Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Do not recommend Hell’s Bells to bright, curious, pupils looking for a book that’s darkly comic and driven by the immense, non-magical creative possibilities of science and philosophy - unless they’ve already read the first Samuel Johnson adventure, The Gates, that is. Because although it’s perfectly possible to enjoy this sequel on its own, why have just jelly or custard, when there’s trifle on offer? Although his combination of surreal humour, humanist fantasy and copious footnotes means that comparisons with Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and Daniel Handler are both inevitable and justified, John Connelly is no pale imitation. Joyful slapstick and punnery punctuate passages of intense horror and beauty as the author holds a glass up to mankind and fearlessly explores the reflection in a voice that’s all his own.