The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents


Enter stage right, the stagecoach from the plains. Scene: just past the UberWald border post. A young man seems to be the only traveller aboard. But the stagecoach driver is uncomfortably aware that there are voices all around him.

It was not until the fortuitous intervention of a highway robber that the driver was able to get away from the coach.

The highwayman, though things might not be going as they usually did, reckoned that he was still the one with the weapon, and the kid inside had nothing more lethal than a pipe.

But when the trunk was opened, he felt that things were getting away from him. A whole flood of rats streamed out of the trunk and disappeared, though the feel of tiny feet climbing up his trousers quickly enlightened him as to where they had goneā€¦

A negotiated settlement left the highwayman stood in place while the boy, a cat and an unknown number of rats fled into the dark UberWald night. It was strange, the man thought, he could swear that there had been more than one voice talking to him. But that couldn't be the case really!

Could it?

Meanwhile, in the dark night, a strange conference is taking place.

The main voice seemed to be coming from the large, scraggy cat, while the numerous rats that surrounded him were almost as vocal. The boy sat silently watching. Eventually the group decided on A Plan and moved in on the nearby town.

They knew it would be dangerous. All sorts of traps lay in the rat runs under the streets ready for the unwary. Strange rats to be cowed into submission, for these rats could think!

The traps were there, and poison. But there was a dearth of rats. Which was surprising as there were a pair of rat catchers in town claiming to be catching rats by the hundreds. Suspicions are aroused when the rat tails look more like old shoelaces, but how could a strange boy hope to uncover this corruption?

But the men's blackmail of the town is not the darkest secret. Deep below the town, the rats find the secret of the Rat King and it's power over their minds.

This is marketed as a children's book, mainly marked by the fact this Discworld novel actually has chapters, but there is an extremely dark edge to the book, especially in the elements dealing with the Rat King (though this could be buried memories of James Herbert's The Rats) and the rat baiting.

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