The Curator by Owen King

The Curator by Owen King


“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 find where her brother went after he died, 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 a nation on the verge of collapse, Dora’s search for the truth behind the mystery she’s long concealed will unravel a monstrous conspiracy and bring her to the edge of worlds.”

The Curator – Praise

“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, 12/14/22 (starred review)

“A fantastical panorama of twists and turns… King’s latest is a masterpiece of storytelling”. — Library Journal, 12/1/22

The Curator feels a little like Owen King somehow brought a curiosity cabinet to life. There are terrors here, but also marvels and delights, and a set of the most interesting characters I’ve met in some time. Put The Curator on the same shelf as other classics of the uncanny and uncategorizable, like Susanna Clarke’s Piranisi and Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast. I loved it. — Kelly Link, bestselling author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Get in Trouble

“Half fairy tale and half historical account of a revolution that never was, Owen King’s The Curator is full of sly humor, sensuality, and strangeness.” — Holly Black, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Book of Night

“Owen King’s The Curator is a rich read. Language, characters, and a fascinating world combine to create an intensely satisfying experience.” — Charlaine Harris, #1 New York Times bestselling author of An Easy Death, and the Sookie Stackhouse series

“It’s a complex, engaging, surprising historical fantasy” — Adam Morgan, Polygon

“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.” — Christina Orlando, TOR

“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, bittersweet romance, and the specters of body horror… an absurd, frightening novel that will delight fans of twisty dark fantasies.” — Leah von Essen, Booklist

“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. King’s creative worldbuilding is admirable and he makes even walk-on characters feel fully realized.” — Publishers Weekly

“This novel is richly imagined, its surface pleasures deliberately subverted by the bleak suggestion at its core: that a successful organized attempt to reduce inequity will have to overcome not just the inertia of a nation’s politics, but human nature.” — Dexter Palmer, The New York Times

“A tempting brew of realism, fantasy, whimsy and terror.” — Lisa Tuttle, The Guardian

“An intricate and fascinating book… the work of a writer who is confident in his craft… His city is a panoramic creation, lively and grimy and teeming with secrets… an impressive balancing act of hope amid despair” — Nic Clarke, SFX

“The Curator is a satisfying novel on multiple levels [with] deft narrative tricks.” — Tobias Carroll,

“Intricately plotted and gruesomely detailed… Darkly hilarious and disturbingly moreish, this brilliant fantasy envelops us in its hallucinatory reality, then grips like rigor mortis.” — Jamie Buxton, The Daily Mail

“One of the powers of the novel is the scene-setting… while King has invested a lot of time and effort into creating his city, his characters are also wonderful creations, particularly Dora… If Owen King wasn’t a name to look out for, he certainly is now. Recommended.” — Ian Hunter, Concatenation


THE CURATOR is also available as an audiobook, read by award-winning narrator Marin Ireland via @SimonAudio.
Get your copy today.

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