What remains of being human when everything is lost? After a cataclysm destroyed their world, the dregs of Charnholm made what lives they could along its stony coast. They toil to keep flesh on their bones, and to get clean water from the richards, who live in shelter caves high above the harbor, guarded by mercenaries. To amuse themselves, the richards hold Rat Hunts in which the boldest young dregs, the Rat Hunt Boys, spear plague-ridden vermin; always in danger of a thrust from the fangs of these mutant creatures. As the Hunt grows increasingly deadly, a conspiracy begins brewing to topple the elite and abolish the dangerous game. This is the tale of how they came to rebel, and what success they had.
“In a society of dregs serving the richards in myriad roles — rope dancers, smiths, scutmen, scavengers, harem horii, beaters, rat hunt boys, and rimers — it is Mary Kath M’Cool, apprentice rimer anathematizing rats with verse for hunt boys to more easily skewer, who one day asks her beloved brother, Finn, ‘Are we no the many, they the few? Nobbut a few shelter caves and hundreds of dregs?’ Half the pleasure in reading The Rat Hunt Boys is following the four children of Cider Mother into awareness of who they are and where they could be, and half is the fertile and alliterative, lovely-gruesome, bramble-lyric lexicon Anna Mockler coined to transport us to Charnholm a generation after The Burning where light-boned, agile spawn go spag diving to keep the lamps lit, and dregs sing the revolution.’’ — Amy Holman
“Anna Mockler expertly employs brilliant Swiftian satire, visceral surrealism, and bracing historical fiction smoldering with gothic overtones and riddled with vibrant, sprawling, and rabidly urgent storytelling in this highly potent kaleidoscopic orgy of a post-apocalyptic epic. Expansive, incredibly imaginative, entirely singular and an absolute pleasure to read.’’ — Donald Breckenridge
“The perfect story to read aloud either to your elders or youngsters, whomever is stranger. If language is a virus, as Burroughs put it, this strain of pidgin is mutantly vaccine resistant, bubonic in its intensity; a queerly affecting tale of creatures ravaged by apocalyptic misadventure.’’ — Kevin Riordan