Resurrection Men, by T. K. Welsh, is a mystery set in London in the 1830s, at a time when body-snatchers sold corpses to doctors eager to learn. Victor is a plucky young Italian boy who endures a series of horrific events. His parents are killed in front of him, and he's forced into life as a cabin boy. When an accident damages his leg, crippling him, he's thrown callously overboard, no longer of use. Rescued, and then sold again, he ends up a professional beggar in London. Only his friends, Rebecca and Nico, keep Victor going. At least until a wealthy gentleman takes an interest in him.
T. K. Welsh doesn't shrink from depicting the horrors and dangers faced by beggar children in the city: police and criminals and filth and beatings, to name a few. But these ordinary perils pale in comparison to the challenge faced by Victor and his friends in Resurrection Men. Victor, Nico, and Rebecca each have their own strengths, and Victor in particular comes across as a boy who anyone would be proud to know.
I found this story gripping and fast-paced, filled with intriguing historical details. Several of the characters, as well as the general atmosphere of the book, feel menacing. You can practically smell the smells, and feel the hair rising on the back of your neck, as you read this book. The ending is utterly satisfying and consistent. Highly recommended for fans of historical fiction.
© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.