The Resurrectionist By James Bradley.
Leaving behind his father's tragic failures, Gabriel Swift arrives in London in 1826 to study with Edwin Poll, the great anatomist. But he finds himself drawn to his master's Nemesis, Lucan, the most powerful of the city's resurrectionists and governor of its trade in stolen bodies. Dismissed by Poll, Gabriel is pulled into the sinister and mysterious underworld of Georgian London - and must make a journey that will change his life forever.
.... from the back cover.
First Sentence: "In their sacks they ride as in their mother's womb; knee to chest, head pressed down, as if ready to die is merely to return to the flesh from which we were born, and this is a second conception."
The first section of the book set in London between 1826 and 1827, is atmospheric and quite 'moody' though very gruesome - this is not a novel I would recommend for those faint of heart as it is very descriptive in it's scenes of autopsies, a 'bloody' event and especially in the Georgian period in which THE RESSURECTIONIST is set.
The characters are well written and often sinister whilst quite vulnerable at the same time whilst the plot is obviously well researched - so much so that at times one almost feels themselves there in the autopsy room or opium dens.
However, the book as a whole is let down by the second section which is set in New South Wales some ten years later. The problem being, it is not really clear how or, indeed, why Gabriel came
to be there until much later on in the section (and even then it is not totally clear) which leads to some confusion.
It, in fact, feels as if the author didn't know quite how to end the book and so decided to carry on when, in my opinion, he should have finished at the end of section one instead of carrying on until New South Wales which adds nothing whatsoever to the story. That said, it is well worth reading - if you can stomach it.
MY RATING: 3 out of a possible 5.