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The Anatomist's Apprentice (Dr. Thomas Silkstone #1)

3.25 of 5 stars 3.25  ·  rating details  ·  4,284 ratings  ·  674 reviews
The death of Sir Edward Crick has unleashed a torrent of gossip throughout Oxfordshire. No one mourns the dissolute young man--except his sister, Lady Lydia Farrell. When her husband comes under suspicion of murder, Lydia seeks expert help from Dr. Thomas Silkstone, a young anatomist from Philadelphia.
Paperback, 310 pages
Published January 2012 by Kensington (first published January 1st 2011)
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Things that drove me crazy about this book:

1 - The title. Dr. Silkstone is highly regarded in his field and pretty much does his own thing in this book, with a couple of mentors (who basically are just there as window-dressing), so who is supposed to be the apprentice?

2 - The romance. Wow - this was a tacked on, unnecessary invention (I wonder if the publisher thought it would sell better?). There was nothing like a developing interest - it was way too fast - and it really didn't add anything t
It's a sad fact that my complainy reviews are often much longer than my happy ones. Perhaps it's easier to see where something goes off the tracks than to see why something stays humming along; that might be part of why there are so few truly great books. Perhaps it's just catharsis to – in the language of this book – perform a thorough post-mortem on a bad book. Or perhaps it's just more fun to eviscerate a truly bad book. Don't know. I'll put some here, and save the rest for my blog; it's less ...more
What a piece of JUNK. The blurb says the writer has a degree in history from Oxford: I award her an honorary doctorate from the James Fenimore Cooper School of Literary Offense.
1. A man from Philadelphia is repeatedly described as "the New Englander."
2. An Irishman constantly exhibits "Gallic" charm.
3. The murder victim, whose skins turns yellow, is "livid."
4. A socially awkward encounter leaves a man "distraught" twice on the same page.
And let's not even discuss the anachronisms, or the loud cl
Review of audiobook edition, narrated by Simon Vance

Gosh, what a mess! The Anatomist's Apprentice had a sledgehammer approach to mystery with no subtlety and musical chair murders. There were several bodies and they were all killed by different people as if the first murder inspired everybody to hack each other for no conceivable reason, instead of thinking with their head.

Dr. Silkstone loved to wax poetic on internal organs (gross!) and the clues to the mystery just fell on his lap. There was v
Nick Johnson
Started well but ended up a bit tedious, to be frank. Beach book fare at best. Hidden behind all the quasi period, "Age of Reason" stuff is a pretty standard "Murder on the Orient Express" grade tale of poisoning, bludgeoning and strangling (Oh My!). For a book that teased with science, many of the key "Aha!" moments were left as limp cliffhangers where the protagonist realised something (what? NO idea) and then moved on with a square jaw, a sense of honour and a resolve to do the right thing, b ...more
Well, I managed to get through this book by skipping over boring passages where nothing important was happening, so I won't mention a few of the plot points that seemed to come out of nowhere, because I can't guarantee I didn't miss something along the way. However, there were factual errors that irritated me throughout: an English kitchen garden with "cinnamon" as one of the medicinal "herbs" growing in it? A four-days-dead corpse with rigor mortis? A chancre on the penis of a man who had caugh ...more
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Author seems addicted to adjectives, and attempts "period dialogue." Reads like a first novel, which I believe it is.

If I see a "forsooth" I'm out of here.
This amused and entertained me throughout several workdays.

Good Ol' King George is on the throne and we get to follow Dr. Thomas Silkstone, Philadelphia transplant, as he traipses about England, doctoring and solving mysteries.
The story starts with a murder because what good, old-fashioned mystery doesn't? This particular victim winds up being murdered by pretty much everyone in the book, himself (the dead guy) included. I'm still not actually sure how he died; I think it was an amalgamation of
Romancing the Book
Reviewed By~Marissa
Review Copy Provided By~ARC from Publisher

This is a first book from Tessa Harris and she has done a brilliant job! It is also the first in a mystery series featuring Dr. Thomas Silkstone. For those of you who like period mysteries featuring forward thinking men, this is the book you need to read. I liken it to the Sarah Woolson Mysteries by Shirley Tallman or the Lady Julia Grey series by Deanna Raybourn, both of which feature progressive women sleuths in historical references
Dr. Thomas Silkstone is an accomplished doctor and anatomist, so I listened to the first portion of the book expecting the introduction of the "apprentice." I half-expected Lady Lydia to overcome her squeamishness and delve into the next dead body, but sadly, she remained fragile and doe-eyed throughout the novel. Her vulnerability was, apparently, enough to win over Dr. Silkstone's affections, but there wasn't enough character development to support a meaningful connection between the character ...more
**edited 12/30/13

As soon as I saw the ridiculously attractive cover-art and intruiging title, I couldn't wait to tear into the story. To my disappointment, I found I really shouldn't have judged this one by its cover.

The story takes place in England in the late Georgian period--about twenty or thirty years before Jane Austen's time. The main character, a surgeon from Philadelphia, is brought into the case of a suspicious death by the beautiful Lady Lydia. Graphic death scenes, a shallow and imp
By all rights, I should love this book, which is billed as "a historical forensic mystery," but I was distinctly underwhelmed. There were several times when I just thought I was too bored to finish it.

The premise is great--set in England, just before that little unpleasant business with the Colonies--a young doctor, an anatomist, comes to England to further his knowledge at Oxford.

There's a mysterious death of a young lord, and his beautiful (but married) sister implores Dr. Silkstone to investi
Jun 01, 2014 Anna rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anna by: npl, goodreads
hmm ... the word "stunning" was used in a couple of descriptions of this work; unfortunately, I cannot agree. I do have to agree with many of the other reviews here.

I found it very difficult to engage in this story and the characters. There is no character development -- Dr Silkstone and others are dropped in the middle of London and Oxford, but you don't really get a feel for the times or places. You are given a smidgen of factoids about anatomy, the war with the American colonies is mentioned
Sarah Nokleby
Groan. You can't judge a book by it's cover. There, I will use a trite cliche to describe a book full of recycled, worn-out phrases.
The description seemed interesting, but the characters were annoyingly transparent, the love story gaggy and over-written, and the plot passable. I have no idea how much she researched the time period; she is a history graduate. But I never felt like I was learning anything about forensics of the era.
Not interested in any sequels to this story.
Mary Theobald
I took this book to Curacao with me to read on the beach because of all books, I enjoy historical mysteries best. And as a historian, I appreciate it when the author does the research to accurately set the scene, something Tessa Harris accomplishes very well. The story takes place at the time of the American Revolution, but it is set in London and Oxford where an American-born anatomist has come to study this new science with the foremost English expert.
Dr. Thomas Silkstone is asked to examine
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
Historical Mystery

The death of Sir Edward Crick has unleashed a torrent of gossip throughout Oxfordshire. No one mourns the dissolute young man--except his sister, Lady Lydia Farrell. When her husband comes under suspicion of murder, Lydia seeks expert help from Dr. Thomas Silkstone, a young anatomist from Philadelphia.

The premise sounds simple but the book is not. In 1780’s England anatomist Dr. Thomas Silkstone is treading a new path in forensic pathology. He must use existing methods but also
I had a difficult time choosing how many stars to rate this book. I listened to the audio version and the reader, Simon Vance, was absolutely fantastic. I especially enjoyed his interpretation of Sir Theodisius! After I realized I shouldn't eat while reading the book, I enjoyed the medical/scientific passages greatly. I quickly found my favorite characters and the characters that I hated (because they were meant to be, of course).

However, I had several problems with this book. The first being -
Kayla West
Sir Edward Crick is loved by few and disliked by most. He has a tendency to drink too much, gamble the same, and care mostly for himself. He is a sickly man...or say they say...and takes ill quite a lot.
Gossip meanders about, like a lady of the night, when he dies abruptly and painfully, it seems, in the grand estate he lives. Most suspect his brother-in-law, the man who was known to hate Edward most of all. But, Sir Crick's sister Lydia has much faith that her husband did not, in fact, do this
⊱ Irena ⊰
The title is confusing. Thomas is the main character and he does have a former mentor. He meets another anatomist later, but both of these old men are just there for the sake of the story. Thomas is nobody's apprentice in this book. As I said, confusing title.

The death of Lady Lydia's brother, Sir Edward Crick, was the cause of a lot of gossip in Oxfordshire. The only person who loved him was his sister. She asks Dr.Thomas Silkstone to find the real cause of her brother's death.

I don't mind bro
I was disappointed in this one. I thought it needed better editing; the prose was wooden, the characters not terribly lifelike, and the wording obnoxiously antiquated. Yes, the book is set in the 1780's, but it was written for a modern audience. Authors like P. C. Doherty or Anne Perry manage to make the past come alive in all its awful color and smell with vivid prose that doesn't detract from their communication with the reader. The mystery was okay without being gripping. I'll probably try th ...more
Beth Sowell
I was initially intrigued by the early forensics in this book, but it ended up having much less details about that than I'd hoped for. I was disappointed that the "damsel in distress" was so flat as a character. There really was little to love about her. She didn't have a strong personality at all and other than the author stating she had chestnut hair and was beautiful we couldn't even picture what she really looked like. All in all it was an easy read. The story was okay. I did like how the au ...more
I generally enjoy historical fiction. I read quite a lot of it, so I was surprised to see so many words I'd never seen before, some weren't even in my kindle dictionary, making me think that they may have been typos. There were quite a lot of sentences that were simply over full of descriptive words, and lacked content. Flowery speaches abounded. Also, several situations in this book made me feel uncomfortable, rape, adultry, and multiple murders. I don't mind murders in a murder mystery, but th ...more
worst book i've read in a long time.
Nolan Yard
I'm surprised by people's low-rated reviews, which demean the author's hard work. These reviewers don't consider what it takes to write a novel. It's not easy -- the planning, writing, editing, revision, marketing, publishing. For some the process takes years. Think about it. After all that hard work, the author submits to criticism from everywhere on the internet. You don't see people harshly criticizing your entire work for the year at your 9 to 5. Do your managers/ bosses write scathing revie ...more
Luanne Ollivier
The Anatomist's Apprentice is the first (and debut) book in Tessa Harris's new series featuring Dr. Thomas Silkstone.

I initially picked up the book based on the description - 18th century, London, England, mystery, early forensic detection, as it seemed to fall into one of my favourite genres - historical mysteries.

Lady Lydia Farrell's brother dies a horrible death in his own bed. Was he the victim of some unknown condition? Or was helped along the way to his Maker - by her husband? She seeks th
Natasha M.
Towards the end I couldn't stop thinking how this must be the equivalent of the penny-dreadfuls of yore. There were simply far too many small details that bothered me to the point of distraction. Why wasn't the daughter of an Earl EVER IN MOURNING DRESS (not to mention respecting mourning periods)? I'm no expert on this particular time period but I couldn't help but feel that their attitudes towards the "colonialist" in their midst (what with the American Revolutionary War going on and all) was ...more
Caedy  Eries
Title: The Anatomists Apprentice
Author: Tessa Harris
Rating: 1/5

Summary: The death of Sir Edward Crick has unleashed a torrent of gossip through the seedy taverns and elegant ballrooms of Oxfordshire. Few mourn the dissolute young man—except his sister, the beautiful Lady Lydia Farrell. When her husband comes under suspicion of murder, she seeks expert help from Dr. Thomas Silkstone, a young anatomist from Philadelphia.

Thomas arrived in England to study under its foremost surgeon, where his uncon

The Anatomist’s Apprentice is a story of the early days of forensic pathology. Thomas Silkstone is a 25-year-old anatomist. Born in America he is at Oxford. When Sir Edward Crick dies under mysterious circumstances Dr. Silkstone is called in to investigate the death. He soon gets caught in a web of lies, deceit and more death.

This was a fairly enjoyable mystery set at about the time of the American Revolution. Sometimes it was a really graphic look at forensics. At other times it was an over-rip
April Kane
Tessa Harris’ The Anatomist’s Apprentice is the first book in a new series focusing on the exploits of 18th Century anatomist, Dr. Thomas Silkstone. While studying in England in October 1780, Dr. Silkstone is summoned to investigate the mysterious death of Sir Edward Crick. As his investigation progresses he falls deeper and deeper in love with Sir Crick’s beautiful sister, Lady Lydia Farrell. Lady Farrell is married but trapped in a somewhat now loveless union.

I really had a difficult time gett
This book could have been 50 pages shorter but at the end the attempt to build tension and make it like a thriller was just too much to bear. I skipped the last 50 pages because you know who the murderer is and I didn't even care enough about the details to finish reading it. The attempt at building romance felt clunky, and the manipulation of the core characters was weak. I get what the author was trying to do but dang GET IT DONE ALREADY. Soooo much back and forth, soooo much brooding. It neve ...more
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Historical Myster...: Dr. Thomas Silkstone by Tessa Harris 6 20 Feb 11, 2015 09:09AM  
Coffee Talk: February BOM 41 42 Feb 16, 2012 04:51PM  
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From the author's website:After studying History at Oxford University, I began my journalistic career on a newspaper in my home town of Louth, in Lincolnshire. I progressed onto a London newspaper, where I became women's editor. From there I moved to become a feature writer on Bestmagazine. After two years I was made editor of a regional arts and listings publication. This was followed by another ...more
More about Tessa Harris...

Other Books in the Series

Dr. Thomas Silkstone (5 books)
  • The Dead Shall Not Rest
  • The Devil's Breath (Dr. Thomas Silkstone, #3)
  • The Lazarus Curse
  • Shadow of the Raven (Dr. Thomas Silkstone, #5)
The Dead Shall Not Rest The Devil's Breath (Dr. Thomas Silkstone, #3) The Lazarus Curse Shadow of the Raven (Dr. Thomas Silkstone, #5) The Dead Shall not Rest (Thomas Silkstone Mystery 2)

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“they all listened intently and passed the story on in shades as varied as the turning leaves on the autumn beeches; on each occasion embellishing it with thin threads of conjecture that were strengthened every time they were entwined.” 0 likes
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