Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Dishonored: The Corroded Man

Go To

Dishonored: The Corroded Man is an interquel Expanded Universe novel of the Dishonored Series, written by Adam Christopher. It takes place between the events of Dishonored and Dishonored 2.

Empress Emily Kaldwin leads a dual life, fulfilling her duties as empress while training with her father, Corvo Attano, mastering the arts of stealth, combat, and assassination. A strange, shrouded figure appears in Dunwall, seeming to possess powers once wielded by the assassin known as Daud. Faced with the possibility that their deadliest foe has returned, Emily and Corvo plunge headlong into a life-and-death race against time. If they fail to learn the truth about this mysterious enemy, the result would be destruction on an unimaginable scale.

It takes place fifteen years after the events of the original game and is followed by Dishonored The Return Of Daud.


This book contains the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Emily establishes herself as this. Galia is also one.
  • The Alcatraz: Tyvian prisons are like this. They're basically Russian gulags.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Wyman is never referred to as a man or a woman despite appearing in the text several times. The only pronoun used is "the noble."
  • Artifact of Doom: Zhukov possesses a magical, dual-bladed dagger which demands blood to satisfy it. It's the same one that was used to kill the Outsider, so whether it was magic before or became magic as a result is unclear.
  • Bad Boss: Averted as Zhukov uncharacteristically ignores most of Galia's half-failures and allows her to carry on with other plans despite how dangerously unstable he seems. Played straight when he murders her for demanding they ransom Emily.
  • Bad Future: Emily has numerous images of this. In fact, she's seeing an alternate reality where her mother lived and Dunwall was destroyed by the Rat Plague.
  • Advertisement:
  • Badass Normal: Emily has no access to magic, but nonetheless is a very adept combatant.
  • Big Bad: Zhukov is the antagonist of the novel and The Man Behind the Man.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: While much of this is established as canon in Dishonored 2, the book establishes many of Corvo's canon actions:
    • Corvo took the Low Chaos route and spared all of his targets, except for Hiram Burrows who was stated to be killed by Corvo (albeit during a lawful execution after the ending of the original game).
    • Lady Waverly was the Lady Boyle who was captured by Corvo and given away to her stalker.
    • Corvo saved Slackjaw's life from Granny Rags.
  • The Determinator: The Prisoner (later revealed to be named Zhukov) drags three guards along with him in chains through a massive trek on the snow so he can use them to help in his escape. This despite no one has survived the journey before.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: Tyvia doesn't sentence people to imprisonment. It sentences them to freedom from society. They just happen to do so in icy caves with no way to get out of work. As a result, the Tyvians refuse to call their prisons as such.
  • Expy: Zhukov appears to be one for Daud. In fact, he's actually one for Corvo.
  • Epic Fail: Zhukov's scheme would have gone off without a hitch had he simply gone to the Boyle mansion on literally any other day of the year.
  • Evil Counterpart: Zhukov is, essentially, a High Chaos version of Corvo Attano. He was the former assassin for a royalist conspiracy in his homeland of Tyvia, as well as a champion of the people, but was betrayed by them after he tried to overthrow their tyranny. They sent him away to be imprisoned for trying to do the right thing and he went insane. He then reappeared a few months later with a mask, a Mark, and an odd sword. He was even close to Empress Jessamine.
  • Fallen Hero: Zhukov is the "Hero of Tyvia" as he mentions in his Insistent Terminology. He's technically still a hero, but he's developed into a He Who Fights Monsters Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Famous-Named Foreigner: Given that Tyvia is a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to Russia, Zhukov is probably named for General Georgy Zhukov.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Tyvia is one for Soviet Russia by the way it is described, with everyone being equal, except for those who are more equal than others, Zhukov being granted the title of "Hero of Tyvia", and a sinister Secret Police force known as the "Operatives."
  • Foil: Zhukov serves as this for Corvo Attano, who is canonically established as being a Low Chaos do-gooder in this version.
  • For Want of a Nail: Daud failing to kill Jessamine Kaldwin results in the fall of Dunwall, if not all of the Empire, to the rat plague, and Emily becoming The Caligula. Someone who plays the games would understand this makes sense: Without Corvo being framed, he would have no impetus to help the Loyalist conspiracy, and thus no reason to meet Piero, nor kidnap Sokolov. Without those two working together, the cure for the rat plague would not be found. Without that, the city would devolve into High Chaos, resulting in a High Chaos style Emily Kaldwin.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Emily has visions of herself as a horrific tyrant and her father as her executioner.
  • Good All Along: More Morally Ambiguous All Along, despite being Obviously Evil, Zhukov turns out to not be Emily's enemy and wants to go back in time and save her mother. He is only made aware of the catastrophic consequences of this action minutes before his death, and tries to do it anyway.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Zhukov gathers a bunch of magical items together to go back in time to save Empress Jessamine, his political ally at the time of his imprisonment. Unfortunately, Emily discovers that if he does this, he's going to result in the rat plague going out of control and killing everyone. Presumably, because Sokolov and Pierro never make a cure in this universe, having not met as a result of Corvo's introduction to the loyalists.
  • Human Sacrifice: A key component in Zhukov's magic.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Even after Emily tells him that saving her mother would result in the deaths of many in the Empire, Zhukov still tries to go back in time anyway, presumably because he wants to reclaim his status, no matter what the cost.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • The Tyvian Judges get away with the horrible crimes they've committed.
    • It's revealed Lady Waverly Boyle killed her stalker and kept his fortune.
  • Kick the Dog: Zhukov murders Lady Lydia Boyle for her bones and later Galia. Both may qualify as Asshole Victim types, though.
  • Madwoman in the Attic: What has become of Lady Lydia Boyle.
  • Magic Mirror: Zhukov's powers revolve around reflections, aside from disorientation.
  • Mythology Gag: Galia kills Lydia in the exact same way Corvo would in the special assassination animation in Dishonored.
  • Obviously Evil: Zhukov has a face covered in bandages, red eyeglasses, and a Tyvian great coat. He basically looks like a Russian version of Hush. Without his bandages, he looks like a walking corpse.
  • Odd Friendship: Due to their encounters in Dishonored, Corvo Attano has developed one with Slackjaw.
  • Only Sane Man: Rinaldo Escobar is the only member of Zhukov's reorganization of the Whalers who realizes there's something wrong with how he's running the organization. As a result of his lack of faith in Zhukov, he seemingly survives the plot.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Zhukov sports a pair of red pieces.
  • Red Right Hand: Zhukov's body is melted due to misusing his ability to walk through mirrors.
  • Redeeming Replacement: Yul Khulan is this to Thaddeus Campbell as High Overseer. He's still adamantly against Black Magic, but he's a Nice Guy and a friend to Corvo (unaware that Corvo is Touched by Vorlons). He even helped to raise Emily when she was growing up to be the woman she became in this book.
  • Retired Monster: Galia is a former Whaler working as a bouncer at the Golden Cat. She is all too eager to get back into the game.
  • Revenge Before Reason: As expected in Dishonored. In this case, it's Zhukov who wants revenge. Emily realizes not to make the attempt.
  • Sanity Slippage: Zhukov clearly suffered a lot of this in his time imprisoned. Lady Lydia Boyle is even worse.
  • Shout-Out: A Better Way To Die, the assassin's treatise that is quoted at the start of some chapters, is an obvious reference to The Art of War (Sun Tzu).
  • The Unchosen One: Zhukov was never chosen by the Outsider. He found the knife that he was killed with, and used it and super-powerful bone charms called "corroded charms" to gain abilities instead. Unfortunately, With Great Power Comes Great Insanity is fully in effect as a result.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Slackjaw was never really a bad guy in the original game (being one of the few most moral people), but here, he has evolved into an Odd Friendship with Corvo.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Galia suffers this when she demands the power which Zhukov promised her.