Seattle, Washington, is an old city in the United States Pacific Northwest, which has an underground tunnel system. The tunnels were at one time used by business owners for storage and away from people to travel from place to place. As sidewalks were constructed the tunnels nearly became forgotten. Instead they became used for nefarious activities. One could find opium dens, speakeasies, brothels, and men even disappeared from the tunnels only to find themselves on some sailing ship.
You could almost say that the only thing to call those tunnels home were the criminals, and the rats that looked for dark places. These creatures both looked for a place to hide and conduct their own form of living, and away to escape those who hunted them.
The book, Ratpaths, by author Angelika Rust takes the reader into one such of tunnel system. A tunnel system that lies underneath Istonnia, and they are controlled by one man, Vicco Cambrosi. The man used the paths under the city to run his illicit activities and controlled who could use the paths. This included the young man Nivvo who will find that those paths are both a help and a hindrance to his life.
Nivvo is a thief, and a quite good one. He has worked and taken jobs for people such as Cambrosi since he was a wee little boy. There is only one person in the city he really cares for outside of himself and that would be his sister Reka and her charges.
Reka took over what some would call an orphanage after its leader, Babbo Andori, had passed away. She is able to help put enough food out for anyone hungry and provide beds for all who need them. This has not been easy for Reka and after Andori’s death it fell upon her to keep the place running. She survives by donations from those who can afford the extra coin, but it is never enough.
It is when Contia Zadora I Amaffi announces to Reka that she may no longer be of assistance at Andori’s that things really begin for Nivvo. He is listening when the Contia tells Reka of a locket that a man has taken and is using against the Contia. He promises his sister he will help and this will involve breaking into the man’s home to retrieve the locket.
Nivvo finds that this job may be going too easy when he is forced to hide under some furniture and hears something that will change the life of many. The son of the city’s past ruler is alive and will be killed that evening. Nivvo makes the choice to save the young man and get him out of the city. There is only one way to go, and that’s under the main city.
Ratpaths is a book that will take the reader into an older world setting. People live and die by the blade, there are no modern weapons. The city of Istonnia is ruled by a tyrant who went as far as to KILL his own brother to become the ruler. The actions of his men led to much brutality that is explained in the book, and tells how Reka came to Andori’s as an infant.
The reader will also learn about the main character Nivvo and those he can call friend. The move that Nivvo makes to rescue the young boy will have far reaching consequences to all those he cares about. He will find himself running through the wilderness with the boy knowing someday he will have to return home.
The book is well written and author, Angelika Rust, does a great job in getting the reader interested in her characters. The reader will find a great story that does involve some “cat and mouse” activity by Nivvo and others. The book is self-published and fans of mystery, action, and other genres will find this book a great read. The key to the book is the way the story is set and flows in a manner it is hard to put down.