Meet new reviewer – Phil Andorra, International Man of mystery. Aged 45 Career – Worked at NASA (a burger van next to the information centre just outside the main gate). Hobbies – charity work mostly saving fallen women. Interests – space flight, heraldry and hypnosis. Musical interests – Mozart, Bach and the Village People.
The Corpse-Rat King
Author: Lee Battersby
Publisher: Angry Robot
Page count/Size: 416pp
Release date: 6th September 2012
Reviewer: Phil Andorra
The debut novel from Australian Lee Battersby opens with Marius don Hellespont, a professional battlefield looter, emerging into the aftermath of a medieval style battle ready to ply his trade. Marius is accompanied by his hapless apprentice Gerd, who is soon sacrificed by Marius to save his own skin when the pair are spotted by soldiers robbing the slain. Poor Gerd, who is beginning to grow on the reader, is quickly dispatched, but this is not the end for him. In his attempt to hide, Marius has placed the crown of a dead king on his own head. Mistaken for their sovereign, he is dragged to the underworld. He quickly remonstrates with the ‘dead’ subjects, but they want their king. Marius is returned to the living, albeit in a decaying state, to find a replacement and once more teams up with the now dead Gerd.
There follows a quest to locate a suitable monarch for the underworld and we follow Marius meeting up with his low-life acquaintances on the way. His time spent in the city of Borgho is reminiscent of a Dickensian London and you expect Bill Sykes to walk around the corner at any time. Needless to say, our dead anti-hero overcomes trials and tribulations with a down to earth sense of humour and disdain for his situation, a cross between Crocodile Dundee and Danny De Vito.
Although I didn’t stay up all night to finish the book, the story line leaves the reader wondering what will happen next. There are some clichés, Marius needs money quickly so enters a card game, but the outcome is generally unexpected.
The book is worth a read and I look forward to the planned sequel.