Monday, January 13, 2014

The Resurrectionist by E.B. Hudspeth

The Resurrectionist is two books in one novel.  The first part of the book is a biography of a genius who studies medicine, Dr. Spenser Black.  He studies in the 1870's and is at first revered at the university for his knowledge.  But he becomes obsessed with the thought that deformities were not mistakes, but views into the mythical creatures who once existed.  He started focusing all his research on this topic, and soon lost favor with the established medical community.

Leaving the college, he joins sideshows, where he exhibits oddities like Siamese twins and those with extra arms or legs.  Soon, that is not enough, and he uses his formidable medical skills to create mergers of animals and humans.  This experiments led to him being chased from place to place and always one step ahead of the law.  He ends up reviled and lonely, having given his life to the obsession he believes in.

The second half of the book are incredibly detailed panels showing the anatomical structure of the creatures he believed existed in reality, at least in some distant future.  Each creature's chapter starts with a definition and Dr. Black's connection to it.  It is shown artistically, with its scientific classification.  Then pages of drawings show it in various views; skeletal, muscular, internal organs, etc.  Some of the creatures include mermaids, dragons, sphinxes, minotaurs, Ganeshas, chimeras, Pegasuses and harpies. 

E.B. Hudspeth has created a fascinating world in which strange things are true.  The character of Dr. Black is interesting as the reader watches his obsessions take over his life.  But the true joy in this book are the intricately imagined and rendered drawings of the various creatures.  This book is recommended for fantasy and horror readers.

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