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The Corpse-Rat King (Marius don Hellespont #1)

3.26  ·  Rating Details ·  470 Ratings  ·  127 Reviews
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 the ...more
ebook, 96 pages
Published August 28th 2012 by Angry Robot (first published January 1st 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,849)
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Dan Schwent
Sep 28, 2012 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: funny, 2012, angry-robot
When battlefield scavenger Marius mistakenly winds up in the Kingdom of the Dead, he's given a chance to win his life back. All he has to do is find them a king...

After a series of disappointing books, The Corpse-Rat King is just what I needed. Marius is from the
Cugel the Clever/Drake Douay/Rincewind school of loveable cowards and his quest had me smiling a great percentage of the time.

On the surface, the plot doesn't seem all that complicated, and it isn't. What makes the Corpse-Rat King such
Jun 24, 2013 Elspeth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
When I finished this story last night, I contemplated what to write about in my review. The only thing that my cold riddled brain could come up with was this story is like a hot Scottish man reading a grocery list.


That is something I could listen to for hours, I am sure I am not alone in this.

Reading this book is a treat. The words, people, the words are oh so pretty.
Each sentence is a dessert more decadent than the last.


This is where I found I was looking for the forest among all the trees. Th
Bob Milne
Jul 17, 2012 Bob Milne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-heroic
There is almost nothing better than looking forward to an upcoming release from a favourite author, getting a chance to give it an early read, and finding out that it not only lives up to all your expectations, but completely exceeds them. The satisfaction is almost immeasurable.

I say almost, because there is one thing that really is better - stumbling across an upcoming release from an author you've never read before, picking it up entirely on a whim, starting the read with absolutely nothing i
Apr 08, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Full Review:

Corpse Rat King by Lee Battersby is full of wonderfully macabre atmosphere and attitude. Marius don Hellespont makes his gory living by wading through battlefields, liberating the dead of their valuables (in other words, he is a corpse rat). Our story begins as Marius and his lackwit assistant Gerd are interrupted as they are making their latest collection.

One thing that I need to make clear about this book, is Battersby writing skills are top
Experiment BL626
This book bored me. It was off to a good start, exactly as how the blurb described, but then it got kinda confusing and then boring. By 1/3 of the book, I skimmed because the plot was going nowhere. By 1/2 of the book, I skimmed some more and faster with the goal to reach the end as fast possible while still getting the gist of the plot. That's how boring the book was.

When all the protagonist does is run and run futilely far away from his problems (in both the figurative and literal sense of the
Sep 30, 2012 N rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lee Battersby is a talented writer. I've never read anything else he's written, but an Angry Robot rep convinced me to try The Corpse-Rat King.

The book is an interesting mix, starting with the very cover. The image is really neat -- I'm consistently impressed with AR's packaging. The title, on the other hand, leaves something to be desired.

Likewise, the story itself has its ups and downs. Battersby's prose is engaging and entertaining. Though many jokes fall flat, several more connect in uproar
Jul 31, 2012 Melinda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, adventure
This book was outstanding! The author, Lee Battersby should be proud to have written such an amazing masterpiece of imagination, sarcasm and fantastic inventiveness. The tale kept my interest from start to fnish without a hitch. Battersby is an author to watch for great things to come. The narrator sets the tone for the novel, which is sarcastic - just like real life, or at least like the life of my friend and I. I enjoyed this book immensely. No matter what you thought was going to happen, you ...more
Mar 19, 2013 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Right, *this* is the book that you should compare to Scott Lynch.

Marius Helles is a thief, a liar, and currently hard up for cash. That's why he's picking over battlefield corpses for rings, gold teeth, and spare change, accompanied by his not-too-bright apprentice Gerd. Unfortunately, the remaining soldiers notice them. Ten minutes later, Gerd is disemboweled and Marius is... in the Land of the Dead.

Turns out the dead want something. They want a king. They send Marius back upstairs to beg, borr
Sep 08, 2012 Mihir rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Full Review originally at Fantasy Book Critic

ANALYSIS: The Corpse Rat King is Lee Battersby’s debut and one, which intrigued me strongly with its blurb. The story seems to be a curious mix of dark humor and even darker shade of fantasy. In the end its an odd book to describe but not hard to review thankfully.

The story begins with Marius don Hellespont who is a person of considerably shaky morals. Currently looting a field of corpses along with his apprentice Gerd, Marius is almost done with hi
Mary Robinette Kowal
The prose in this is really lovely. Lee has a good sense of character and dialogue.


But I stopped reading at about the halfway point, because the handling of the female characters was really upsetting.

A list of all the female characters in the novel by page 239
-2 prostitutes with hearts of gold, 1 of whom gets fridged in a flashback after knowing the main character for a quarter hour.
-Main character's mother, who has reported lines but no actual dialog.
-A nubile native girl, intent on seduci
Laurielle Laurielle
Otro libro que no he podido terminar: le he dado 250 páginas de ventaja y sólo he conseguido aburrirme y desesperarme.

La historia teóricamente va de un hombre que debe buscar un nuevo rey para los muertos. Pero en realidad va de un tío que vacila a la guardia, juega a las cartas, se sube a un barco y cotillea por ahí, con cierta mención ocasional al tema de que hay muertos involucrados. Es un poco una película costumbrista: vas siguiendo al prota mientras hace sus cosas y la historia se queda a
Aug 28, 2012 sj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted at my blog.

One thing I didn't really take into consideration when I decided to take some time off after Puttin' the Blog in Balrog was the possibility of falling behind on my reviews. I woke up this morning thinking "Oh, hey! It's release day! Everyone can finally go buy Seven Wonders and Mockingbird !" This was immediately followed by the thought "Crapcrapcrap, I totally forgot to review The Corpse-Rat King, which is ALSO OUT TODAY!" What? These aren't the things you guys u
colleen the fabulous fabulaphile
I picked this book up on a whim when I was at B&N recently. I mention this because this isn't something that happens all that often these days, to be honest. I'm rather loathe to pay full price for a book, especially one I know nothing about outside of the blurb, and I tend to get most of my books from the library these days. But this caught my attention and then held on... though, technically, the second book did that, as I saw that one first, in the new release section, and then backtracke ...more
Feb 24, 2013 Mikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm going to be completely honest and say that I didn't like this book for at least the first half of it. I don't mind admitting that I bought it on the strength of Juliet Marillier's review on the back of it. Marius was a thoroughly unlikable protagonist. He was selfish, amoral, seedy, and really the worst kind of weasel there was. I did like how clever he was, but it wasn't enough.

The only way I managed to slog through the first half was imagining him as Mark Sheppard, and surprisingly it work
Venetia Green
Sep 30, 2012 Venetia Green rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I've never come across a writer with such an amazing way with words. Battersby completely out-Pratchetts Pratchett. I wanted to give this book 6 out of 5 just for its hilarious and brilliant descriptions and one-liners.
Why then did I rate this book at 4, you may ask? Plot, pace and character. At first glance, there was nothing lacking here either. The plot is nicely convoluted and off-beat, there is plenty of forward-moving action, and the main character, Marius, is warped and engaging. Ho
Jan 22, 2014 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Marius follows other people to their battles, then raids the corpses afterwards for loot. It may seem like a low down job, but you have to be clever because soldiers are none too fond of people robbing their mates. Clever doesn't help Marius much when he gets pulled down to the land of the dead and given a mission to find a king for the dead or else be returning to enjoy their company permanently.

This book really wants to be a black comedy, but its tone keeps shifting all over the place. My favo
Martin Livings
Dec 27, 2012 Martin Livings rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Corpse-Rat King was a thoroughly enjoyable read, which is hardly surprising as it's come from Lee Battersby, one of Australia's best writers of short fiction. It's about damn time we had a novel from Lee, and this one doesn't disappoint. Some are saying it's similar to Terry Pratchett, but I personally think it has more of Harry Harrison's DNA thread through it, particularly his Stainless Steel Rat novels. They share the concept of a reluctant anti-hero who operates on the wrong side of the ...more
Sep 17, 2012 Mieneke rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2012
One of the books signed out of last year's inaugural Angry Robot Open Door Month – and a book picked by Amanda Rutter, whose taste rarely leads me wrong – Lee Battersby's The Corpse-Rat King was always going to be of interest to me. Add to that the rather awesome cover and an interesting synopsis and you could be sure I would be along for the ride. Unfortunately, my ride wasn't as smooth as I could have wished. Partly this is completely due to my own head space: when I started this book I wasn't ...more
Tim Martin
Apr 29, 2013 Tim Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, horror, reviewed
So you are a con artist, a man who has liberated people from their money the length and breadth of your world, impersonating everyone from soldiers to chefs to courtiers, all to in order to make a fast coin or two. Kings, captains of ships and in the army, powerful merchants, lowly soldiers, barmaids, and pig farmers, gamblers and lords of crime, you’ve conned and (mostly) outwitted them all.

Can you con the dead?

That is the position that our protagonist finds himself in, one Marius don Hellespo
Aug 01, 2014 Kai rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-reads
Unfortunately for this book, right in the middle of reading it I was suddenly DONE with straight white male protagonists in fantasy. Which was not the book's fault - aside from having all straight white male protags and not a single female protag who wasn't there to have sex with the main character. I might have enjoyed this book a few years ago. But now? I'm just... tired. I'm done with straight white male main characters. I can't take it any more. I just can't relate and I don't understand why ...more
Sep 20, 2012 Woodge rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Marius don Hellespont and his sidekick, Gerd, are battlefield looters. But they run into trouble and Marius gets mistaken for a king and is brought to the underworld and told that he is now the king of the dead. It's not a job he wants and he needs to find a replacement. But first he's just going to try running away from the dead.

I got completely sucked into the story in the first hundred pages. I lost a bit of steam in the middle section of the book but I didn't lose interest. It's a bizarre s
Jason Fischer
Jan 13, 2013 Jason Fischer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. I always enjoy a good picaresque novel, and The Corpse-Rat King delivers this with gusto. Battersby gives us the story of a great scoundrel, forced to aid the underworld. All the while, he is looking out for himself, trying to turn the tables on a universe set against him, and generally being a scumbag. There are some truly hilarious moments in this book, and I recommend it highly. Protagonist Marius Don Hellespont is like the bastard love-child of Cugel the Clever, Severian the tortu ...more
Jessica McFarland
The intriguing cover and promising plot were, unfortunately, the best part of this book.

Lee Battersby has given us a great example of how "telling" is not as effective as "showing." Throughout the book characters seem to behave in ways contrary to what he keeps telling us they are like. Marius is a thief and con man, and when the book starts he is employed as a "corpse-rat," AKA someone who steals things from the dead. He is a good thief, which we know because we are told that he is by Battersby
Sep 07, 2014 Ryn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't finish this, so perhaps I shouldn't leave a review (but I will).

The synopsis of this novel sounded interesting, fantastical, and funny (unfortunately, Terry Pratchett seems to be the only one who can do this well), but I could only get through about a third of the way through before giving up because the main character was extremely hard to connect with. The author attempted to give Marius some depth with the backstory, but somehow he felt very flat and cold. The way he treated his a
Sep 25, 2012 Tehani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me a while to get into the swing of this, but wow, once I did I couldn't put it down! A unique take on the undead, in a high fantasy setting, an unlikeable but loveable protagonist and a very difficult quest. Loved it!
(note, I am friends with Lee, and he does mention me in the acknowledgements, which was very nice of him - doesn't change my review one bit though!)
May 18, 2016 Jo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Would give it about a 2.5, but the last 75 pages were slightly better than anticipated, so for this I rounded up. Very Pratchett-esque, which for me is good for a quick, light read, but not particularly worth reading again. The narrative reminds me a little of Philip Glass music, lots going on, plenty to listen to (or in the case of a book, plenty to see) but ultimately circular. Nothing really happens. The protagonist has basically no individual growth and has practically no agency, and his per ...more
Jim Kerr
Jan 13, 2014 Jim Kerr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
That was fun!
[x] well conceived fantasy setting
[x] anti-hero who could only be portrayed by Bruce Campbell
[x] undead hordes
[x] deliciously absurd humor
Jan 05, 2014 Michael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm going to try to be civil on this one, because, for all intents and purposes, this isn't a terrible book. It's just not any good. And it hints that the author, once he gets a few more under his belt, might be quite good.

Let start simply: This novel is over 400 pages long. It is labeled as a humorous and action-filled fantasy story from a debut novelist whose previous credits are all short stories. So far, nothing wrong. Also, he's compared (on the book jacket) to Joe Abercrombie. More the foo
Jul 08, 2016 A.M. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
Marius don Hellespont and his apprentice, Gerd, are professional looters of battlefields and one day, they hit the jackpot. They find the dead King, crown on his head and all. A smaller crown, the type you’d wear into battle, but still the mark of a king. But then the oddest thing happens: the earth opens up and Marius falls down into the world of the dead still clutching the crown.
They haven’t had a leader for a while and they think he should be their new king. He objects on the basis that he i
Apr 21, 2015 Artemiz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, 2015
Lee Battersby's The Corpse-Rat King was an very interesting story.

It's a story about thief who gets a bit bigger swag than he can swallow and is presented with a quest that he can not turn down since it would literally mean he would lose his life. But he is a thief and a cheat, so when he has to go to the right he goes to left and hopes to run to the farthest point on earth he knows, to escape his quest. But he can not escape what's coming.

So after some unexpected changes in his rout and some i
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Lee Battersby is the multiple-award winning author of the novels 'The Corpse-Rat King' and 'Marching Dead' (Angry Robot, 2012, 2013) as well as the children's novel 'Magrit' (Walker Books, 2015) and over 70 short stories, many of which are collected in 'Through Soft Air' (Prime Books 2006). He has appeared in markets as diverse as Year's Best Fantasy & Horror Volume 20; Year's Best Australian ...more
More about Lee Battersby...

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Marius don Hellespont (2 books)
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“It is said that the dead are infinitely patient, although it is usually said by the living, and how would they know?” 1 likes
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