* CrapsackWorld / WorldHalfEmpty: And ''how.'' GodIsEvil and the in-world equivalent of Satan is trying to destroy all life so he can bend it to his will? Yep.
* CreepyChild: Ilsa.
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: John Anchor. It's a bit obvious he's dangerous as he's a big hulking brute hauling an ''airship'' around, but just how dangerous he is comes as a bit of a shock.
* CryCute: [[spoiler:Carnival]]. If it doesn't make your heart hurt, you probably don't have one.
* CurbStompBattle: Carnival versus John Anchor. Especially notable in that it was Carnival's only appearance in the second book.
* DeadToBeginWith: Alice.
* DealWithTheDevil: In ''Lye Street'', Sal Greene makes one to try to escape Carnival's vengeance on his family. [[spoiler:After realizing just how demonic Basilis really is, Sal decides to go back on said deal. CrowningMomentOfAwesome ensues.]]
** Alice Harper, and need we mention just about every one of the Mesmerists?
* DeathByChildbirth: The mothers of all angels, since it seems that [[spoiler:they pass their souls to their children then--angels do not have their own souls]].
* DefrostingIceQueen: Rachel.
* DiscOneFinalBoss: [[spoiler:Ayen and Menoa, in the final trip through time]].
* {{Determinator}}: Mr. Nettle.
* DisproportionateRetribution: ''Lye Street.''
* DrowningMySorrows: Hasp kind of... crawls into a beer bottle early into ''God of Clocks'' and doesn't really come out. We still love him, though.
** He ''does'' eventually [[HesBack get better]], happily.
* [[spoiler:EarnYourHappyEnding]]: Oh yeah.
* EmpathicWeapon: The Shiftblades, particularly poor Maybe John. [[spoiler:But hey, he gets a run as ''Carnival's {{Sidekick}}''--if that ain't compensation, we don't know what is!]]
* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas: [[spoiler:Menoa]].
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: As you may guess, ''Anchor'' is not actually John's last name.
* EvilUncle: Carnival has ''four''.
* ExtremeDoormat: Cospinol, from what we've seen of him.
* FireForgedFriends: Rachel and Carnival.
* FutureMeScaresMe: [[spoiler:Rachel]], when time paradoxes trip over each other.
* GentleGiant: Subverted with John Anchor.
* [[spoiler: GodIsEvil]]: Ulcis.
* GoodOldFisticuffs: Since losing her knife in ''Lye Street'', Carnival alternately relies on this and some [[ImprobableWeaponUser strange makeshift weapons]] to fight. ''It works.''
* GoodScarsEvilScars: Carnival is covered in scars; they're eventually revealed to be [[spoiler:from self-injury due to remorse]], with one notable exception.
* GrandTheftMe: [[spoiler:Sillister Trench does this to Dill at the beginning of ''Iron Angel''.]]
* HairTriggerTemper: Carnival's temper is ''legendary.''
* HeroicBastard: [[spoiler:Carnival]], who was the product of her mother's rape.
* HeroicBSOD: Dill starts off ''Iron Angel'' in a state of deep trauma. [[spoiler:Well, he did just get yanked out of Hell...]]
** [[spoiler:Carnival]] winds up in a rather nasty one towards the end of ''Scar Night''. Thank God for [[ThePowerOfFriendship Rachel]].
* HugeGuyTinyGirl: Rachel is a little on the short side, and Carnival is only about average height, which makes them seem ''very'' small next to the giant bruisers of the cast (Mr. Nettle, John Anchor, Hasp)--even Dill, who's just plain lanky, is almost a foot taller than Rachel.
* HumongousMecha: Arconites.
* [[IHaveYourWife I Have Your Husband]]: How [[spoiler:Menoa blackmails Alice into serving him]] in ''Iron Angel.''
* {{Immortality}}:
** CompleteImmortality: The gods.
** FromASingleCell: Carnival.
* IWasJustPassingThrough: No you weren't, Carnival.
* ImprobableWeaponUser: Carnival and her goddamn '''gardening fork''', natch.
* JadeColoredGlasses: Rachel.
* JerkassFacade: Carnival tries to keep this up after ''Scar Night''... but no one is really fooled for long, if at all.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Carnival. Rachel also fits the trope at first.
* TheJuggernaut: Carnival and John Anchor both qualify (and Anchor is even a traditional example). If you plan to fight one of them, you'll need a highly trained, massive army--or another [[TheJuggernaut juggernaut]].
* KaleidoscopeEyes: Dill (and all angels). Carnival's eyes supposedly do this, but so far in the books, they've only ever been black (killing rage), dark gray, and now [[spoiler:blue]] in ''God of Clocks''.
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler:Menoa]]
* KickTheDog: Ruby in ''Lye Street.''
* KnifeNut: Carnival, at least in ''Lye Street''...
* LaserGuidedAmnesia: Carnival. And it's ''progressive'' amnesia, too. [[spoiler:At the end of the first book, it's implied that Ulcis was the one who prevented her from fully remembering her childhood (and much of anything else traumatic).]]
* LetsGetDangerous: Most often John Anchor, but sometimes Mina too.
* LongBusTrip: [[spoiler:Mr. Nettle]], who is never seen again after the end of ''Scar Night'' though he survived it.
* LongLostRelative: [[spoiler:John Anchor and the slave boy Maybe John]].
* LoveMakesYouCrazy: Devon and Mr. Nettle
* LukeIAmYourFather: [[spoiler:Ulcis is the father of Carnival]].
* MagicAIsMagicA: Thaumaturgy.
* MasterOfYourDomain: The Spine Assassins have this skill.
* MeaningfulName: Carnival. [[spoiler:And it's more like a meaningful ''nickname''.]]
** John ''[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Anchor]]''.
* MindScrew: ''Iron Angel'' takes more than one read-through to understand properly. Although this is partly to blame on the way Campbell sucker-punches his readers a third of the way through...
** ''God of Clocks'' is just as bad, if not worse, because of the time schism aspects. This is [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] thoroughly by Rachel.
* NeverMessWithGranny: [[spoiler:Ayen]].
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: We're looking at ''YOU,'' Rys.
** There's also [[spoiler:Carnival, who kills Ulcis and leaves a portal to Hell completely unguarded, thus dooming Deepgate and the entire continent it's on to the attentions of the Mesmerist armies]].
* NonActionGuy: Dill, until he receives some shiny [[TookALevelInBadass levels in Badass]] halfway through ''Iron Angel''. The poor thing still tries, though.
* NotAMorningPerson: In a macabre variant, right after Carnival refreshes her life by draining someone's blood, she can usually be found staggering around in a daze, not really comprehending what's going on around her and unable to remember very much. She's ''very'' much Not A Rebirth Person.
* TheObiWan: Hasp.
* [[OneManArmy One Girl Army]]: Carnival again.
* OurAngelsAreDifferent: Are they ever. [[spoiler:They don't even have ''souls of their own.'']]
* OurSoulsAreDifferent
* PapaWolf: Mr. Nettle, who is... amiable enough until you mess with his daughter. Big, big mistake, [[spoiler:Devon]].
** Also Sal Greene in ''Lye Street.''
* PersonOfMassDestruction: Carnival, so goddamn much--just look at her other tropes on this page!
** She frightened off [[spoiler:a river! That was essentially a young god. That had no true physical form and for all intents and purposes could not be killed or even harmed.]].
** John Anchor has this as his RunningGag, either due to his [[TheJuggernaut Juggernaut]] nature or because [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin He's lugging around a god's skyship via rope.]]
* PluckyComicRelief: The Soft Men.
* PluckyGirl: Mina and Carnival.
* PrecisionFStrike: Inverted with Carnival, who swears so much that any sentence that isn't punctuated with curses tends to grab the attention of anyone nearby.
** Dill plays it straight hilariously in the beginning of ''Scar Night'', though:
--->"Balls on a skillet!"
* {{Protectorate}}: If you value your life, you ''do not'' threaten Carnival's TrueCompanions.
* PunchPunchPunchUhOh: Any situation where anyone fights John Anchor in ''Iron Angel''.
* RapeAsBackstory: [[spoiler:Carnival, who was routinely gang-raped by her father's men as a young girl.]]
* RealityWarper: Menoa.
* ReallySevenHundredYearsOld: Carnival is slightly less than 3000 years old. [[spoiler:Mina]] is a bit younger than 2000.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Really, [[spoiler:Carnival had been in that pot of boiling water for ''how'' long? And ''how'' many bones did she have to re-break as soon as she got out?]] Clearly somebody had to pay.
* SanitySlippage: Carnival, in ''Lye Street''. Also, Devon and Mr. Nettle in the first book.
* SheCleansUpNicely: Played with in ''Lye Street''. Ruby does it out of cruelty, but it leads to the CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming between Sal and Carnival near the end.
* [[HesBack She's Back]]: Oh, Carnival, ''we love you.''
* SerialKiller: Carnival and Devon both.
* StableTimeLoop: Stable, unstable and not-so-stable.
* SugarAndIcePersonality: Rachel.
* SuperSpeed: Focusing combines this with BulletTime.
* TeamMom: Alice, sort of.
* TeamPet: Basilis. (Don't call him that to his face, though.)
* TechnoBabble: ''God of Clocks'' has some of it when trying to explain the time travel.
* ThatManIsDead: ''"My name is '''Carnival'''!"''
* TimeTravel: Dominates the plot of ''God of Clocks''.
* TimeyWimeyBall: Having the God of Clocks around can ''really'' mess time up.
* TomatoSurprise: [[spoiler:Carnival is no ordinary angel--she's a demi-god, which partially explains her insane strength.]]
* TooDumbToLive: The doctor who opens his door for a suspicious woman on Scar Night.
* TookALevelInBadass: Dill becomes much more powerful (and useful) in ''Iron Angel'' after being taught swordsmanship by [[TheObiWan Hasp]].
** [[ShaggyDogStory ... and then he proceeds to essentially ''die'' in his very next fight.]]
* TriangRelations: Rachel, Carnival, and Dill seem to be at point 8. [[spoiler:There's never an OfficialCouple, and all the ships have at least one big obstruction by the end of ''God of Clocks''.]]
* TrueCompanions: The main party is quite close-knit (albeit [[WithFriendsLikeThese dysfunctional as]] ''[[VitriolicBestBuds hell]]'' [[OddCouple before they click]]). The core of the TrueCompanions are considered to be Dill, Rachel, and Carnival; Mina, [[spoiler: Alice]], and Hasp were added in ''Iron Angel,'' and John Anchor made the list in ''God of Clocks''.
* {{Tsundere}}: Carnival, at the start of ''Iron Angel''.
* UnstoppableRage: Carnival is a fan of this. SerialEsalation kicks in[[spoiler:halfway through ''God of Clocks'', when she escapes Cospinol's pot]]--from that moment to the end of the book is one long CrowningMomentOfAwesome for her.
** And this from the woman the fans describe as pure, distilled CMOA on her own. ''It's just that glorious.''
* WithFriendsLikeThese
* TheWorfEffect: Suffered by [[spoiler:''Carnival'', of all people]] a third of the way through ''Iron Angel''.
** [[JustifiedTrope Justified]],however, because it's said straight in the prologue of ''Iron Angel'' that [[spoiler: Anchor]] has absorbed as many souls as those in the Labyrinth ( i.e. Hell). [[spoiler: Carnival]] has drunk many souls but not ''that'' many.
* WrenchWench: Alice.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: Most of the plot can be understood at face value, but a lot of important worldbuilding details are subtextual, especially [[spoiler:all angels having their mothers' souls]]. Of course, the main plot sometimes gets so convoluted that the ''characters themselves'' complain that they don't get what's going on anymore.
* VillainDecay: [[spoiler:Devon]] in ''God of Clocks''. Granted, he's making a return as a ''minor'' antagonist...
* YouAreNotAlone: Rachel combines this with slight GetAHoldOfYourselfMan (without the slap) in her attempt to [[spoiler:break Carnival out of her HeroicBSOD]] towards the end of ''Scar Night''. It's largely held to be her CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming, and it's shown in ''Iron Angel'' that [[spoiler:Carnival took this to heart]] in [[TearJerker an incredibly Tear Jerking manner]].
----