The Reckoning of WM. STARLING, Esq., a Foundling, concerning Monstrous Crimes and Infernal Aspirations, with Perpetrators Named and Shrouded Infamies disclosed to Light of Day, as set down by his Own Hand in this year 1816Reminiscent of SusannaMoreThe Reckoning of WM. STARLING, Esq., a Foundling, concerning Monstrous Crimes and Infernal Aspirations, with Perpetrators Named and Shrouded Infamies disclosed to Light of Day, as set down by his Own Hand in this year 1816Reminiscent of Susanna Clarkes Jonathan Strange and Mr.
Norrell, this haunting story will transport readers to 1816 London. Based on meticulous research steeped in scientific lore, this is a novel about love and redemption, death and resurrection. The Napoleonic War is over, Romanticism is at its high tide, and the great city of London is charged with the thrill of scientific discovery and Regency abandon. Into this milieu, the nineteen-year-old foundling Will Starling returns from the Continent, having spent five years assisting military surgeon Alec Comrie.
Cocky, charming and damaged, Will is helping Comrie build a civilian practice--and a life--in Londons rough Cripplegate area. This means entering into an uneasy alliance with the Doomsday Men: grave robbers who supply Londons surgeons and anatomists with cadavers for dissection.
When a grave robbing goes terribly wrong, it sets in motion a sequence of events that leads to the murder of a moneylender and the arrest of a young woman, Meg Nancarrow. As Meg is sentenced to hang, Will grows convinced that she is the innocent victim of an unholy conspiracy, and that the conspiracy traces itself back to Dionysus Atherton, an old university friend of Comries and the brightest of Londons emerging surgical stars. There are wild rumours about Atherton: whispers of experiments on corpses not quite dead--indeed, on corpses wide awake and wailing--in a bid to unlock the mystery of death itself.
Will works obsessively to ferret out the truth, aided by an aspiring actress and occasional Cyprian named Annie Smollet. The investigation twists and turns through brothels and charnel houses and the mansions of Mayfair, to a final confrontation and a shocking truth--about Dionysus Atherton, and about Will himself.