An incredible amount of research went into Antonio Garrido’s The Corpse Reader, based on Song Cí, the Chinese founding father of forensic science, including extensive study of Song Cí’s five-volume treatise on forensics. Intrigued? Check out an exclusive excerpt from the novel here.
Garrido (pictured), a native of Spain, is a former educator and industrial engineer. This fictionalized account of the early life of Song Cí represents years of studying the cultural, social, legal, and political aspects of life in the Song Dynasty. In 2012 The Corpse Reader received the Zaragoza International Prize for best historical novel published in Spain (Premio Internacional de Novela Histórica Ciudad de Zaragoza).
When the excerpt begins, Cí Song and his family have left the city, where his father was a comfortable bureaucrat, in order to mourn for his grandfather. While unhappy to have left his law studies to work on his brother’s farm, Cí’s life takes a turn when he stumbles across a corpse. He then embarks on a trial, whereby his mentor, Judge Feng, ingeniously attempts to uncover the murderer.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A PDF of an excerpt from The Corpse Reader.
After his grandfather dies, avid scholar and budding forensic investigator Cí Song begrudgingly gives up his studies to help his family. But when another tragedy strikes, he’s forced to run and is also deemed a fugitive. Dishonored, he has no choice but to accept work as a lowly gravedigger, a position that allows him to sharpen his corpse-reading skills. Soon, he can deduce whether a person killed himself—or was murdered.
His prowess earns him notoriety, and Cí receives orders to unearth the perpetrator of an horrific series of mutilations and deaths at the Imperial Court. Cí’s gruesome investigation quickly grows complicated thanks to old loyalties and the presence of an alluring, enigmatic woman. But he remains driven by his passion for truth—especially once the killings threaten to take down the Emperor himself.
With THE CORPSE READER (translated by Tom Bunstead; AmazonCrossing) Antonio Garrido has created something more than a thriller, more than a crime story; THE CORPSE READER is the story of a young man who fights for the honor of his family, for the truth, and for himself. Its multi-layered, ingenious plot is as disturbing as it is fascinating.
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