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King Rat [Paperback]

China Mieville
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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Book Description

6 May 2011

Something is stirring in London’s dark, stamping out its territory in brickdust and blood. Something has murdered Saul’s father, and left Saul to pay for the crime.

But a shadow from the urban waste breaks into his prison cell and leads him to freedom. A shadow called King Rat.

In the night-land behind London’s façade, in sewers and slums and rotting dead spaces, Saul must learn his true nature.

Grotesque murders rock the city like a curse. Mysterious forces prepare for a showdown. With Drum and Bass pounding the backstreets, Saul confronts his bizarre inheritance – in the badlands of South London, in the heart of darkness, at the gathering of the Junglist Massive.

Like the DJ says: ‘Time for the Badman.’

‘Tackles his theme with a dark assurance . . . with its original blend of twisted urban fairytale and modern gothic horror, King Rat marks out China Miéville as an author to be watched’ The Times

‘Brings together elements of fantasy, fairytale and the detective story . . . I greatly enjoyed Miéville’s weird and engaging myth-making’ Daily Telegraph

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Pan (6 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330534211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330534215
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 12.5 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 67,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

China Miéville lives and works in London. He is three-time winner of the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award (Perdido Street Station, Iron Council and The City & The City) and has also won the British Fantasy Award twice (Perdido Street Station and The Scar). The City & The City, an existential thriller, was published in 2009 to dazzling critical acclaim and drew comparison with the works of Kafka and Orwell (The Times) and Philip K. Dick (Guardian).

Product Description

About the Author

China Miéville lives and works in London. He is three-time winner of the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award (Perdido Street Station, Iron Council and The City & The City) and has also won the British Fantasy Award twice (Perdido Street Station and The Scar). The City & The City, an existential thriller, was published in 2009 to dazzling critical acclaim and drew comparison with the works of Kafka and Orwell (The Times) and Philip K. Dick (Guardian). His most recent novel, Kraken, was published in 2010.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unusual, but not his best 27 July 2001
By oamaz
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What you can't deny Mr Mieville is his talent in having exuberant fantasy and coming with the most original ideas possible. In this book he blends persuasively urban folklore, fairytale characters, modern rhythms and poetry of London dehumanized city hectic. The plot is rather simplistic, but has enough of little twists and grisly descriptions.
However, the drawls of dialects his characters use are hardly intelligible sometimes, and detailed descriptions of Jungle music may bore you (if you're not the fan).
A promising "try of the pen", but to enjoy China Mieville's talent to the last drop, read the superb Perdido Train Station (completely different in plot and settings)!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My 100-word book review 7 Mar 2006
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 his father. Set in the shadowy, seamy underbelly of London, this novel is also about the esoteric world of drum-and-bass music. The characterisation is fairly flat, and there really should be a bit more of a background to Saul; King Rat is not quite in the same league as the Bas-Lag novels, but still displays a brilliant imagination, and a rather anarchic mix and match approach which I find very stimulating.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good start, but not his best... 30 Dec 2002
Just finished reading King Rat, and I have to agree with most of the other reviews - the ideas are certainly inventive, points awarded for use of myth/fairytale in combination with contemporary culture, and an interesting anti-monarchy theme... but the writing simply isn't as well crafted as his later work. Personally, being an afficionado of both drum n' bass music AND fantasy/speculative literature, I loved what he tried to do - and the book is certainly readable, just not as well-written as Perdido St Station...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Prelude to a Masterpiece is a Masterpiece Itself 12 April 2012
By K. N.
Several years ago, I was in the FNAC bookstore in Brussels when I came across this book. The title had something appealing which I could not quite decipher.
Thus I bought it and thank the God of readers for that: I stumbled head first on an extraordinary, eerily dark and violent fantasy story, but most of all a truly original one. Finding an original story is like finding a second Koh-I-Noor in your backyard. That is, rather rare.

The main myth here is that of the Pied Piper of Hamelin against an aesthetic of drum'n'bass jungle music.

Modus operandi of this reader for the purchase selection process: check the title, read the back of the book, then open it in a random page and read that page. Does it capture your interest? No? Put it back on the shelf. Yes? Proceed to a second random reading. If the feeling is the same, check the author's other books. If it is book three with the same hero, probably leave it and repeat the MO with book one, if the impression was that good. But if is a debut of an author, and you feel something there after the two random reads, then risk it. It might be worthwhile. The "debut novel" check was a hit. This was the first book of China Mieville.

I started reading Mr. Mieville's book that same evening in a bistro in Grand Place.
It was not an easy read. I had been reading books in English for quite a few years by then and I had the occasional unknown word here and there. But Mieville's books are too complex by far in terms of vocabulary and metaphors at least for a non-native speaker. I had to jump back and forth to understand the images and situations narrated.

On top of that, drum'n'bass jungle music just isn't my thing. I am a hard rock / heavy metal fan, with the occasional flare for celtic/irish music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An unusual blend of fairy tale and horror 24 Feb 2000
By A Customer
For a new writer he's very good. The story has a very strange but intriging plot. I wish he wouldn't keep writing about the rhythm of Jungle music, how the notes soar and dive and intermingle with bass, and the bass holding then a high note pitching an' all that (y'know what I mean) does my head in, I honestly don't understand what he was going on about. He uses a lot of British slang in King Rat's dialogue.....that gives me a headache also as I'm sure it did with many readers. It's fine is you're bred and raised in London but for an English girl who is raised on the Far Eastern side of the world much of what he wrote meant nothing to I had to make wild guesses. Anyway, I don't want to make the poor lad feel bad, it is his first book after all. He has a lot of promise and a good style, and I will follow his work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. 18 Mar 2012
A dark urban fantasy that really keeps you interested.

All the characters are believable and likeable or interesting.

The plot weaves myths and fairy-tales into a dark and brutal urban setting with real deaths and emotions.

There are plenty of twists and turns as Saul learns about the hidden world he has entered.

There is plenty of action and some flashes of humour.

This feels a little like "Neil Gaiman" but the depth and quality is much higher.

Original and very entertaining.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Deep in the Dark 17 Mar 2003
For all the many words and apt phrases that Mieville uses, there may be only one word that describes Mieville's works: dark. All of his novels to date have this sense of being written at the bottom of a dank, odiferous, and pitch-black well, to where the tiny bits of color that he allows shine through like the sun after a cloudburst.
For this, his first work, he confines himself to the comparatively mundane setting of underground London, underground in both the physical and slang senses of the word, as we follow the story of Saul Garamond, heir apparent to the King Rat of Pied Piper fame. From the sewers to the rifling of garbage heaps for dinner, Mieville delights in offending your hygienic senses while enticing you with glimpses of a musical sub-culture that is just as strange to the average person as the rarified air of sub-atomic research. Bringing the characters of the ancient fairy tale to life is no small task, and Mieville succeeds admirably in the persons of King Rat and the Pied Piper himself. The Pied Piper comes across as a truly sadistic being, as shown by his actions, though at one point he specifically denies that characterization, while King Rat is easily identified with as the whining, downtrodden person who can never quite reach his goal of revenge. Their conflict is very real and very understandable, couched in a thousand years of remembrances of wrongs done, and is an effective mirror of all too many human interactions.
What is not so well crafted is the character of Saul. His reactions to the impossibility of the reality of King Rat, or to the murder of his father, come across as much too accepting, reactions that no normal person would have.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Arrived quickly.
I didn't buy this for myself as I'm not a fan of China Mieville, but it arrived promptly, in great condition and the person I bought it for seems to like it, so a job well done!
Published 2 months ago by Martha Hermolle
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant spin on an ancient story
A story everyone knows woven into a modern setting. A parallel world exists with a different order beneath and above the streets of London.
Published 6 months ago by Hob
5.0 out of 5 stars Another good one!
I really enjoyed this one, located in a slightly off key London a totally weird story with enough reality in it to prevent it becoming 'fantasy fiction'. Excellent! Read more
Published 6 months ago by C. M. Jordan
1.0 out of 5 stars Garbage
Saul is framed for the murder of his father and sent to jail where he's somehow broken out by a mysterious character calling himself King Rat. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Sam Quixote
5.0 out of 5 stars Rats rule
This is by far the most exiting, gritty story from China I've read to date although krakan was close second.
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A weird, wonderful and grimy urban update of the Pied Piper
When Saul Garamond's father is murdered, Saul's the only suspect. Arrested and locked in a cell, his life gets weird when he's rescued by a mysterious man called King Rat who... Read more
Published 20 months ago by I Read, Therefore I Blog
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading!
I was very happy to find this book as I'm always on the look out for GOOD urban fantasy and I can never seem to find it! Read more
Published on 5 April 2012 by Lemony
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
Definately a book you can't put down. A little less polished compared to his later work, but even so it still powers ahead of the rest of the crowd. Read more
Published on 19 Mar 2012 by Steve Conway
4.0 out of 5 stars Peter Piper
This is a great book, the second I'd read from Mieville (the first being Un Lun Dun).

It took me a while to realise exactly who King Rat was up against, and I have to... Read more
Published on 14 Sep 2010 by simon211175
4.0 out of 5 stars Has someone told you that you simply HAVE to read China Mieville?...
Even his critics agree that China Mieville is a genius. His ability to conjure and flesh out worlds with diverse and fascinating characters puts him head and shoulders above many... Read more
Published on 9 July 2010 by D. Laurikietis
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