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The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein


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Another dazzling example of the power of Peter Ackroyd's imagination - a brilliant novel written in the voice of Victor Frankenstein himself. Shelley and Mary Shelley are characters in the story.

About the Author

Peter Ackroyd is an award-winning novelist, as well as a broadcaster, biographer, poet and historian.The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein has affinities with Hawksmoor, an equally creepy and brilliant historical novel, which won both the Guardian fiction prize and the Whitbread Novel of the Year, and with Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem, an East End novel which is imagined with equal power and ingenuity. His most recent novels are The Fall of Troy, The Lambs of London and the bestselling The Clerkenwell Tales. He is the author of the acclaimed non-fiction bestsellers, Thames- Sacred River and London- The Biography. He has a CBE for services to literature.


In Ackroyd's new page-turner, readers are taken on a heart-stopping journey through early 19th-century England, where, at Oxford, a young Victor Frankenstein is befriended by budding poet/atheist Shelley. Both men must experiment-Shelley with his revolutionary lyrics and ideas and Frankenstein with theories about the creation of life from electricity. Writing in beautiful prose with a voice appropriate to the era, Ackroyd allows Frankenstein to narrate the tale of his experiment gone horrendously awry. As the body count mounts, Frankenstein tries to undo his work, all the while mingling with the likes of Lord Byron, Shelley's wives, and other notables. And when the reader comes to the end of the novel, the question remains: was there actually a monster, or was it all a function of the creator's dementia? Verdict Noted novelist/biographer Ackroyd specializes in speculative novels (e.g., Chatterton) in which historical figures, supernatural beings, and madmen mingle together on the streets of London. As in Laurie Sheck's recent A Monster's Notes, the reader is here encouraged to sympathize with the monster. Essential for Ackroyd fans and readers who can't get enough of Frankenstein's monster. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/09.]-Andrea Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib. Overland Park, KS Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

"A thrilling concoction . . . Ackroyd's telling of the tale is a worthy revival. I found his book so creepy that I kept the bedroom light on all night."
-- "Daily Express"

"From the Trade Paperback edition."

Medical student Victor Frankenstein imbibes fellow student "Bysshe" Shelley's belief in "the perfectability of mankind" and strives "to create a being of infinite benevolence" in this recasting of Mary Shelley's horror classic from Ackroyd (First Light). When Victor reanimates the body of acquaintance Jack Keat, he's so horrified at the implications of his Promethean feat that he abandons his creation. Outraged, the Keat creature shadows Victor as an avenging doppelg%nger, bringing misery and death to those dearest to him. Ackroyd laces his narrative intelligently with the Romantic ideals of Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, and deftly interweaves Victor's fictional travails with events of the well-known 1816 meeting between the poets that inspired Mary to draft her landmark story. His hasty surprise ending may strike some readers as a cheat, though most will agree that his novel is a brilliant riff on ideas that have informed literary, horror and science fiction for nearly two centuries. (Oct.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Adult/High School-Ackroyd merges historical fiction with literary license to create an alternative reality in which Victor Frankenstein is one of Percy Shelley's schoolmates and close friends. In this retelling of the legend, Shelley is the one who first gives Frankenstein the idea of creating a monster. Soon, both Frankenstein and the Monster are deeply entwined in the lives of the Shelleys and Lord Byron, becoming the cause of many of the strange occurrences that take place in their lives, including the inspiration for Mary Shelley's book. Ackroyd's characters are intriguing, and his depiction of the time period reveals careful research. This book is a fascinating blending of Shelley's original novel, pulling occasional direct quotes from it, and a speculation about the real-life people who were involved in its creation. This is an excellent choice for anyone who enjoys Gothic, historical, or alternative fiction.-Kelliann Bogan, Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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