‘The Art of Dying’ is the second book by Ambrose Parry (the pseudonym for a writing duo) that follows Will Raven, now a fully fledged doctor, and his rather intense, dramatic and volatile day to day life! It’s never dull and, as in the first book, Will is battling with the darkness that keeps invading his life.
I enjoyed the first book ‘The Way of All Flesh’ so was really looking forward to reading this one, and there’re no disappointments. This is another detailed historical novel, set in 1850s Edinburgh, that draws in real advances and thoughts in medical procedures of the day and the use of chloroform on patients.
Since the events at the end of the first book, Will has been travelling, advancing his medical knowledge and training. Dramatic events lead to his return to Edinburgh and he’s back working with Dr Simpson, a character based on the real life Dr James Young Simpson; professor of Midwifery at Edinburgh University.
Will also yearns to see Sarah again, a woman he regrets leaving and he’s not at all content with his reasons for leaving her. However, their reunion is not the one he expected and there’re more ups and downs to come.
At the heart of this book is a serial killer, and their voice becomes part of the narrative as well. I was really engrossed in the psychology of this aspect. I loved that the villain of the story is also based on an actual 19th century mass-murderer. I loved the merging parts of the story-telling and the build up to a dramatic climax.
So, I devoured this book in one sitting; I couldn’t turn the pages quickly enough!
Loved the setting, the characters, the historical detail, the plotting of the crimes and the excitement of the ending. Better than the first book! Can’t wait for the next! I’ll definitely be buying myself a copy on publication day! This also works really well as a stand-alone too.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Canongate for this advanced e-copy to review