Neverwhere is the companion novelization by Neil Gaiman of the television serial Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman and Lenny Henry. The plot and characters are exactly the same as in the series, with the exception that the novel form allowed Gaiman to expand and elaborate on certain elements of the story and restore changes made in the televised version from his original plans. Most notable is the appearance of the Floating Market at Harrods (in the novel) rather than on-board HMS Belfast (the tv series). This was changed due to the management of Harrods changing their mind about proposed filming. The novel was originally released by BBC Books in 1996, three episodes into the television series run. It was accompanied by a spoken word CD and cassette release, also by the BBC. The novel enjoyed great success, whereas its television roots did not receive as much international exposure as the novel. In addition to being translated into various languages, it was also re-published as an 'Author's Preferred Text' version, (a combination of the international and original English version, with additional scenes re-inserted by Gaiman) alongside American Gods in 2006. The original BBC Books version had a cover by long time Gaiman collaborator Dave McKean, taken from the birds head rings, flaming fist and London Underground styled graphics created by McKean for the series, as well as a brief section by Gaiman on the making of the series.
The morning after Richard rescued the girl, Door, from the streets, she is greatly recovered, and sends him to find the Marquis de Carabas, a man who will be able to help Door escape two infamous and seemingly inhuman assassins, the Messrs. Croup and Vandemar. Richard brings the Marquis back to his apartment to meet Door, only to see both of them vanish immediately. Soon after, Richard begins to realize the consequences of his actions. He appears to have become invisible; he loses his job, where no one seems to recognize him, and his apartment is rented out to other people.
Determined to set things right, Richard sets out for the world of London Below in search of Door. Richard’s journey takes him to the realm of the Rat-Speakers, who worship and perform tasks for rats, across the mysterious Night's Bridge, whose darkness kills one of Richard’s Rat-Speaker friends, Anesthesia, and eventually to the Floating Market, where he meets again with Door, who is holding an audition for bodyguards. Going to the floating market, a giant bazaar where people barter for all manners of junk and magical items, Richard realizes that London Below is not such a bad place.
The legendary bodyguard and fighter "Hunter" joins their party, and the group, consisting of Door, the Marquis and Hunter, with Richard tagging along, sets out for the Earl's Court. Door and the Marquis have traveled to Door's home, and discovered a diary entry made by Door's father, which advises her to seek the angel Islington. When the four reach the Earl's Court, on a mysterious underground train which follows its own bizarre schedule, the Marquis is forced to leave due to an old grudge between himself and the Earl, and the rest discover that they need to travel through the Angelus in order to reach Islington, and that the Angelus resides in the British Museum.
Door and Richard travel to the Museum, while Hunter, due to a curse which prevents her from entering London Above, remains in the abandoned British Museum underground station. After some searching they find the Angelus, which Door "opens" using her family's Talent, and travel through it to the underground home of the angel. Islington explains that his position as protector of London Below is a punishment for the submersion of Atlantis, which was also under his care, and tells Door that he will help her learn the identity of those who killed her family for a price. She and her company must retrieve a unique key from the Black Friars, before they return.
The two return to the Museum, reunite with Hunter, and make their way to the Floating Market, where they are due to meet the Marquis. In the meantime, the Marquis has sought out Croup and Vandemar, and has made a deal with the two in exchange for a priceless Tang dynasty figurine; the Marquis is given information regarding who ordered the murder of Door's family. The true price for this information, however, is his life; Croup and Vandemar catch, torture, and kill him, breaking the one-hour "head start" agreement that was part of their deal with the Marquis.
Door, Richard, and Hunter proceed onward to the dwelling of the Black Friars. There, they are forced to defeat a series of three ordeals; Hunter wins a test of strength, Door wins a test of intellect, and Richard, alone in history, wins a test of character, and as a result, the three succeed in gaining the key. Richard’s ordeal greatly changes him, as I explain in the second to last paragraph. They then travel to the floating market, where they are unable to find the Marquis, but where Hammersmith, a blacksmith friend of Door's is able to forge a copy of the key won by Richard. Richard enlists the mysterious Lamia, one of the vampire-like Velvets as a guide, which causes him to lose most of his self-doubts, as he can now interact with other beings of London Below.
They travel on London Below’s Down Street, toward Islington. As Door, Richard, Lamia, and Hunter make their way down the long path of Down Street, a friend of the Marquis, named Old Bailey, finds and revives his corpse, using a stored portion of the Marquis's life, and the Marquis sets out himself, following Door and company. On Down Street, it is discovered that Lamia was a dangerous choice for a guide, because the price she demands of Richard for her services is higher than he can pay and yet live, but she is driven away by the weakened, crossbow-wielding Marquis.
It is also discover that Hunter long ago turned traitor to Door’s cause, when she gives Door to Croup and Vandemar, in exchange for the magical spear she needs to hunt and slay the great Beast of London. Croup and Vandemar, with Door captive, travel downward, while Richard, the Marquis, and Hunter travel at a slower pace, all toward the great labyrinth through which they need to pass to reach Islington. It is in this labyrinth that the Beast dwells, and Hunter and Richard manage to kill it and pass through the maze, although the Beast kills Hunter. Richard rushes ahead, to the final confrontation between the parties, in which we learn of Islington’s true nature. Islington wishes to use Door and the key to force open the door to Heaven, where he seeks dominion over all the other angels as revenge for his banishment. After Richard is tortured by Croup and Vandemar, Door agrees to open the door, but she uses the copy of the key Richard won to open it, and it does not open it to Heaven, but instead to somewhere else, as far away as she could imagine. Islington, Croup and Vandemar are all sucked through the gateway before Door closes it. Door then uses the Black Friars' real key to allow Richard to travel back to London Above, where he is known and recognized.
After returning home, Richard is happy for a time, but he realizes that his experiences have changed him, and that his old life and friends mean little or nothing to him now. He realizes that now that he knows that there is more to life than work, family, and friends, he is not satisfied with the regular world. The story ends with his joyful return to London Below.
A nine-issue comic book limited series began in June 2005, written by Mike Carey (of the Vertigo Comics series Lucifer), with art by Glenn Fabry. The comic is an adaptation inspired by the novel, rather than the original TV series, though apart from certain scenes in certain locations, the dialogue and plot of both novel and television series is identical.