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In around 2015, I was discussing fantasy fiction with a German friend, and we both shared memories - very similar, but not quite the same - of a novel set in a sort of hidden/underworld fantasy, with a pair of villains who were respectively vulpine and lupine. What I was recalling was Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, but he was adamant that he was recalling a German story with villains who were actually named Mr Fox and Mr Wolf. I'm not sure if this is going to be answerable, but was he thinking of the German translation of Neverwhere, or was there an original German story that was really so similar?

Subqueries that could help to answer this:

  • What are Mr Croup and Mr Vandemar called in the German translation of Neverwhere? Are their names left as, well, names, or are they called something like Herr Fuchs and Herr Wolf?
  • Did any German fantasy author (Cornelia Funke springs to mind) write a story that was very similar to Neverwhere, with a pair of vulpine and lupine villains?
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    From the German Neverwhere Wikipedia page: "Auftragsmördern, Mr. Croup und Mr. Vandemar, verfolgt."
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 19:41
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    And from the Google Books excerpt I could copy and paste: "er in trägem Plauderton, »sind Sie Mr. Croup, ein Sammler von Figuren aus der Tang-Dynastie.« »Woher wissen Sie das?« »Die Leute erzählen mir vieles, und ich habe immer ein offenes Ohr.« Das Lächeln des Marquis war rein, sorglos, ..."
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 19:44
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    The German version is called "Niemalsland", but the villains are still called Croup and Vandemar Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 19:44
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    I think that I have read everything by Funke, and I don't recall any lupine or vulpine villain pairs. But for searching, that pair makes me think of Isengrim and Reynard the Fox from the medieval French Reynard cycle (though they were enemies).
    – Adamant
    Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 20:59

1 Answer 1

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In the German translation of Neverwhere, Niemalsland, the two villains are not translated, so remain Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar. There is however a German book Lycidas by Christopher Marzi, that is heavily inspired by Neverwhere and does contain a Mr. Fox and Mr. Wolf. Lycidas plays in a similar underground London as Neverwhere, has a lot of similar scenes and characters, so the two books are easily mixed up.

In defence of the author I should add it is not a shameless copy of Neverwhere, but rather a pastiche of many ideas from many books. Reading Lycidas you're constantly thinking "I know that character! What was that book called again?".

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    Wow, indeed that's got to be it. Thank you for proving that my German friend isn't crazy :-P
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Apr 15, 2022 at 11:45

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