The brilliant anatomist Dr. Thomas Silkstone returns in Tessa Harris’s vivid and compelling mystery series set in 1780s London. . .
It is not just the living who are prey to London’s criminals and cutpurses. Corpses, too, are fair game–dug up from fresh graves and sold to unscrupulous men of science. Dr. Thomas Silkstone abhors such methods, but his leading rival, Dr. John Hunter, has learned of the imminent death of eight-foot-tall Charles Byrne, known as the “Irish Giant,” and will go to any lengths to obtain the body for his research.
Thomas intends to see that Byrne is allowed to rest in peace. Yet his efforts are complicated by concern for his betrothed, Lady Lydia Farrell, who breaks off their engagement without explanation. When Dr. Hunter is implicated in the horrific murder of a young castrato, Thomas must determine how far the increasingly erratic surgeon will go in the name of knowledge. For as Thomas knows too well, the blackest hearts sometimes go undetected–and even an unblemished façade can hide terrifying secrets. . .
Praise for The Anatomist’s Apprentice
“Densely plotted. . . We await–indeed, demand–the sequel.” —The New York Times Book Review
“An absorbing debut. . . Harris has more than a few tricks up her sleeve and even veteran armchair puzzle solvers are likely to be surprised.” —Publishers Weekly
“Smart misdirection and time-period appropriate medical details make for a promising start to a new series. A strong choice for readers of Ariana Franklin and Caleb Carr.” —Library Journal
“CSI meets the Age of Reason with a well-drawn, intriguing cast of characters, headed by the brilliant Dr. Thomas Silkstone. Full of twists and turns, Tessa Harris’s debut mystery can confound the most adept reader. Vivid details pulled me right into the world of early forensic sleuthing. A page turner!” –Karen Harper
“Intricate forensic details and a host of intriguing characters drive the story. The author will have you flipping the pages at each unexpected turn in the plot. . .an absorbing read with a shocking twist at the end.” —Historical Novel Reviews
“Tessa Harris has delivered a deftly plotted debut. Just when you think the puzzle is solved, she reveals yet another surprising twist which leaves you marveling at her ingenuity.” –Carol Carr, author of India Black and The Widow of Windsor
A READING GROUP GUIDE
1. What are the parallels between the powerful physicians in the novel and the multinational drug companies of today?
2. How does Thomas develop as a character in this, the second book in the series?
3. Does the course of the War of Independence affect any attitudes toward Thomas in this book?
4. Anatomists in the eighteenth century found corpses so hard to come by that they were forced to turn to grave robbers for a regular supply. Nowadays, more people donate their bodies to science. Would you?
5. Should organ donation be made compulsory?
6. Freak shows have long been considered an affront to human dignity, but in an age with little social welfare, what was the alternative for the severely disabled?
7. Charles Byrne and Count Boruwlaski both have major disabilities but are treated in very different ways. Why is this so, and how would they be treated today?
8. How far do revelations about Lydia’s past go to explain her submissive character?
9. Was John Hunter a medical visionary or an evil obsessive?
10. Charles Byrne’s skeleton remains on display in the Hunterian Museum in London to this day. Should he be given a proper burial?