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Raven's Reviews: The Resurrectionist by A. Rae Dunlap

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 Stars


Set against the historic backdrop of 19th-century Edinburgh, Scotland, the love story of James Willoughby and Aneurin “Nye” MacKinnon is a breathtaking journey filled with adventure, humor, and excitement. The characters are magnetic, drawing readers into a richly woven narrative that is as enlightening as it is entertaining. While I reveled in the book and eagerly anticipate a sequel, I recognize that its dark themes rooted in the macabre history of real serial killers William Burke and William Hare may not appeal to all.


The tale begins in an era marked by the dawn of modern medicine, where Nye and James, from disparate social backgrounds, forge a bond through their shared zeal for medical knowledge. Their dangerous livelihood as resurrectionists—supplying a medical school with cadavers—intertwines their fates with the infamous Burke and Hare, setting the stage for a story of love, courage, and resilience.


The narrative does not shy away from the visceral realities of the era, depicting blood-soaked scenes of dissection and the grim trade of body snatching with unflinching detail. These elements, while potentially unsettling, add a layer of authenticity to the story, making it a compelling read for those with a fascination for the macabre.


Having witnessed surgerical procedures firsthand as a surgical assistant, I found this novel’s exploration of anatomization particularly gripping. The enthralling depiction of the shadowy world of body snatching, combined with the personal saga of two young men caught in a struggle for power and recognition, renders this book an unforgettable experience. It earns my wholehearted recommendation.


Triggers: alcoholism, drug use, disection, killing of innocents, body snatching, grave digging, serial killing.

I received this book as an Advanced Reader Copy.

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