Marius dos Hellespont and his apprentice, Gerd, are professional looters of battlefields. When they stumble upon the corpse of the King of Scorby and Gerd is killed, Marius is mistaken for the monarch by one of the dead soldiers and is transported down to the Kingdom of the Dead.
Just like the living citizens, the dead need a king - after all, the king is God’s representative, and someone needs to remind God where they are.
And so it comes to pass that Marius is banished to the surface with one message: If he wants to recover his life he must find the dead king. Which he fully intends to do.
Just as soon as he stops running away.
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I was quite optimistic about this book, it sounded like it might be great. But it wasn't. I think what I disliked most about the book was the completely irrelevant section (about half the book). The entire middle section could have been cut without the plot loosing anything whatsoever. Everything from Marius leaving Keth to him meeting up with Gurd again should have been left out. Not only does it not add anything to the plot, but it doesn't do the main character any justice. Marius is supposed to be a clever con man who lives by his wits but the card game and the whole episode with the island make him out as extremely naive. The narrator did a good job. At the end of the book there's a not-so brief author's notes. He mentions a potential sequel; I won't be buying it.
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