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"You are not to look the master in the eye."
This article contains spoilers! Please, refrain yourself from reading its content if you haven't read Skulduggery Pleasant: Last Stand of Dead Men.
The Black Cleaver
Character Information
Species Human (formerly), Experimental Zombie
Gender Male
Birth Created in Skulduggery Pleasant
Age Unknown
Magic Cleaver's powers, necromancy healing powers
Weapons Scythe
Location Unknown

The Black Cleaver, formerly known as the White Cleaver, is a strong, powerful and undead Cleaver that has been the subject of experiments by Nefarian Serpine, granting it regenerative powers that allow it to repair any damage it sustains.

It has had a number of masters including Necromancers, Erskine Ravel and China Sorrows.



The White Cleaver was originally one of the two Cleavers sent to help Tanith Low rescue Skulduggery Pleasant. The Cleavers were used as a distraction by Tanith to distract a small army of Hollow Men shortly after the mission started and although Tanith hated the decision she reluctantly said "that the Cleavers had a job to do and they had theirs". The Cleavers stood back to back and despite being heavily outnumbered, inflicted heavy casualties to the Hollow Men. One of the Cleavers was killed. However, one was needed to test Serpine's experiment. The Hollow Men carried the Cleaver to Nefarian Serpine where he conducted the surgery, changing the Cleaver from a fierce enforcer to a glassy-eyed test subject. Serpine killed the Cleaver for the final procedure. Minutes passed and Serpine saw a slight movement and to his pleasure, the Cleaver blinked. So came the White Cleaver - a "pet" to Serpine and a new powerful enemy for Skulduggery and Valkyrie. The Cleaver due to its odd creation had shown some strange signs. It is clearly undead, yet Serpine stated that he would never dig in with the freaks of that nature. This may hint that the Cleaver can show some signs of life, for example, pain.

Under Serpine's Command

Shortly after its creation, the White Cleaver was sent to ambush Skulduggery and kill Valkyrie in an attempt to weaken him into a rage; for he knew that in rage Skulduggery would be weaker than normal. While Skulduggery, Ghastly, Valkryie, and Tanith were investigating the warehouse in which the surgery took place the Cleaver dropped down from the roof, Valkyrie quickly noticed it and raised the alarm, allowing the others to quickly react to this unusual Cleaver's presence. Noticing that the assassin was one of the Cleaver's from the castle rescue Skulduggery attempted to reason with it. When he asked what the Cleaver wanted, he pointed at Valkyrie, which Skulduggery merely replied "That's all we need to know" with the three fighters attempting to best their undead assassin. But in the end, they were all beaten, and Ghastly was forced to use the protective Earth Elemental magic, which turned him into a statue. At the end of Skulduggery Pleasant, the White Cleaver battles Tanith Low. The Cleaver proves too powerful for her and stabs Tanith with his scythe, and nearly kills her. The White Cleaver is summoned by Serpine during the final fight. It is told to kill Stephanie, but when Serpine ordered the final blow, it ignored and deserted him.

With The Necromancers

For long after this it was speculated that it had actually found some willpower. The White Cleaver reappeared during the meeting with the Necromancers, where Skulduggery and Valkyrie find out what truly happened to it. The Necromancers who created it ordered it not to kill Stephanie. The White Cleaver later joined the Necromancers' side at the Battle of Aranmore Farm, along with Skulduggery and Valkyrie. It also saved Tanith who was just about to be killed by Murder Rose.

Mortal Coil

The White Cleaver made a small appearance guarding High Priest Auron Tenebrae.

Death Bringer

The White Cleaver became bodyguard to Vandameer Craven after Tenebrae's death. Later Solomon Wreath attacked Craven but then the White Cleaver appeared out of nowhere and swung his scythe at Solomon Wreath and then Wreath retreated. At the Requiem Ball, the White Cleaver was ordered to hold off a squad of Rippers so the Necromancers could escape. They surrounded him but he easily overpowered them and then followed Melancholia St Clair and the others into the Caves of the Void under Gordon's house. He eventually met up with Valkyrie Cain and Melancholia and decapitated Vaurien Scapegrace.

During her escape from the caves below Gordon Edgley's house, Melancholia ordered the White Cleaver to delay Lord Vile. However, despite being able to heal himself from any injury, Vile's power proved to be too great. Using his Necromancy, Vile tore the Cleaver apart with a mere flick of his wrist.

The White Cleaver's death was made unclear when Vaurien Scapegrace traded its remains to Doctor Nye as he claimed its parts were still twitching and showed signs of life.

Kingdom Of The Wicked

The White Cleaver's body was gathered by Vaurien Scapegrace and Thrasher so that they could trade it for a new body to Doctor Nye. Nye agreed and took the body away to work on him later. He was not seen again in the book. Scapegrace believed that the White Cleaver is still alive, having seen some of the more complete parts twitching repeatedly. It is possible that if Nye can rebuild The White Cleaver then it will be fully functional again, and would also mean that The White Cleaver is practically immortal.

Last Stand of Dead Men

Having been brought back to life by Nye, the Black Cleaver (having changed his uniform's color) now served as Erskine Ravel's personal bodyguard. He took out Ghastly's men and later fought Skulduggery. Although he managed to best the Skeleton Detective, before the Black Cleaver can kill him, Skulduggery used Necromancy to slam him against the wall with "enough force to break every bone in his body." However, with his uniform and healing abilities, it is likely that he survived.

The Dying of the Light

He is seen by China Sorrows side many times. He later after Nye escapes takes orders from him to kill China as a favor for Eliza Scorn for breaking him out. He attacks China and Tanith. China is wounded and Tanith is one on one with The Black Cleaver. He beats her and just as he is about to kill her Sanguine walks around the corner with the God-Killer Dagger. He then kills Sanguine when he cuts his throat. He follows Tanith to the Cleaver Barracks. When he arrives Tanith is standing in the combat circle and undressing. He undresses and has no protective clothing. After a while, Tanith decides to cheat by stepping out of the circle. The cleaver does not kill her because that would go against his training. The Battle ends when Tanith cuts his head off. There is a possibility he could have survived, despite his decapitation, since he was ripped apart by Lord Vile and survived.

Powers and Equipment

As a product of alteration the Cleaver was nearly impossible to destroy because of its Necromancy healing powers. Not only did the Cleaver get shot and survive with little to no wounds, it survived being impaled by its own scythe. It is highly likely to have obtained increased strength and agility from the operation as other Cleavers do not demonstrate its skill in combat. It's a highly dangerous opponent with his scythe or hand-to-hand combat to the point where it defeated Ghastly Bespoke, Skulduggery Pleasant, and Tanith Low with little difficulty. In it's second battle with Tanith the Cleaver defeated and nearly killed her. It carries the same equipment of the original Cleavers, albeit the coat and visor are white, which later is darkened to black. Dreylan Scarab said that some zombies are capable of powers that the cleaver possesses so it is possible that the cleaver is a zombie of sorts. It has also possibly survived being nearly annihilated by Lord Vile, and thus may possess actual immortality and might actually be impossible to destroy.

Behind the Scenes

Despite the rumors about his death in the end of The Death Bringer, Derek Landy announced that the White Cleaver will appear in at least one of the following books, as he is essentially unstoppable. He said that as the protagonists become stronger they will need more threatening opponents. Thus in Kingdom of the Wicked, the White Cleaver returned. Vaurien Scapegrace and Thrasher, after being attacked in Death Bringer, collected all the destroyed pieces of the White Cleaver and offered it as payment to Doctor Nye to transplant their brains. Nye succeeded and created the Black Cleaver.


Death Bringer
Kingdom of the Wicked Front Cover
Last Stand of Dead Men Cover
The Dying of the Light Cover
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