Dishonored: The Corroded Man is a novel by Adam Christopher and the first of a trilogy, bridging the gap between Dishonored and Dishonored 2. The novel was released on September 27, 2016, with the other two books set to be released in 2017.
More than a decade after she was restored to the throne, Empress Emily Kaldwin leads a dual life, fulfilling her duties as head of state while training with her father, Corvo Attano, learning his unique skills in the arts of stealth, combat, and assassination. When a strange, shrouded man appears in Dunwall, leading the Whalers and seeming to possess powers once wielded by Daud, Emily and Corvo are plunged into a life-and-death adventure. Should they fail to stop this mysterious enemy, the result could be destruction on a massive scale.
Part One: The Sleeping City
A decade since Dunwall's Rat Plague ended, a prisoner escapes from the labor camp of Utyrka in Tyvia after finding a mysterious and powerful artifact. In Dunwall, 1851, Emily Kaldwin, trained in stealth and combat by her father and Royal Protector Corvo Attano, starts leaving Dunwall Tower at night to explore the city in secret and take some respite from her duties as Empress of the Isles.
In the Month of Darkness, the prisoner reaches Dunwall and seeks out two ex-members of the Whalers employed in the security detail of the Golden Cat, Galia Fleet and Rinaldo Escobar. Using powers akin to their former leader Daud, he convinces them to join him in his work with the promise of sharing his powers with them and reforming their old gang of assassins.
A week later, the new Whalers gang is tasked in stealing corpses from an abandoned cemetery in the soon-to-be New Mercantile District on the city's edge. Emily Kaldwin happens to witness them but is unknowingly deterred to act by her father, the Lord Protector, who keeps an eye on her during her nocturnal escapades. He too leaves the thugs be after Galia exhibits her new-found powers, from which Corvo dreadfully identifies her as a Whaler. Back to their hideout in Slaughterhouse Row, Galia enters in a fight with her new leader regarding the partial failure of her mission. After the man effortlessly countered her, he reveals himself as Zhukov, former Hero of Tyvia, strangely disfigured as if burnt and seeking no less to save the world.
The day after, Corvo, in his duties of Royal Spymaster, brings up the events at the cemetery during a meeting with the Empress, the High Overseer Yul Khulan and Jameson Curnow, adviser to the Court and secretly Corvo's chief agent. They task the City Watch, but also Overseers of the Abbey of the Everyman in investigating the gang's activities and arrest them. During a private conversation with Khulan, Corvo also asks him to ready the Abbey's old Music Boxes in case of witchcraft. He also takes some precaution regarding Emily's nightly excursions and asks the Tower's guards to keep close to her.
In their hideout, Zhukov finally reveals to Galia more about his past, working for the High Judges of Tyvia and their betrayal, how he obtained the Outsider's Mark in prison and the corroded Bonecharms he crafted from human remains with his powers. He explains that he has been traveling the world to gather intelligence and sought help from Daud himself for his occult powers. He couldn't find neither him or his old lieutenants, Billie Lurk and Thomas, and instead resorted to Galia's help. He then asks her to go to Brigmore Manor and bring him bones of the Brigmore Witches from its crypt, out of which he will carve their destiny. Rinaldo spies them and worries of Galia's choice to follow Zhukov in his plans.
In the following days, the Imperial Court turn their attention to the preparations for the annual Masquerade Ball held by Lady Esma Boyle. Emily thinks of defying the Court's tradition and to participate anonymously to the event. Intruding later in Corvo's chambers, she discovers Jameson's surveillance report of Brigmore Manor, detailing rumors of an impeding criminal operation there. She also learns from the report that the Wrenhaven River Patrol spotted suspicious activity at the Greaves Auxiliary Slaughterhouse 5 on Slaughterhouse Row. Furious at the discovery that her friend Jameson spies for her father, but also that her close entourage hid from her information on the graverobbers gang, she decides to investigate the factory by herself.
Meanwhile at the abandoned slaughterhouse, Rinaldo decides to break in Zhukov's gruesome workshop. He steals one of the corroded Bonecharms and covers his tracks. Emily infiltrates the place the next day and, to her terror, identifies the gang as the Whalers, responsible for the murder of her own mother, Empress Jessamine. She subdues two of the mercenaries and steals their clothes to pass as one of them. Playing her role, she becomes enthralled in a vision of chaos when staring at Zhukov's red glasses. She sees in the reflection a vision of herself, where she had Corvo slaughtering the Imperial Court for her own cruel amusement. She then follows the Whalers' plan and departs for Brigmore.
Part Two: The Witchcharms
On the 12th Day of the Month of Darkness, Corvo lies in ambush at Brigmore Manor. Through Jameson, he has help from the new owner and restorer of the domain, the liquor merchant Azariah Fillmore, in truth the reformed boss of the Bottle Street gang and a friend of Corvo since the Rat Plague. Once the Whalers invade the place, Azriah sets his workers, ex-members of Dunwall's gangs, to attack them. Using the moment of surprise, they successfully kill or subdue several Whalers while Galia escapes with some of the witch bones from the crypt, using her supernatural powers. Emily manages to evade the battle and follows Galia back to the slaughterhouse. After the battle, Rinaldo, who was captured with the surviving Whalers, chooses to open up to Corvo and shows him the corroded Bonecharm.
Back at the slaughterhouse, Emily spies Galia handing the witch bones over to Zhukov along with parchments from the manor's previous occupants. Despite the situation turning for the worst, Zhukov is satisfied as there is enough bones to craft the charm he requires, and the witches' notes will help his work. Emily readies her knife to strike at Zhukov, but feels the strange dizziness as before and falls from her elevated position. Corvo, who followed her from Brigmore, catches her in extremis and flees from the factory as Galia commands her men to capture them.
Two days later, Corvo delivers to the High Overseer the information Rinaldo gave him, and shows him the corroded Bonecharm. Rinaldo also told him that the last component to Zukhov's charm is to be found at Boyle Mansion, and that the Whalers are planning to strike during the impeding Masquerade Ball. Khulan agrees to let Corvo lead a group of Warfare Overseers armed with Music Boxes during the event. Later, the Empress, who has recovered, wants to issue a lockdown of the city until the grave robbers are caught. Her father and Royal Spymaster convinces her instead to let him handle the situation, despite putting lives at risk. The next day, Emily drugs her companion and lover Wyman, who Corvo charged of watching over the Empress in his absence. She then steals a black sparrow costume prepared at Dunwall Tower and readies herself for the Masquerade Ball.
Part Three: The Masquerade
On the 15th Day of the Month of Darkness, the Boyle Masquerade Ball takes place. Corvo places his men in the mansion with the cooperation of his hostess, Lady Esma Boyle. During the event, Zhukov first appears in the mansion's abandoned wing occupied solely by Lydia Boyle, moonstruck since the abduction of her third sister, Waverly. He convinces her to guide him to a hidden vault under the domain. Then, the Whalers invade the ballroom to take the guests hostage. Corvo reacts with both the Warfare Overseers and Slackjaw's men, who agreed to help him out again. While the situation is first in Corvo's favor thanks to the Overseer's Music Boxes, it is turned around when they realize the Ancient Music has no effect on the Whalers' powers. Worst, it affects Corvo's powers and diminishes his own strengths.
Emily jumps on Galia to help her father, who soon recognizes her under her mask, but to no avail. With the full attention of his assistance, Zhukov presents himself with Lydia Boyle, who was publicly thought dead since long. He then unmasks Emily, to the crowd's stupor, and brings her with him, Galia and Lydia to the vault beneath Boyle Mansion. There, he locates the massive skeleton of a giant whale, brought there as a gift by the Lord Regent Hiram Burrows to his mistress Waverly Boyle 14 years ago. Zhukov tasks Galia to recover one of its jawbones while he places candles on the floor and draws shapes with chalk. He then asks her to kill Lydia in order to make charms out of her bones for their escape.
Meanwhile in the ballroom, Esma Boyle makes a scene to distract their guards. Corvo uses this opportunity to regain control of the situation with Slackjaw's help. Once the Whalers are dealt with, he goes to the vault with Lady Boyle, although they arrive too late. Zhukov, Galia and Emily are gone, leaving behind the mangled remains of Lydia. Corvo then tasks Jameson to cover Emily's appearance at the Masquerade Ball to avoid repercussions on her Imperial status, then departs to Zhukov's lair, to put an end to his plans.
Part Four: The Black Mirror
Zhukov, Galia and Emily are transported back to the slaughterhouse with the leviathan's bone, thanks to the man's occult ritual. There, the remaining Whalers are busy finishing the preparation of a large vat for Zhukov's ultimate charm. Galia enters in another argument with her leader, and pleads him to give her the powers she was promised. He stabs her in the stomach with his sacrificial knife, and lets both the knife and her fall into the vat's burning liquid. Emily tries to gain time by making him talk, and he reveals that the knife was essential to bring their world closer to its own, from a different time and place. With the vat's mixture ready, he pours its hot content inside a large frame, which once cooled down forms a perfect large, black mirror.
Zhukov compels Emily to gaze into the black mirror. In its reflection, she sees sights of her past, but also a present in chaos where her own mother is still alive. Her captor shows sights of his own past. He reveals his implications with Empress Jessamine before her death, and how with her help he could have overthrown the High Judges of Tyvia. He explains to her that he needs her to focus the mirror's reflection on the day her mother was assassinated. This would allow him to go through the mirror with his powers, change the past and take revenge on the High Judges.
Zhukov continues on the knife's power and how he discovered it in the salt mines of Utyrka. The knife showed him visions of the Outsider and granted him powers through the mark he carved with it on the back of his hand. Emily then reveals him that saving her mother would lead to his rule over Tyvia for a little while, but that the Rat Plague would not end and spread throughout the whole Empire, destroying it. Zhukov refuses to believe her and steps up to the mirror.
Meanwhile, Corvo uses his power and a vial of Addermire Solution to make it from the Estate District to Slaughterhouse Row, jumping and Blinking from roofs to roofs. He deals with the Whaler sentinels at the factory, unties Emily and distracts Zhukov just as he prepares to enter the black mirror. Father and daughter fight against the former Hero of Tyvia, but are soon destabilized by his corroded Bonecharms. Emily still struggles with him and eventually pulls his scarf off, revealing the terrible state of his body. She manages to snatch and destroy his disorientation charm, which gives Corvo an opportunity to strike back.
Zhukov runs towards the black mirror, but Emily frees the frame from its restrains and falls, shattering into multiple shards across the factory floor. The Hero of Tyvia recovers, hiding in the shards' reflections and, with his powers, lifts the fragments and reunites them in a large cylinder. In the center of the vortex, Zhukov finds the shard reflecting the day of Jessamine's assassination. Emily sees the sacrificial knife in one of them and reaches to pull it out. Its powers are too much for her to bear and she faints from the pain. Corvo takes it from her and plunges it into Zhukov's charred carcass.
Three days later, Emily wakes up under the care of her Royal Physician, Doctor Toksvig. Her father then tells her of the city's state of affairs during her recovery. He tells her that after taking the knife from her, he struggled with Zhukov as the shards were coming down and pushed him into the vat. Then the factory building exploded and collapsed into the river while he was carrying her out. Corvo had the place searched up by the Wrenhaven River Patrol but could not find the remains of Zhukov, the fragments of the black mirror nor the knife.
The next month, Emily returns to Dunwall after recovering at Heronshaw Lake. She discovers the black sparrow costumes from her night at Boyle Mansion in the closet of her apartment atop Dunwall Tower, minus the mask. During the night, she brings it to her safe room and starts modifying it, promising herself to have a similar suit made by her tailor according to her needs. She even wears it and escapes the Tower once again to wander across her city. Corvo watches her and decides to leave her alone, judging her ready now.
- Harvey Smith worked with the author to ensure continuity and provide ideas, and is credited as Editorial Consultant.
- Adam Christopher admitted that Emily choosing a sparrow costume for the Boyle Masquerade is a reference. To what, he did not say.
- Coincidentally, the working title of Dishonored 2 was "Black Sparrow".
- The cover reuses an illustration from the marketing of Dishonored 2, with Corvo and Emily facing City Watch members in Dunwall Tower's throne room during the Coup by Delilah Copperspoon.
- The French version of the novel is the only one to have two different editions, published under different labels of the same publisher. The first one is similar to the original format while the second one is larger and has a gilded-like frame around the original cover.
- The first synopsis for the book was: "Picking up where Dishonored left off, this first novel continues the adventures of Corvo Attano as he protects and trains his daughter, Emily, now the Empress of Isles residing in Dunwall and a burgeoning adventuress in her own right. The official bridge between Dishonored and the forthcoming Dishonored 2, slated for release in 2016."
- ↑ Dishonored 2 – Novels and Comics Revealed on bethesda.net.
- ↑ Dishonored - The Corroded Man on amazon.com
- ↑ https://twitter.com/Harvey1966/status/773932258424217600 Twitter post by Harvey Smith.
- ↑ Adam Christopher AMA on reddit.
- ↑ Stepping into the Empire -Dishonored 2, and my conversation with Harvey Smith on Phos's blog.
- ↑ Cover of Dishonored : L'homme corrodé on milady.fr
- ↑ Cover of Dishonored : L'homme corrodé on bragelonne.fr
- ↑ Dishonored - The Corroded Man telegrapgh.co.uk
Games and other media in the Dishonored franchise
Void Walker's Arsenal (Acrobatic Killer Pack • Arcane Assassin Pack • Backstreet Butcher Pack • Shadow Rat Pack) • Dunwall City Trials • The Knife of Dunwall • The Brigmore Witches • Imperial Assassin's Pack
Dishonored Signature Series Guide • Dishonored 2 Strategy Guide • The Dunwall Archives • The Art of Dishonored 2 • The Wyrmwood Deceit • The Peeress and the Price • The Corroded Man • The Return of Daud