Edinburgh, 1850. Despite being at the forefront of modern medicine, hordes of patients are dying all across the city, with doctors finding their remedies powerless. But it is not just the deaths that dismay the esteemed Dr. James Simpson – a whispering campaign seeks to blame him for the death of a patient in suspicious circumstances.
Simpson’s protege Will Raven and former housemaid Sarah Fisher are determined to clear their patron’s name. But with Raven battling against the dark side of his own nature, and Sarah endeavouring to expand her own medical knowledge beyond what society deems acceptable for a woman, the pair struggle to understand the cause of the deaths.
Will and Sarah must unite and plunge into Edinburgh’s deadliest streets to clear Simpson’s name. But soon they discover that the true cause of these deaths has evaded suspicion purely because it is so unthinkable.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
This is my first encounter with authors husband and wife Chris Brookmyre and Dr. Marisa Haetzman but I will be making it a point to read the previous book in this series and any more which follows the lives of Dr. Will Raven and his assistant Sarah Fisher.
Set in Edinburgh, 1850 the story begins in Europe and a close encounter with a group of men that attack Will and his friends. In the scuffle, a man is killed by Will, but he flees and returns to Scotland. Will is a newly qualified Doctor and acquires a position with his mentor Dr. James Simpson. Sarah Fisher, a housemaid, and his lover had been told there wouldn’t be a future for them due to her lower class than him before he left. He thought it would hold him back. In the time he has been away Miss Fisher has married another Doctor. Will knows not making Sarah his wife is the biggest regret he has.
This is a book that brings everything to the table and kept me turning page after page. I was engrossed in the medical procedures, that are only three more generations back from my own timeline. It was a time when doctors had to tread a tightrope where advancements were made. This made it a gamble whether to go all out to save a life and risk their career or take the easy way out and let nature take its course. When Dr. Simpson makes a breakthrough, be it accidental, there are a couple of doctors wanting to jump on the bandwagon to discredit him and take the glory themselves. Sarah seeks the help of Will to prove his innocence. Sarah is far brighter than most of her peers but she has to tread carefully not to offend them.
There are so many characters in this story but each one is truly distinctive and bursts from the pages as large as life. From the money lenders that have holds on the rich as well as the poor, to the vast differences of equality between men and women. The smells, the frustrations of helplessness of how much a doctor can do to save a patient, to the guilty that can hide in plain sight because what they do is so unbelievable.
This story becomes a mix of medical, thriller and serial killer, with Will and Sarah making a top-quality pairing to work out the who and why is behind an increased death of patients that should have got better. The descriptions of this time period are not only fascinating but done in such a way that I absorbed it all making it all so very visual. A stunning book that I am blown away with. Very highly recommended.
I wish to thank NetGalley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHORS