*Book Review* The Lazarus Curse by Tessa Harris
In 1780s London, American anatomist Dr. Thomas Silkstone is plunged into a swirling cauldron of sorcery, slavery, and cold-blooded murder…
When the sole survivor of an ill-fated scientific expedition to Jamaica goes missing upon his return to London, Dr Thomas Silkstone – entrusted with cataloging the expedition’s New World specimens – feels compelled to investigate. There are rumours of a potion that has the power to raise the dead – and the formula is suspected to be in the private journal that has disappeared along with the young botanist.
As Dr Silkstone searches for clues to the man’s whereabouts, he is drawn deeper into a dark and dangerous world of vengeance, infidelity, murder and the trafficking of corpses for profit. Without the support of his beloved Lady Lydia Farrell – from whom he has been forcibly separated by law – he must confront the horrors of slavery, as well the very depths of human wickedness. And after a headless corpse is discovered, Dr. Silkstone begins to uncover the sinister motives of those in power who would stop at nothing to possess the Lazarus potion…
The Lazarus Curse is a book that contained a lot of ‘firsts’ for me; it is the first book I’ve read set within this time period within this genre, it’s the first book I’ve read that deals with slavery in Britain, and it’s the first time I’ve read a main character that is heavily involved in science and medicine. And on the whole I’ve got to say, I really enjoyed it!
Because I was previously uninitiated into this type of book, I did find some parts of it difficult, this was due to my lack of experience with the genre as opposed to anything the author did wrong. It was strange reading about witch doctors and medical doctors, and some of the themes were almost too ‘real’; I’ll explain a little more.
I’m a reader that mainly focuses on fantasy and so while there are themes within the fantasy genre that are wholly relatable to real life, they aren’t explicit and ‘in your face’, but in The Lazarus Curse they are laid bare for you to deal with. This is new to me but is something I definitely liked about the book.
As I say, this is due to my usual reading material and less to do with the author, who I must say doesn’t focus on the graphic nature of any ordeals and approaches it tastefully and with a certain panache of one who is thoroughly entrenched within her genre.
The characters were also excellent, particularly Dr Thomas Silkstone who I found to be intriguing. He is easy to connect with and, although this is the only book I’ve read in the series, I was made to feel as though I hadn’t missed anything (aside from more great adventures) and could read this as a standalone.
Where to find Tessa Harris
Where to find The Lazarus Curse