The Resurrectionist

The Resurrectionist

by A. Rae Dunlap
The Resurrectionist

The Resurrectionist

by A. Rae Dunlap


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In the tradition of The Alienist and Anatomy: A Love Story, a decadently macabre, dark and twisty gothic debut set in 19th century Scotland – when real-life serial killers Burke and Hare terrorized the streets of Edinburgh – as a young medical student is lured into the illicit underworld of body snatching.

Historical fiction, true crime, and dark academia intertwine in a harrowing tale of murder, greed, and the grisly origins of modern medicine for readers of Lydia Kang, ML Rio, Sarah Perry, and C.E. McGill.

Portrait of the Medical Student as a Young Body Snatcher

Yet I must insist that in the end, this is not a story about Death. It is perhaps a Life story, or even—yes—a Love story. It is the story of how I clawed my way from the decay of a crumbling legacy into the modern era of Reason and Science. It is the story of how I escaped the prison of archaic superstition to the freedom of enlightenment. It is the story of how a rose can blossom from even the bloodiest soil, of how light can grow from shadow, how love can grow from despair.

This, dear reader, is the story of my Resurrection.

Edinburgh, Scotland, 1828. Naïve but determined James Willoughby has abandoned his posh, sheltered life at Oxford to pursue a lifelong dream of studying surgery in Edinburgh. A shining beacon of medical discovery in the age of New Enlightenment, the city’s university offers everything James desires—except the chance to work on a human cadaver. For that, he needs to join one of the private schools in Surgeon’s Square, at a cost he cannot afford. In desperation, he strikes a deal with Aneurin “Nye” MacKinnon, a dashing young dissectionist with an artist’s eye for anatomy and a reckless passion for knowledge. Nye promises to help him gain the surgical experience he craves—but it doesn’t take long for James to realize he’s made a devil’s bargain . . .

Nye is a body snatcher. And James has unwittingly become his accomplice. Intoxicated by Nye and his noble mission, James rapidly descends into the underground ranks of the Resurrectionists—the body snatchers infamous for stealing fresh corpses from churchyards to be used as anatomical specimens. Before he knows it, James is caught up in a life-or-death scheme as rival gangs of snatchers compete in a morbid race for power and prestige.

James and Nye soon find themselves in the crosshairs of a shady pair of unscrupulous opportunists known as Burke and Hare, who are dead set on cornering the market, no matter the cost. These unsavory characters will do anything to beat the competition for bodies. Even if it’s cold-blooded murder . . .

Exquisitely macabre and delightfully entertaining, The Resurrectionist combines fact and fiction in a rollicking tale of the risks and rewards of scientific pursuit, the passions of its boldest pioneers, and the anatomy of human desire.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496750341
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 12/24/2024
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 202,116
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

A. Rae Dunlap studied film and Victorian literature at Northwestern University and spends her days as a trailer editor at Disney, bringing to life the magic of the world’s most influential storytellers for audiences everywhere. She lives with her husband in a small mountain town in California and can be found online at
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