Jem looked out over the Hundred-Towns - over the smoggy terraces, pitheads, manufactories, slaughterhouses, workhouses, shardrucks, the black swellings of other slag heaps. Over the furry points of streetlamp light. Over the ruddy patchwork of furnaces toiling to power countless engines, all night, all day, every night, every day. Over the thousands upon thousands of chimneys. Town after town, all grouted into one with grime. There was a story, an idea passed among folk, that the world was all slag, all spoil, compared with the last age. And that age spoil compared with the world before that. And so on. Each age mined of its wealth and beauty by the Powers. Each age poorer, shabbier, uglier. Jem tilted his head and stared into the sky. He tried to draw its black into himself, make it numb him, as it had earlier when he'd waited in the cemetery. But the memory of everything since then, what he'd seen and felt and done, refused to dull. Cold, confused, frightened, he struggled to understand In the Hundred, the working folk are kept in order by the masters who administrate the various mills, pits, and manufactories. Strict records are kept in town halls, every death certified despite a crushing mortality. However, the old grim certainties face a new threat with the arrival of the necromancers - dark-skinned pilgrims who, by the chant of a strange mantra, are able to raise the recently dead, thus throwing the immaculate records of the town halls into chaos. In retaliation, the masters appoint a number of rectifiers to each town. Reviled and feared by most of the Hundred, their job is to 're-decease' the 'discrepancies', as the risen are labelled. Jem Nadin is a rectifier. One night, he witnesses a resurrection in a cemetery. Caught up in a compulsion he cannot explain, he goes against orders and attempts there and then to catch the necromancer performing the chant. She escapes, and Jem is left in total confusion. Meanwhile, in another part of the Hundred, a soldier calling himself Hawbind returns to his native town. He is haunted by a ghost, a spirit of a comrade killed in battle, in a war being fought overseas. It is like a phantom wound, slowly killing him. The lives of rectifier, necromancer and soldier entwine in a series of nightmarish adventures, culminating in an encounter with the 'Necrocomb', a pocket of supernatural darkness underneath the deepest pit of the filthy conurbation, where the fate of every one of the Hundred-Towns is decided.
Used availability for Philip Emery's Necromantra
November 2015 : UK Paperback
January 2005 : UK Paperback
November 2015 : Canada, UK Kindle edition