From New York Times bestselling author Owen King, who “writes with witty verve” (Entertainment Weekly) comes a “richly imagined” (The New York Times) Dickensian fantasy of illusion and charm where cats are revered as religious figures, thieves are noble, scholars are revolutionaries, and conjurers are the most wonderful criminals you can imagine.
It begins in an unnamed city nicknamed “the Fairest”, it is distinguished by many things from the river fair to the mountains that split the municipality in half; its theaters and many museums; the Morgue Ship; and, like all cities, but maybe especially so, by its essential unmappability.
Dora, a former domestic servant at the university has a secret desire—to understand the mystery of her brother's death, believing that the answer lies within The Museum of Psykical Research, where he worked when Dora was a child. With the city amidst a revolutionary upheaval, where citizens like Robert Barnes, her lover and a student radical, are now in positions of authority, Dora contrives to gain the curatorship of the half-forgotten museum only to find it all but burnt to the ground, with the neighboring museums oddly untouched. Robert offers her one of these, The National Museum of the Worker. However, neither this museum, nor the street it is hidden away on, nor Dora herself, are what they at first appear to be. Set against the backdrop of an oddly familiar and wondrous city on the verge of collapse, Dora’s search for the truth will unravel a monstrous conspiracy and bring her to the edge of worlds.
About the Author
Owen King is the author of The Curator, Double Feature, and We’re All in This Together: A Novella and Stories. He is the coauthor of Sleeping Beauties and Intro to Alien Invasion and the coeditor of Who Can Save Us Now? Brand-New Superheroes and Their Amazing (Short) Stories. He lives in upstate New York with his family.
Praise for The Curator
“Seems to be set in our world, seems to be set maybe 100 years ago...as magical as it is political and beautifully crafted." —Neil Gaiman
“The Curator has its own smooth lyricism and evocative imagery, helping the book’s pages turn quickly. King has a knack for colorful metaphors and thoughtfully considered perspective. This novel is richly imagined.” —The New York Times
“Elegantly haunting... set in a fantasy world called 'The Fairest'... a bifurcated society, technologically behind our own by a century or so, but far ahead of us in terms of magic and the supernatural." —Anthony Breznican, Vanity Fair
“Sprawling, densely populated, intricately plotted... with vivid prose, excellent minor characters, and a scrappy, every-which-way inventiveness. Dickens novel meets Hieronymus Bosch painting—dark, chaotic fun.” —Kirkus, *starred review*
“A fantastical panorama of twists and turns… King’s latest is a masterpiece of storytelling.” —Library Journal
“The Curator begins like an alternate-world history, with the rich detail and varied cast of characters giving it an almost Dickensian tone. A tempting brew of realism, fantasy, whimsy and terror.” —The Guardian
“King’s world is part moody Victorian, part Terry Pratchett, with a lot to discover alongside its plucky main character. The Curator is a true curio of a book.”—Tor.com
“A delightful new fantasy... King’s novel feels like the heir to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels.” —Crime Reads
“The Curator sweeps us away to a unique fantasy world… a leisurely paced ride through the back alleys and canals of King’s fertile, creative mind. If you’re the kind of person who visualizes the settings of books as you read, you’re in for a treat.” —The Bangor Daily News
“An impeccably crafted, wildly imaginative world… at once fantastical and yet grounded in a too-familiar reality of corrosive greed and power grabs. With dark humor and a keen eye for detail, King invites readers into a genre-defying narrative that asks readers to imagine what might be and what could be, as a woman stands between two worlds of her own, asking the same.”—Shelf Awareness
“King’s strange, terrifying novel is part gothic thriller and part absurd, Bulgakovesque government satire. Wildly creative, this novel weaves and dips into class struggle and resentment, dark comedy, and bittersweet romance that will delight fans of twisty dark fantasies.” —Booklist
"It’s a complex, engaging, surprising historical fantasy that I applaud King for keeping under 500 pages, as it could have easily run twice as long in the hands of a less focused writer." —Polygon
“King expands his 2014 short story of the same name with arresting results in this Victorian-esque fantasy that contains moments of both horror and humor.”—Publishers Weekly