It is 1822, and Robbie is only a young boy. His family is climbing up the social latter and moving into one of the houses being built in the New Town. All is going well until his mother develops a tumor on her breast. At this time anesthetic was not yet discovered and surgery was still very experimental. She undergoes surgery performed by Dr. Knox to have it removed; but she dies five days later.
Nicola Morgan’s Fleshmarket is a fictional story based on true events. The story follows Robbie Anderson and his struggle for his and his sister Essie’s survival. After their mother’s death, their father becomes a alcoholic and eventually vanishes. Robbie and Essie try to make due by living in a one room apartment in the dirtiest part of the city with little money and little to eat. Robbie often wonders why God would let him live like this, and why He took away his mother; but quickly dismisses the thought.
He then finds a new person to blame for his problems: Dr. Knox. After all, it was his fault that his mother was dead which started his long string of problems. He then makes it his goal to seek revenge on the doctor who took his mother’s life. Robbie then meets Burke and Hare, who provide Dr. Knox with bodies to study and experiment with. He then begins to work with them in order to get closer to the doctor.
This book is full of suspense and intense imagery. I have never read a book so descriptive. It is a short, easy read that will leave you wanting to learn more. However, I do not recommend it to those with weak stomachs!