They say you should never act alongside children or pets â€“ and to this one might add â€“ Edinburgh. The romance and history embodied in the Athens of the North makes the City as strong a rival character Â as any of your heroes and heroines. Yet Roy Gill is the latest in a line of authors to set his story here.
The Daemon Parallel was shortlisted for a Kelpies prize last year and fortunately for us all, despite not taking the top spot, Floris have decided to publish it. It is probably the best written book by a new author that I’ve read in a while. But then Roy Gill is not exactly new to writing. Born in Edinburgh, he studied and English and Film and has a PhD from Stirling University on the topic of media fandom. He has taught English and Film at Stirling and Strathclyde, and has published articles, reviews and short fiction in books and journals such as Critical Quarterly, Creeping Flesh and Fractured West.
But this is his first novel and it targets the 10-12 year old market, I bet, very successfully.Â Cameron is a recently bereaved teenager who is taken in by his grandmother Ives, a lady who can reveal many dark secrets. She tells him how the human and daemon worlds Â operate in parallel but are Â joined in some special places, like, wait for it, Edinburgh, and how some people, like Cameron’s family, are able to transfer between the two.
Cameron’s father rejected his gift but while grieving for his father, Cameron is vulnerable: he is tempted to explore the Daemon Parallel, theÂ dark, unknown side of Edinburgh where he may find some answers about his father’s death, and possibly even bring him back .
Guided by his grandmother, Cameron is sent on dangerous trade missions where he meets other ‘beings” who can transfer between the worlds. As if daemons weren’t enough he also has to deal with a friendly (yes) werewolf and work out how not to alienate his best Â friend Amy, without telling her exactly what is going on.
Cameron is a likeable hero. His mother left so long ago he can’t remember her and now he’s lost his father, so he’s entitled to a few points on the sympathy scale. He’s into music so he’s a cool dude. But he also possesses both physical and moral courage and he needs both as he tries to make sense of the mystery surrounding his father’s life and death. Con artists abound. He has a lot to learn about the potential of Edinburgh parallel and he has to work out how he is going to recognise and choose between Good and Evil and how, if at all, he is going to use his newly discovered skill.
Roy Gill has teenage banter to a T (or is that a B?) and the book is a highly entertaining read. Please let there be more from Roy Gill, whether underground, overground or parallel.