The Plot : Shadow is a model prisoner, and just a few days from leaving jail. That 's when his wife dies, he learns she was having an affair with a friend of his, and a strange man, Mr Wednesday, offers him a job. At first Shadow refuses, but he ends up agreeing, mostly because he has nothing and no one to go back to anymore. Working for Mr Wednesday (who ends up being Odin, the Norse god), he is abducted by "the other side", the other side being new American gods, like Media or the Internet. His dead wife, who is more undead than dead, saves him. Shadow travels a lot, meets ancient gods who have all fallen on hard times : gods gather power when people believe in them and practice the rites. Understandably, they're a bit short on followers. In the end, Shadow saves the gods from a plot designed by Mr Wednesday and his accomplice Loki : they wanted the old and new gods to die in battle, so that they could gather power for themselves.
My thoughts : I really liked this novel, even if there were a few slow spots, and, in my opinion, Shadow is abducted one time too many. But the good parts far out-weight the not-so-good parts in this book : I loved the insight in all the ancient gods and how they came to America. Those stories were often horrifying and moving. And the gallery of characters was worth the read : the gods all have their little quirks, and I liked them all, even Mr Wednesday. Shadow, the main character, is also a strong point in this book. While I didn't identify with him, I wanted to know what would happen to him. He also shows great compassion : he dies for Mr Wednesday, and Gaiman draws parallels between him and the Christ, which made me smile in a novel full of pagan gods (Shadow dies bound to a tree, and with a wound in his side ; he also comes back from the dead, and the goddess who brings him back is Easter).
I'm really glad I read this book, it's in another category entirely than Stardust, and I look forward to reading another novel by Gaiman.