First look: Dead Ground

In this age of digital downloads it’s nice to discover publishers that put a little bit extra into the design of books as physical things that you can hold in your hand. Rat’s Tales is a Bath-based company that describes itself as an artisan publisher, which means that its books are designed and printed as objets d’art – something to buy as a gift… or a treat for oneself.

For instance, when you get your hands on a copy of Dead Ground by Rod Humphris you won’t be able to stop yourself from flicking open the cover, playing with the flaps and enjoying the tactility of the uncoated card stock used for the jacket. The fulll wraparound illustration is pretty striking as well.

Dead Ground is a novella – just 90 pages in extent – which gives readers the backstory to Simon Ellice, the main character in Humphris’ full-length noir novel Go Fast, published earlier this year. It was printed in the UK too, which means it hasn’t been shipped all the way from a printers in China and has a lower carbon footprint than many books on the market today.

Have a look below to discover how it unfolds, so to speak…

Its bijou size makes it ideal for your pocket or bag, to be read on your commute.

Most paperbacks don’t come with a cover flap that extends the illustration.

The rear cover folds out as well, extending the image created by Laura R Molnar.

The full landscape image unfolds to give a clearer idea of the story inside, which is set in Afghanistan and sees Simon Ellice serving on a mission to hunt down Taliban fighters.

Dead Ground also features spot illustrations, including this one as a sort of frontis.

And the spot illustrations throughout the story depict a parallel narrative. As the backstory of Simon Ellice forms, something else is going on as well…

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