“You must think it strange that I’m digging up my grandfather.”
“Not at all. I’m sure many young men dig up their grandfathers.”
Thomas Timewell is a gentleman. Which is why most people would think it odd that he would revisit his grandfather’s grave (the selfsame night he was buried) and dig him back up. Most people, that is, except Plentitude, the resurrectionist (or body-snatcher).
Plentitude offers Thomas a job. Thomas refuses. But it may not be that easy to elude this dark, dangerous new world he’s entered.
But, if you think about it, Thomas really did start it.
The night he dug up his grandfather (for reasons of science as his grandfather wrote, but was ignored, in his will), Thomas Timewell became a body-snatcher.
“You’re meeting me at St Martin’s tonight. Do you know where the cenotaph to Horatio Nelson is?”
“You’re not digging him up, surely?”
“We will meet at the cenotaph at eleven o’clock. And no, we are not digging up Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson. He’s not actually buried there. Even if he was, I don’t think he’d be of much use to the medical students. For starters, he’s missing an arm.”
In My Opinion…
Author: Doug MacLeod
Genre: YA Black Comedy Fiction
For Ages: 12 +
I didn’t realize it was a comedy until I started the book. As the plot began presenting itself, the twists appeared, and the characters unveiled themselves, I started to laugh. It was just too ridiculous. And I happen to be partial to a little bit of ludicrous writing.
The characters just get more zany every minute — from Thomas, the main character, who is undoubtedly a gentlemen at every moment, to Plentitude, the body-snatcher, and even Thomas’ mother, so befuddled by her laudanum she’s completely insane. The story isn’t short of laughs, twists in the plot, action, drama, a dash (but not too seriously) of history, a blob of romance, oysters, cat-gut violin strings, digging up graves, and the occasional gunshot that might hit the most unlikely person. It’s bizarre to say the least.
The novel touches on the thought of “doing the right thing” — what it means, where it will lead you. It could lead you down a tunnel filled with rotting human heads. Or to lie down in a dead man’s coffin. Or to meet the most beautiful women on earth only to offend her by disliking a book.
I’d definitely recommend this book. But don’t be fooled. It’s hardly sinister. It’s more of a black comedy, set in England 1828, with an adventure you’re not likely to find anywhere else. A truly remarkable, original piece.
“I can’t possible kill a man. I’ve never fired a pistol in my life.”
“They won’t know that.”