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The Rat and the Serpent by Stephen Palmer

The Rat and the Serpent
The Rat and the Serpent

Imagine a film made in black-and-white. Now imagine a novel written in black-and-white.

The Rat And The Serpent is a gothic tale relating the extraordinary fate of Ügliy the cripple.

Raised as a beggar in the soot-shrouded Mavrosopolis, Ügliy has to scramble for scraps of food in the gutter if he is to survive. But one day his desperation and humiliation is noticed by the mysterious Zveratu, and soon he is taking his first faltering steps into the world of the citidenizens. He meets the seductive Raknia and the arrogant Atavalens; one destined to be his lover, the other his mortal enemy. But as Ügliy ascends he becomes aware of a darkness at the heart of the city in which he lives. Slowly, he realises that the Mavrosopolis exists gloomy and forbidding around a terrible secret...

The Rat And The Serpent is a dark phantasmagoria related entirely in monochrome. Read this and enter a world portrayed as never before in the field of fantastic literature.

Cover by Stephen Palmer

Published: 15 May 2012

“… the vividly depicted grim urban setting and numerous absorbing secondary characters keep the pages turning.” (Publishers Weekly)

“… some interesting ideas, a new take on the cityscape, and some lovely imagery. And any book that causes me to think so much about its intentions has to be worth a read.” (Emerald City)

“… a novel written in black and white in the same way that a movie is filmed in black-and-white, and that indeed is both uncommon and borne out by the crisp prose.” (Trashotron)

“… what we're being invited to read here is a sort of livre noir, black-and-white in the cinematic sense. A novel literally without colour. And [Palmer] has been thorough about this -- not only is no colour beyond the monochrome named, all things and substances in the book (most notably food) have been carefully chosen for their blackness, whiteness or greyness. Characters dine on "goat's cheese, olives and rice, mushrooms fried in squid ink," for example. It's an original reading experience, a rich and velvety kind of monochrome.” (Infinity Plus review of paperback edition)

Stephen Palmer

Stephen Palmer is the author of fifteen novels: Memory Seed (Orbit 1996; Infinity Plus ebooks 2013), Glass (Orbit 1997; Infinity Plus ebooks 2013), Flowercrash (Wildside 2002; Infinity Plus ebooks 2013), Muezzinland (Wildside 2003; Infinity Plus ebooks 2011), Hallucinating (Wildside 2004; Infinity Plus ebooks 2011), The Rat & The Serpent (as Bryn Llewellyn, Prime Books 2005; Infinity Plus ebooks 2012) and Urbis Morpheos (PS Publishing 2010). His eighth novel, the surreal and fast-paced Hairy London, was published by Infinity Plus Books as a paperback and ebook in 2014, while the ninth, Beautiful Intelligence, was published in 2015, as was the subsequent short novel No Grave for a Fox. In 2016 Infinity Plus Books published his Edwardian steampunk trilogy, Factory Girl. His most recent novel, published in 2019, is The Conscientious Objector. His short stories have been published by Spectrum, Wildside, NewCon, Unspoken Water, Mutation Press, Solaris, Theakers, Eibonvale, Dog Horn, Manchester Speculative Fiction, Woodbridge Press and elsewhere. He lives and works in Shropshire, UK.

more infinity plus books by Stephen Palmer:

The Conscientious Objector The Autist Tommy Catkins The Girl with No Soul (The Factory Girl Trilogy #3) The Girl with One Friend (The Factory Girl Trilogy #2) The Girl with Two Souls (The Factory Girl Trilogy #1) No Grave For A Fox Muezzinland: the author Beautiful Intelligence Hairy London Flowercrash Glass Memory Seed: 25th Anniversary Edition infinity plus: quintet Hallucinating

the infinity plus shuffle:

Tommy Catkins Memories of the Flying Ball Bike Shop The Time-Lapsed Man and other stories Circus of the Grand Design The Iron Wire Head Shots Memesis: modifiction and other strange changes The Autist Rites of Passage The Alchemy of Happiness