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 Ward --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
In the past decade, contemporary renderings of traditional fairy tales have become a staple of fantasy fiction. This flashy riff on the Pied Piper theme marks a notable extension of the trend and an auspicious debut for its author. Saul Garamond is a restless young Londoner, aimlessly adrift, when he is wrongly imprisoned for the murder of his father. Saul is snatched from the authorities by a mysterious savior named King Rat, who claims to be both the deposed leader of the rodent army driven out of Hamelin 700 years before and Saul's real father. Raised as a human, Saul has much to unlearn before King can teach him to become a worthy opponent of the Rat Catcher, who framed Saul for murder and is still pursuing King. Meanwhile, the Rat Catcher forces his friendship on Saul's composer friend, Natasha, by posing as a flautist who hopes to work his melodies into her "drum 'n' bass" dance music and turn London's hip-hop underground into his unwitting stormtroopers. Though the plot is predictable and Saul's efforts to get in touch with his inner rat are clearly patterned on the Star Wars school of messiah-making, Mi?ville pulls the reader into the story through the kinetic energy of his prose. From the novel's opening image ("The trains that enter London arrive like ships sailing across the roofs"), the narrative crackles with a mesmerizing melange of impressionistic description and street slang that powerfully limns the squalid London cityscape. Paced at the rhythm of the Jungle music it evokes, this dark urban fantasy proves nearly as irresistible as the Pied Piper's tunes.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
First novel by inventive left-wing fantasy author China Mieville, in which young Saul Garamond comes to terms with his true identity as a half-rat superhero, after the murder of... Read morePublished on March 7 2006 by A. J. Cull
This is a very good and engaging reinscription of the Pied Piper children's story. Here the rats, more or less, are the heroes and the Piper is a beautiful but psychopathic... Read morePublished on May 20 2004
King Rat is inspired by Neil Gaiman's NeverWhere. But it is not a copy. Mieville has his own voice and vision. Read morePublished on May 2 2004 by isala
Texture, scent, colour. I've not read anything this, well, real in a long time. Even when it's not something you'd really want to smell or sense, Mieville lets you have it full... Read morePublished on April 6 2004 by J. A. Meadows
I've just discovered China Mieville and after reading so many rave reviews of The Scar and Perdido Street Station decided to go out and pick up those books. Read morePublished on Aug. 29 2003 by D. Berdanis
Sorry, folks, but this book does not hold up. It's starts off with a fast pace and characters and a story that just sucks you in. Read morePublished on July 11 2003 by Salvatore Cangemi
In "King Rat" China Mieville has created a Pied Piper tale for the 21st century. Using the duality of the ultra-chic yet hyper-primitive culture of the London club scene as his... Read morePublished on March 5 2003 by Amazon Customer
What would happen if you took the Pied Piper story, brought it to modern times and set in in the London Underground? Then you'd get the very Neil Gaiman-ish book that is King Rat. Read morePublished on Jan. 30 2003 by Sebastien Pharand
When I got to the library, some other cove had checked out China Mieville's acclaimed second book "Perdido Street Station", but his first novel was still on the shelf, so I took it... Read morePublished on July 16 2002 by Royce E. Buehler