The Resurrectionist is an interesting book. It’s essentially two books fused together. The first half being a biography of the fictional “Dr Spencer Black” starting at his childhood spent robbing graves and chronicling his descent into madness. The second half contains Dr Black’s lost work “The Codex Extinct Animalia”.
The overall story is that Dr Spencer Black becomes the leading expert in human physical adnormalities. However unlike the normal idea that these are just random mutations Dr Black decides that these abnormalities are in fact the remnants of the evolutionary cousins of man, which Spencer thinks are actually mytholgical creatures. With this idea he get’s laughed out of the medical community. Then he decided the only way to prove his idea is to create mythological creatures out of animals, then make live mytholgical creatures from animals, then make live mythilogical creatures from humans à la Frankenstein.
The Codex Extinct Animalia is a series on anotomical drawings oth mythological creatures. It’s this part of the book that really sold it to me when I was thinking about buying it. I love macabre art and these drawings are incredibly creepy. Depending on how much you like this part depends on how artistic or scientifically minded you are. I saw one review of this complain that ” once you’ve seen one detailed drawing of a skeleton, you’ve seen them all” I disagree, the way that the artist managed to fit the anatomy of such massively diferent animals together so realistically they really work as brilliant (if a little grotesque) pieces of art. However my problem with this section is it has a grasp on science similar to Gillian McKeith’s. At no point does The Codex Extinct Animalia explain how a pair of wings is meant to lift a fully grown female human, or fully grown horse off the ground. That would require shoulder muscles that wouldn’t fit into those bodies. At this point I do understand that Dr Black is meant to be insane but we’re also told that he’s an insane genius so surely he should know this stuff.
This book is essentially a clever fake that let’s us all know it’s a fake. What with the well made fake newspaper pages and drawings that simply exist to flesh out the fictional life of Dr Black and make it all seem more realistic. if this book had been released claiming to be an actual real biography I’m sure some people would have believed it. However it tells us it’s a fake allowing us all to enjoy the work put into it rather tear it apart to disprove it.
How much you’ll like this book depends on how much you like gothic fiction and macabre artwork. Even though I really like this book I will recomend you to try and find it at a low price because you’ll only really read it once every six months. However depending on how much you like the art you may pull it out from time to time to just appreciate the drawings. If you can find it for about £10 I’d recomend it. Anymore than that and you’re just going to feel cheated.