The Demon Hammersmith

Hammersmith was human once, but that was a long time ago and he doesn’t like to talk about it.

In fact, he was the blacksmith to King Offa (yes, the one with the dyke) in the 8th century. A tangle with a princess and her jealous new husband put him out of favour, and brought him to the attentions of the Powers of Hell, who had been periodically adding to their ranks with promising humans by a kind of behavioural lottery. Hammersmith became a demon and – if you believe what he tells you, he never looked back.

He’s been getting into trouble with both humans and demons ever since. He embraces the turning wheel of time for all the new toys it gives him to play with, and is regarded with suspicion by the Powers, who feel instinctively that anyone as clever as Hammersmith should not enjoy himself quite so much.

In an effort to actively address this problem, in 1939 he was saddled with Guardian Demon duties to a suicidal human called Bailey, who Hell wanted to turn into a demon because of his potential. Bailey refused to let go of his temper – a pre-requisite for the conversion process – and has been trying to kill himself ever since, just to be awkward about the whole thing. Hammersmith has been stuck trying to make sure Bailey never succeeds for 80 years, which has certainly wiped the smile off his face.

When the email comes through from Belial to tell him he has to train an Original angel in the ways of the modern world, but keep it quiet, it’s one problem too many. Hammersmith, Bailey and Hark the angel are pursued by a pair of demons trying to disrupt Belial’s plans (if it comes as a surprise that Belial sent them, you really haven’t understood Hell at all), and end up back in time, chatting with Galileo, interrupting the Moon landing, heckling the Crucifixion, punching Dante in the face, tweaking Da Vinci’s helicopter designs and saying absolutely nothing whatever to Darwin. When Hark suddenly gets her Armageddon armour, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise to Hammersmith that the world is about to give him a kicking.

Somehow though, it still does.