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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 Armageddon Outta Here.
"They called them the Dead Men because they went on suicide missions and always came back alive."
Tanith explaining the group to Valkyrie, Skulduggery Pleasant: Mortal Coil
The Dead Men
Dead Men new
The Dead Men during The War of the Sanctuaries. From left to right, Shudder, Saracen, Ghastly, Skulduggery, Valkyrie, Ravel, Vex
Group Information
Location Ireland
Date Founded The War
Date Disbanded Before the events of Skulduggery Pleasant
Notable Members Skulduggery Pleasant, Ghastly Bespoke, Erskine Ravel, Anton Shudder, Dexter Vex, Saracen Rue, Valkyrie Cain
Former Leader(s)
Corrival Deuce
Current Leader(s)

The Dead Men were an elite group during both the war with Mevolent and the Sanctuary War. Their motto is "strike from the shadows, disappear into the darkness". When welcoming a new member they hit him across the jaw as hard as they could.


"We just found each other. That's what happens when people try to kill you - you form attachments."
— Skulduggery in Last Stand of Dead Men
When the war broke out, Skulduggery was already friends with Ghastly and Hopeless, with the latter bringing Ravel into the fold. Sometime after Skulduggery comes back from the dead, Dexter Vex became the fifth member of the group.

Later on, Saracen Rue slips down a hill and "aggressively" rolls into an encampment of Mevolent's soldiers. Shudder, who watched him do this, came to his comrade's aid. This incident led to the meeting of all seven men and the creation of their team.

However, the Dead Men weren't official until Eachan Meritorious asked for volunteers for a suicide mission. Skulduggery volunteered immediately and Ghastly, mistakenly thinking that his friend had a plan, was the second to volunteer. The other five volunteered as well. (With the supposed exception of Saracen who claims that he had been yawning and "[that] raised arm was me stretching. But they made me go anyway".)

Before they left for the mission, the group were already (discreetly) being called "Dead Men" due to no one believing they'd return. After they did return, successful and with all seven men alive - or undead, in Skulduggery's special case - the name stuck.


"Don't take our name too seriously. We actually do our best not to die."
— Ravel to Valkyrie

The Dead Men in 1861

The Dead Men received their name because they went on suicide missions but always came back alive. This was not always the case as Hopeless and Larrikin were killed in action and Skulduggery was killed at home. Dead Men took orders from Corrival Deuce, he was one of the few they did.

It was revealed that Larrikin was the comedian of the group, as recalled by Dexter, Ghastly and Skulduggery at the Requiem Ball. He was known to wind up Anton, by leaning in and whispering something in his ear in the middle of a dangerous mission. One of his antics was known as 'Shudder's Birthday'. In 1850, all the members of the Dead Men were down in France, huddled in a field. They had been in that spot for three days, and all of them, excluding Skulduggery, were wet and hungry. On the third day, Larrikin decided that it was Anton's birthday. Although their targets were passing by, Larrikin insisted he sing Anton a happy birthday song. He then proceeded to hug Anton, which showed Anton not being a hugging person. The hugging lead into an intensely quiet wrestling match between the two. When Larrikin was in a chokehold, he pulled out a very crushed bun that he had been hiding for three days and put a candle in it, saying that it was Anton's cake. It was the only time that they had seen Anton smile while on a mission.

The Dead Men always has seven members, with Larrikin being brought on in cases such as Skulduggery being missing, or Ravel healing from injuries. Larrikin became a permanent member of the team after Hopeless died, only to later die by Serpine's hand.

Both Hopeless and Larrikin are dead prior to the events of the first book.

Last Stand of Dead Men

During the war with the Sanctuaries, Ravel forms the Dead Men again with Valkyrie Cain as a new member. They fly to France and complete many successful missions during the war, so much that they are the main threat to the other Sanctuaries. However, Ravel betrays the group by revealing that he is The Man with Golden Eyes and orders the Cleavers to kill Anton Shudder and he himself kills Ghastly Bespoke with a knife to the throat.

The Seige of Roarhaven

After the deaths of Bespoke and Shudder, the disappearance of Cain and the betrayal of Ravel, the Dead Men disbanded, with only Pleasent, Rue and Vex surviving. Despite this, during the Seige of Roarhaven, the three former Dead Men, along with the Monster Hunters, Donegan Bane and Gracious O'Callahan, Fletcher Renn and Stephanie Edgley served in a similar capacity, taking on the Warlock Leader Charivari alone. This group, whilst unofficial, continued to operate until at least the defeat of Darquesse, with Valkyrie Cain replacing Stephanie Edgley after the latter was presumed dead.

Former Members


Original Members

Later Members

  • Larrikin (Filled in for Ravel and Pleasant, Permanent member following death of Hopeless, deceased)
  • Valkyrie Cain (In 2013, turned into Darquesse)


  • When welcoming a new Dead Man, the tradition was to hit them on the jaw as hard as possible.
  • There were only ever seven active members at any one time during the war.
  • Deuce was generally considered a leader and not counted in the above figure.
  • Whenever the Dead Men are in the field, leadership falls to Skulduggery Pleasant.
  • Although not technically part of the Dead Men, during the siege of Roarhaven a group with a similar method of operation was briefly formed. This group consisted of three former Dead Men, Skulduggery Pleasant, Saracen Rue and Dexter Vex in addition to Gracious O'Callahan, Donegan Bane, Fletcher Renn and Stephanie Edgley.