Publisher: Random House UK (Vintage Digital)
Pub date: 3 Jan 2013
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Synopsis (From Random House UK)
The year is 1750.
Tristan Hart, precociously talented student of medicine practising under the legendary Dr William Hunter. His obsession is the nature of pain and preventing it; the relationship between mind and matter and the existence of God. A product of the Age of Enlightenment, he is a rational man on a quest to cut through darkness and superstition with the brilliant blade of science.
Tristan Hart, madman and deviant. His obsession is the nature of pain, and causing it. A product of an age of faeries and goblins, gnomes and shape-shifting gypsies, he is on a quest to arouse the perfect scream and slay the daemon Raw Head who torments his dark days and long nights.
Troubled visionary, twisted genius, loving sadist. What is real and what imagined in Tristan Hart’s brutal, beautiful, complex world?
This is a bizarre tale about the balance between science and superstition and between genius and madness. Tristan Hart enjoys a privileged life as the son of the Berkshire squire. As a young boy, his friendship with the rector’s son is always getting him into trouble. But when Tristan goes to London to study under the great Scottish anatomist and physician William Hunter, and Nathaniel to Oxford, they have to go their separate ways. In London, Tristan finds that he can not only study anatomy, but he can also indulge his other interest – causing pain.
Over the months, as Tristan learns medicine, his deviant behaviour also becomes unleashed. In his mind, science and fantasy find themselves jostling for space. And the reader is left wondering what is real and if Tristan will ever be able to find any balance.
The 18th century is quite the playing field for this battle. This is a time when science was winning over superstition, but Tristan’s world is filled with faeries and goblins all trying to do him harm. This is a vicious, bloody tale, filled with violence and sadism. But is also has heartfelt poetry and philosophical discussions. Chilling, scary, this book kept me awake at night contemplating the nature of man and the existence of a soul.
Read if you have a strong stomach and discussions around the metaphysical intrigue you. The Archaic Style of Writing With Initial Capitals Also Takes Some Getting Used To.
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