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Publishers WeeklyStarred Review.
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.
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