From the acclaimed author of Daniel O'Thunder comes a rollicking, bawdy, and haunting novel about love and redemption, death and resurrection.
The great metropolis of London swaggers with Regency abandon as nineteen-year-old Will Starling returns from the Napoleonic Wars having spent five years assisting a military surgeon. Charming, brash, and damaged, Will is helping his mentor build a medical practice — and a life — in the rough Cripplegate area. To do so requires an alliance with the Doomsday Men: body snatchers that supply surgeons and anatomists with human cadavers.
After a grave robbing goes terribly awry and a prostitute is accused of murder, Will becomes convinced of an unholy conspiracy that traces its way back to Dionysus Atherton, the brightest of London's rising surgical stars. Wild rumours begin to spread of experiments upon the living and of uncanny sightings in London's dark streets.
Will's obsessive search for the truth twists through alleyways, brothels, and charnel houses, towards a shattering discovery — about Dionysus Atherton and about Will, himself.
Steeped in scientific lore, laced with dark humour, Will Starling is historical fiction like none other.
"Ian Weir has an uncanny ear for the earthy slang of Regency London. His characters are as engaging as the Artful Dodger or Fagin or Martin Chuzzlewit. This is not the polite England of Jane Austen or George Eliot, but an earthy romp through hangings, body snatchings, gin-soaked whores, and pitiful foundlings."
'Mighty swinging bollocks, what a book! Will Starling drops you straight into the heart of London in the year 1816, detailing the sights, sounds, and smells (oh, the smells!) with an anatomist's eye for detail. Ian Weir's crackerjack novel is many things: a whodunit, a penny dreadful, a scrupulous historical narrative — but most of all and most simply, it is a rollicking, fireballing, big-hearted book that's just a hell of a lot of fun to read. And by thunder, what more can a reader ask for?"
"Ian Weir crafts a wonderfully, thrillingly fun — if truly smelly and gross — romp. The cadaver trade, slit throats, stabbings, cudgelings, bodies dangling from nooses, a villainous, hubristic surgeon named Dionysus Atherton, Resurrection Men, Doomsday Men, and the Boogle-Eyed Man, unholy scientific exploration, a could-be zombie, a deranged housekeeper hooked on laudanum, and a clockwork of machinations fill Will's clever and masterfully told 'lurid tale.'"
"I know of no one else in Canada today who writes like Ian Weir. Will Starling is a rollicking romp through the English language, an earthy, bawdy, brain-bending delight."
"Like the boy who gives the book its name, Will Starling is quick on its feet, and takes pride in always staying one step ahead of whoever it's telling its story to. ... Weir's writing is so springy, and his vision so panoramic, that you won't care that the novel makes you feel as though you've got dirt under your fingernails just from reading it. Yet amid the muck, Will Starling also presents a ringing and surprisingly touching endorsement of science over legend and anecdote."
"We're in 1816 Regency London, and young Will, back from the Napoleonic war on the continent, is engaged in setting up a clinic in London's dodgy Cripplegate. Weir has written a note-perfect historical novel of body snatching, murder and evil fun."
"Will Starling is a sly, spirited hero who leaps off the page to take you on a riveting journey through London's glorious, hair-raising underbelly — surgeons' salons, gin shops, and the puzzle of Death itself — and straight into the nature of storytelling. Weir's prose is both raw and lyrical; his evocation of Regency London, magnificent. Will Starling is a must read."
"A rollicking good yarn with many twists and turns, Will Starling is a kaleidoscope of beautiful ghastliness. It's a lot of fun and a tale well told."