I was sent The Feathered Man by Jeremy de Quidt to review by Amazon Vine, in exchange for an honest review.
This is, most emphatically a book for teen/YA readers. it is not suitable for primary age readers unless they have a strong stomach, a taste for violence and you are willing to discuss with them the possible options of what happens to you after you die.
This is a macabre book, set, from the names of the characters, in some kind of Germanic fantasy world.
Herr Kusselman is a false teeth maker. He is the best false teeth maker in the land, and he pays good prices for the real teeth of the dead to enhance his work. He employs a servant, Klaus, a down trodden boy with no prospects whose only alternative to working for Kusselman is the streets.
Klaus and Kusselman set off to see Frau Drecht, an evil landlady who houses only the poorest of the poor, waiting for them to die so that she can take their goods. She sells their teeth to Kusselman and their bodies to the anatomy school. She employs a girl called Liesel to do her dirty work and rewards her mainly by burning her with a hot iron and depriving of her of food and sleep.
It’s a jolly world.
Kusselman starts to remove the teeth of the latest corpse at Frau Drecht’s house only to find that they are in fact plaster. Underneath are solid gold teeth and one diamond worth a fortune.
It is at this point that Kusselman and Drecht’s greed get the better of them, and they face off against each other. Further complications are added with the arrival of a mysterious priest and his assistant who seem to know about the treasure, and the head of the anatomy school who is in on the plot.
Klaus and Liesel are pulled into danger against their will as evil follows on evil and they are drawn into a land beyond death.
There is not a hint of cheer in this book. It is dark and complex and unforgiving. I found it relentless and unpleasant. If you are looking for what is essentially a horror book for a reader aged about thirteen upwards, this is for you.