Saul is hauled out of bed by the police and charged with hurling his father from a top-floor window. While lying dazed in a cell, he is visited by a sharp-featured stranger who leads him on a gravity-defying escape. After introducing himself as Saul's uncle, King Rat, he explains Saul is half rat.
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Saul Garamond returns from a journey in late evening and sneaks into his bedroom to avoid a confrontation with his estranged father. He awakes to the intrusion of police and the news that his father has been murdered and he is the number-one suspect. Forgotten in a jail cell, he is freed by a peculiar, stinking, and impossibly strong stranger--only to find rescue may be worse than imprisonment. The plot moves through subterranean and rooftop London quick as a techno beat, as Saul discovers his curious heritage and finds himself marked for death in an age-old secret war among frightful inhuman powers.
China Miéville's urban fantasy novel, King Rat, is an impressive, even daring, debut. It is a Lost Prince story that avoids both black-and-white morality and the standard fantasy-novel adoration of royalty. Furthermore, it is inspired by the unlikeliest of sources, the Rat King legend and the Pied Piper of Hamelin fairy tale. Finally, King Rat, powered and propelled by the rhythms of jungle/drum-'n'-bass music, is a fantasy novel set in the 1990s that genuinely captures the 1990s. --Cynthia WardFrom the Publisher:
"This is a riveting, brilliant novel. The language sings, the concepts are original and engrossing." --Charles de Lint
"A genuine contribution to London's subterranean mythology. King Rat is as sharp as a Tokyo comic. It's humane and delinquent. And it bites." --Iain Sinclair
"[Mieville's] prose melds James Herbert's nihilistic violence with the metropolitan paranoia of Martin Amis, circa London Fields, and he shows a talent for authentic dialog and cinematic set pieces. Most striking, perhaps, is the meticulously crafted topography of a brooding London peopled by despondent youth and bizarre night creatures and rife with the rhythms of drum 'n' bass." --The Times (London)
"King Rat: a story so compelling you almost haven't time to notice how fine the writing is; a dark myth reinvented for our time and for London in particular with great wit, style, and imagination." --Ramsey Campbell
"[An] extraordinary debut novel. . . . China Mieville is a remarkably eloquent new writer who has produced genuine magic here." --Locus
"King Rat goes down as sweetly as week-old garbage, to leave the reader eyeing speculatively the manhole covers of Soho and Battersea. A knotted, toothy, thought-provoking read." --M. John Harrison
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