Marius dos Hellespont and his apprentice, Gerd, are professional looters of battlefields. When they stumble upon the corpse of the King of Scorby and Gerd is killed, Marius is mistaken for the monarch by one of the dead soldiers, is transported down to the Kingdom of the Dead. The dead need a King--the King is God's representative, and someone needs to remind God where they are.
Marius is banished to the surface with one message: if he wants to recover his life he must find the dead a King. Which he fully intends to do. Just as soon as he stops running.
File Under: Fantasy [ Royal Prospect | Loot | Keep Running | Living Dead ]
"The line between the dead and the living is a very thin one in Battersby's original macabre debut. Marius Helles and his apprentice, Gerd, are looting bodies on a battlefield when they come upon the prize of a lifetime--the body of the King of Scorby. Marius steals his crown, but in short order Gerd is killed by soldiers, and Marius is dragged to the land of the dead by a talking corpse. It seems that the deceased are in need of a new monarch, and since Marius is holding the dead king's crown, they assume he must be the rightful ruler. Marius is desperate to relinquish the throne, but his lifeless subjects will release him only if he secures for them a new king. Unsure whether he's alive or dead, Marius sets out corpse-robbing and cardsharping his way across the land to secure a sovereign before it's too late. With an undead Gerd as his guide, Marius befriends the skeleton of a mad king, gets marooned on a tropical island, and terrifies old friends and enemies with his occasional…deadness. Wry, absurdist, and pleasantly cynical, Battersby's debut will appeal to fans of Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora and Terry Pratchett's Going Postal. (Aug.)" - Publishers Weekly Starred Review
“A stunning debut novel, well-crafted and grotesquely inventive. With its madcap story, unforgettable characters and fine balance between humour and pathos, The Corpse-Rat King ticks all the boxes. Fans of Joe Abercrombie will love this.”
- Juliet Marillier, award-winning author of the Sevenwaters series and Bridei’s Chronicles