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The Corpse Reader [Kindle Edition]

Antonio Garrido , Tom Bunstead
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)

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Book Description

After his grandfather dies, avid scholar and budding forensic investigator Cí Song begrudgingly gives up his studies to help his family. But when another tragedy strikes, he’s forced to run and also deemed a fugitive. Dishonored, he has no choice but to accept work as a lowly gravedigger, a position that allows him to sharpen his corpse-reading skills. Soon, he can deduce whether a person killed himself—or was murdered.

His prowess earns him notoriety, and Cí receives orders to unearth the perpetrator of a horrific series of mutilations and deaths at the Imperial Court. Cí’s gruesome investigation quickly grows complicated thanks to old loyalties and the presence of an alluring, enigmatic woman. But he remains driven by his passion for truth—especially once the killings threaten to take down the Emperor himself.

Inspired by Song Cí, considered to be the founding father of CSI-style forensic science, this harrowing novel set during the thirteenth-century Tsong Dynasty draws readers into a multilayered, ingenious plot as disturbing as it is fascinating.

In 2012, The Corpse Reader received the Zaragoza International Prize for best historical novel published in Spain (Premio Internacional de Novela Histórica Ciudad de Zaragoza).

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About the Author

A native of Spain, a former educator, and industrial engineer, Antonio Garrido has received acclaim for the darkly compelling storytelling and nuanced historical details that shape his novel The Corpse Reader. This fictionalized account of the early life of Song Cí, the Chinese founding father of forensic science, represents the author’s years of research into cultural, social, legal, and political aspects of life in the Tsong Dynasty, as well as his extensive study of Song Cí’s own five-volume treatise on forensics. In 2012, The Corpse Reader received the Zaragoza International Prize for best historical novel published in Spain (Premio Internacional de Novela Histórica Ciudad de Zaragoza). Antonio’s previous novel, La Escriba, was published in 2008. Garrido currently resides in Valencia, Spain.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1717 KB
  • Print Length: 494 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1612184367
  • Publisher: AmazonCrossingEnglish; Reprint edition (28 May 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AB09KGO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,832 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Corpse Reader 3 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This novel follows the life of Ci Song (or Song Ci), in thirteenth century China. When we first meet Ci, he is a young man who regrets the fact his father has left the capital city of Lin'an for the village, where he finds himself at the mercy of a bullying elder brother with no respect for learning. Through a series of tragedies Ci becomes a fugitive and finds himself on the run with his sickly little sister, Third. His ambition is to return to the Ming Academy, but he is an outcast with no prospects and is responsible for a seriously ill child. Ci has a gift to 'read' bodies, and an inability to feel pain, which results in his eventually being given a chance to become a scholar again. However, his life has many ups and downs, with all manner of betrayals, difficulties and loss to endure before the end of this novel. During his adventures he travels across the country by barge, works as a gravedigger, meets up with a con man, is resented, betrayed and cheated.

Although this is a mystery, there is much more to the book than just the crimes he is sent to investigate. More than half the book is taken up with Ci's life story before he is ordered to the Imperial Court, to find the murderer of several horribly mutilated bodies. If you are looking for a book with an unusual storyline and setting, which examines the life of this incredible young man who became the first ever forensic science expert, then you will enjoy this novel. It is amazing to think that even though Song Ci died in 1249, some of his innovations are still in use today and he completed the first scientific treatise on forensics in history. This really is an original read and I hope, with Song Ci being a young man at the end of this novel, that he will have more adventures in the future - this is calling out for a sequel.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars C.S.I. - 13th Century Chinese Style 25 Mar. 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Antonio Garrido has here made a gripping historical thriller incorporating real and fictional people. Based on the legendary Song Ci (or Ci Song if you write his name in our language) the creator of the 'Hsi Yuan Lu Hsiang I', which is really the world's first forensics manual as such. With novels and tv dramatisations of crimes being solved with forensics it is sometimes forgotten that this isn't that new an idea, although technology has now progressed and it is universally accepted.

The real Song Ci I don't believe much biographical information is available, so because of that the earlier part of his life is here fictionalised. Here we see Ci start off his life not too badly, but things take a sudden change with the death of a relative, and then other tragedies hit the family. Ultimately left to bring up his sickly younger sister Ci's life seems to have taken a drastic turn for the worse, with him having to abandon his ambitions, and finding that he is a fugitive. We follow him through his ups and downs, and when he is asked to look at a dead body by order of the Emperor he finds himself embroiled with the Imperial Court and its life.

This is well researched, bringing to life the 13th Century of China under the Tsong Dynasty, where the country is under attack from the North. If you are thinking that this is just another historical crime thriller though, you would be wrong. This story as such can be seen as a series of parts. Firstly you have the part with Ci growing up and caring for his little sister, which takes in some adventure, then followed by his being called in to look at a dead body. This in itself leads to other horrific deaths and Ci becoming caught up in the subtleties of court life, and then a part which is more like a courtroom drama.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pacy, exciting and fascinating book 7 May 2013
By Sue Bentley VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is the story of Ci, a young man living in 13th century China. We first meet him living in poverty and discomfort in his brother's house, being bullied and tormented by his brother and longing to return to the city of Fujian. Because of the consumate skill of Antonio Garrido we are given a complete sketch of his early life, a vivid picture of his family and a dark, deep and edgy view of his present situation in the first chapter. I don't really know how Garrido does it but not once in this big, densely packed story do we get bogged down in tedious detail or explanations. Everything flows naturally from the thoughts and actions of Ci.

There is a LOT in this story, but it is tightly structured and carefully disciplined so that it never rambles. I would be hard-pressed to edit a single word out as nothing is superfluous yet it is so easy to read. So easy in fact that I wandered from living room to kichen still reading, I propped it up on the counter while I made tea, still reading. I read it instead of gardening, instead of conversation, I would have took it to work but I didn't dare as it would have pulled me back into those vivid, Chinese images. The book is full of beautiful and terible pictures all painted with words.

The court scene is brilliant, the tension is palpable and exciting and unlike many books with crime and punishment as a theme, you have no idea how it will turn out until the plot twists and sways its way to an unexpected conclusion.

Even the occasional sex scenes are brilliantly written, so many historical novelists seem to flounder badly once the bedroom door closes but Garrido does a great job there too.

If you like historical novels you will love this, if you like biography you will love this, and if you are a fan of CSI you will adore this.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good twists
I enjoyed this, although the language and writing seemed stilted at times. This tale is based on the life of a real historical person, which added an extra dimension for me. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Osmond
1.0 out of 5 stars A potentially great story ruined by poor writing and/or poor...
This could have been a great story but perhaps the original version was written poorly, the translation was bad or both. Facile and fact really irritating. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sherlock
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good
Published 3 months ago by M UNWIN
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a tale
I found this book thoroughly absorbing. An insight into life in China long ago ,a work that weaves fiction with fact . I have recommended it in my travels to many people . Read more
Published 4 months ago by Annie H
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and heart warming adventure
I bought this book for my Kindle. It is very well written and has you back in the days this was set. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Venetia Hammond
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertainment and education
A pleasure to read such an interesting book that is not anglocentred. Their acceptance of such draconian rules amazes me
Published 5 months ago by Ann G
4.0 out of 5 stars Very different but hang on
Takes a few pages to get started but from there on a captivating read.An insight into a different world.Enjoy the journey.
Published 5 months ago by d miles
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good
Published 5 months ago by mrs june queen
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Absolutely loved this tome so original and different from anything I have read recently. Fascinating insight into the sophistication of science and philosophy against severe... Read more
Published 6 months ago by honeybee
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written and interesting but so far (about 30% through|) ...
Well written and interesting but so far (about 30% through|) the main character is not having a lot of luclk
Published 6 months ago by L. Bunting
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