Charged with gross incompetence, Satan is fired from his job as Prince of Hell and exiled to that most terrible of places: English suburbia. Forced to live as a human under the name of Jeremy Clovenhoof, the dark lord not only has to contend with the fact that no one recognises him or gives him the credit he deserves but also has to put up with the bookish wargamer next door and the voracious man-eater upstairs.
Heaven, Hell and the city of Birmingham collide in a story that features murder, heavy metal, cannibalism, armed robbers, devious old ladies, Satanists who live with their mums, gentlemen of limited stature, dead vicars, petty archangels, flamethrowers, sex dolls, a blood-soaked school assembly and way too much alcohol.
Clovenhoof was one of the books I got at the Birmingham Independent Book Fair (I also got the sequel, Pigeonwings, which I haven’t yet read). My boyfriend read it before me and compared it to Good Omens (which I haven’t read), a book he had enjoyed. He was excited to see where I was whilst reading it too.
It was a funny, and quite light read. It was interesting how the reader was made sympathetic to Satan, to even like him, and to dislike the angel Michael. It should really be the other way round, shouldn’t it?
I suppose in a way it shows how bureaucracy has good intentions, but sometimes you have to break the rules so that things will work, and some rules are more important than others. Or even that sometimes old rules loose their importance as things change. I guess what I’m trying to say is that there’s a bit of a serious message which you can read into Clovenhoof.
There’s also a bit of a message about there really being no absolute good or evil, because something meant for good can have bad consequences, and things meant for bad can have good consequences.
You don’t have to make it serious though, you can just read it as a funny story about the devil having to live on earth.
Plus it’s sent in Birmingham, it’s always nice when a story is set somewhere you know.
There’s a great twist at the end too.