Dr. Spencer Black is an enigma. Raised by a father who robbed graves to learn anatomy and then trained in the medical sciences himself, Black turned from common scientific thought to advance his own bizarre theory– that the famous beasts of mythology were in fact evolutionary forebears of humans. Falling deeper into madness, the surgeon would stop at nothing to advance his theories.
The Resurrectionist is a truly unique book, combining a biography of the character with work created by the character himself. With echoes of Frankenstein, the book is a chilling tale that mixes science fiction horror with fantasy.
Why is this on our bookshelf?
For anyone curious about mythical beasts, the anatomical drawings are exquisite. Seeing the skeletal structure and musculature of creatures like the Pegasus (Pegasus Gorgonis) sketched out as a anatomical drawing is thrilling. They remind me of the cover of A Natural History of Dragons but they are much more detailed with precise labels.
Rating (4 stars)
My local library lists this book as Fantasy, so I followed their lead. That being said, this book doesn’t really feel like a fantasy book, although fantasy fans will no doubt be drawn to it. Main character Spencer Black is shrouded in mystery– he seems to be a madman, and he mysteriously disappears right before the publication of his masterpiece, The Codex Extinct Animalia.
The book itself is highly unusual. It is heavily illustrated and actually consists of two disparate parts. At the very end, the reader is drawn to a mysterious, but chilling conclusion about the very nature of Dr. Black’s experiments.
I applaud innovations in storytelling, and I think in this case, it works. However, I felt that more content (more mythological sketches!) would have been nice. However, its a perfect book to read on a cold windy night, by flickering candlelight as you hear an unknown beast howl an unearthly…ahem. Sorry for getting caught up in the mood there.
Read this book:
on a cold windy night, by flickering candlelight as you hear an unknown beast howl an unearthly sound into the blackness…. and I’ll just stop there.
Don't Read this book:
If you like your fantasy characters to wield swords, not scalpels.
Once you're done, do this:
Open the book up again and study the beautiful anatomical drawings for the third time.