Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Review: The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry


Title: The Way of All Flesh
Author: Ambrose Parry
Series: Will Raven, #1
Published: October 2018, Canongate Books
Format: ARC Paperback, 416 pages
Source: Publisher

Summary:
Edinburgh, 1847. City of Medicine, Money, Murder.

Young women are being discovered dead across the Old Town, all having suffered similarly gruesome ends. In the New Town, medical student Will Raven is about to start his apprenticeship with the brilliant and renowned Dr Simpson.

Simpson's patients range from the richest to the poorest of this divided city. His house is like no other, full of visiting luminaries and daring experiments in the new medical frontier of anaesthesia. It is here that Raven meets housemaid Sarah Fisher, who recognises trouble when she sees it and takes an immediate dislike to him. She has all of his intelligence but none of his privileges, in particular his medical education.

With each having their own motive to look deeper into these deaths, Raven and Sarah find themselves propelled headlong into the darkest shadows of Edinburgh's underworld, where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to make it out alive.



My thoughts: I picked this up at Book Expo last spring because it reminded me a bit of  the mini-series The Alienist, which I had watched with my husband - I know it's also a book of the same name by Caleb Carr, but I have yet to read that, though it is on my list. I really enjoyed the show and wanted to give this book a try and I'm so glad I did as I really liked it!

I love a good mystery...if you've been following me for any amount of time, you know that. But set a mystery in Victorian times and add in a medical apprenticeship and you just hooked me even more! There is just something about that time period that makes mysteries so atmospheric, and when you layer in the medical field as it was, it becomes uber fascinating. 

I loved the two main characters - Will Raven (how cool is this name???) and Sarah Fisher. Both are dynamic characters that end up balancing each other out. Will is a young medical apprentice who has many demons in his past. Sarah is a housemaid who has much grander aspirations. She works for the doctor that Will is doing his apprenticeship for, and while the two don't necessarily become fast friends when they first meet, through a series of events, realize they do and can work well together to uncover some rather unsavory truths.

I liked how this book stays true to its time. It's set in the late 1840's and true anesthesia has not yet come into play. They are just starting to use chloroform instead of ether, hoping it proves to be safer for the patients. It is so fascinating how they just test this...no trials done - just give it to a patient and hope for the best. This novel is certainly not for the faint of heart, as at times it goes into gruesome details of some surgical practices. It definitely made me cringe a time or two, but I loved it all the same!

This was a clever, engaging first book in what I think is going to be a really good, thrilling series. It's as much enjoyable as it is informative, with the classification of being both historical fiction and crime fiction. I've read that this might be a 7-8 book series and if so, I'm all in!!! I love a good, long series, especially when you have such engaging characters as we have in Will and Sarah!


Books in this series:
  1. The Way of All Flesh
  2. The Art of Dying -- due out Aug 2019???

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1 comment

  1. This sounds like an intense mystery set in Victorian times. Wonderful review, Kristin!

    ReplyDelete

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