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The Anatomist's Apprentice

(Dr. Thomas Silkstone #1)

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  7,641 ratings  ·  1,072 reviews
In the first in a stunning new mystery series set in eighteenth-century England, Tessa Harris introduces Dr. Thomas Silkstone, anatomist and pioneering forensic detective. . .

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
Paperback, 310 pages
Published January 2012 by Kensington Publishing Corporation (first published January 1st 2011)
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George I suspect you've read this on audio and you mean Capt. Michael Farrell. If so, Francis Crick, who confessed to the crime…moreI suspect you've read this on audio and you mean Capt. Michael Farrell. If so, <spoiler>Francis Crick</spoiler>, who confessed to the crime(less)

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Average rating 3.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,641 ratings  ·  1,072 reviews

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Start your review of The Anatomist's Apprentice (Dr. Thomas Silkstone #1)
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, historical
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
Laurie  Anderson
Aug 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
Historical fiction authors who don't get their history right and marketing departments that make matters even worse with a dreadful cover make me break out in hives.

This series is set during the American Revolution, but in England. This, the first book, is set in 1780, with Henry Laurens (earlier President of the Continental Congress, among other things) imprisoned in the Tower. I picked up the book looking forward to a story set during a time period I know very well, but at a remove from the wa
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
Mar 30, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
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.
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
Oct 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three and a half stars

Firstly and most importantly: DO NOT read this over dinner. Also be careful with snacking- no beef jerky, sausages, or liverwurst sandwiches. (As if anyone eats the latter.)

Okay, we may proceed.

After finishing this book and feeling somewhat at a loss as to how to rate it, I read through a bunch of reviews to see what everyone else was saying. Strangely, I agreed with almost all of them, from one-star to four-star. (I seldom read five-star reviews.)

The bad reviews are all co
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Aug 22, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Another of my many long drive audiobooks... but this one was a bust. Despite being read by the incomparable Simon Vance, this book was boring and historically inaccurate and just plain annoying. If I had to listen to ONE MORE description of the main female's "doe eyes" or her "dewy, perfect complexion" or her anything tiny, or delicate, or innocent, or beautiful, I'd likely vomit. And it's bad when THAT'S the bit that makes me want to vomit, and not the ridiculously over-described decaying body ...more
Reviewed: 09-26-20

Outstanding Narration , Good Story 

Overall: 4 stars
Performance: 5 stars
Story: 3.5 stars

In reality I enjoyed the historical aspect, the mystery and all the forensic science part of the story a lot , what I didn't like was how Lidia, the heroine was written ; as complete doormat , eternally obvious , damsel in distress twit.🔎🔎🕵

Simon Vance is a superstar as a narrator. He brings so much gravitas and emotions to his narration that one is quite easily become enthralled and forget ev
After reading Alex Grecian’s Murder Squad series, I knew I needed more historical crime fiction in my life. I wasn’t all that fussed about the when or the where, but I needed more. Thus finding the first three Dr. Thomas Silkstone books going at an exceptionally cheap price left me buying them instantly. They seemed to fit what I was looking for, and I’m not one to turn down cheap books. I admit, they did sit on my bookshelf for a while, but in the end I couldn’t ignore them any longer.

If the tr
Romancing the Book
Apr 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, mystery
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
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
**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
I wish I had judged this book by its cover and left it at that. The cover was nice, but the mystery wasn't very good. I was expecting a cool historical mystery with interesting forensics happening to solve the crime. I was let down. Some nits to pick:

First of all, the title. Who is the anatomist and who the apprentice? Is Thomas the anatomist in the title? Because he seems to be, but then I don't know who his apprentice is supposed to be. If Thomas is the apprentice, who is the anatomist? One of
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
This idea had some real potential but within about 20 minutes (audiobook time) I realized.

I was straight up not having a good time and there was no sign of it improving.

The mystery wasn't my tea. The apprentice anatomist (our main character) is way more interested in getting The Lady of the story to like him than he is in solving anything. That he solves some mysteries in the process seems entirely circumstantial. It never feels like he cares beyond whether what he's doing with or will not hurt
Jan 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
Oh my. This was a disappointment. The idea behind the book was interesting but the characters were lacking and the plot was predictable. Instead of a well-considered plot, the author just relies on romantic jealousy to explain every turn of events. Like three times. It was ridiculous.
Time, they say, is a great physician. It is not, however, a good anatomist. Time may help heal the wounds to the soul left by the physical departure of a friend or the death of a loved one, but to an anatomist a corpse, devoid of any signs of life save that of maggots and blowflies, is an altogether different matter. When the very bacteria that once fed on the contents of the intestines begin to digest the intestines themselves then time becomes an enemy. (p. 1)

A good opening foretells a good bo
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
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
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mmm-2012
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
Heather Moll
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
If you’re talking about your Irish character, you meant Gaelic, not Gallic.

No one in Georgian England ate “lunch”.

People whose brother-in-law or brother died last week would have worn mourning clothes. For like a year.

People from Philadelphia were neither then nor now called New Englanders.

When editors say cut out similes, it’s because of books like this.

Grisly and grizzly do not mean the same thing. Every old person in this book has hair that is apparently horrifying rather than grey.

Read up o
May 30, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  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
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio, dnf
I abandoned this audio book at the 59% point. The upside of listening to the audio version of this book is that I didn't have to strain my eyes reading this. The major downside was that I couldn't skim over the worst parts, like the insta-love. The anatomist, Dr. Thomas Silkstone, seemed turned on by how weak and needy his love interest was. It sort of made me sick. It didn't help that the male narrator gave her a simpering voice. I don't even know who the "apprentice" was supposed to be in this ...more
Sarah Nokleby
May 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
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.
I loved this book but at times it was hard to listen to as some of the TW: Pediophibia, rape, drinking, and murder. but if you can watch CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) then you should have no problem with this book if you can handle the contents of this book. I was barely in it when I thought that this was the VERY ADULT version of Stalking Jack The Ripper. so if you can handle it and are fascinated by CSI and forensic Science then you should read this book and it is a mystery and I thought it ...more
Pat K
Historic forensic mystery set in the 1709s this is an excellent, complex mystery with the characters based on real historic figures. I listened on audiobook and have spent two days walking around with listening to it. I’m not sure what the audio equivalent of a page turner is, but this book fits the bill.
Jenny Knipp
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excited for the next one! This book was Downton Abbey meets early forensic science with a dash of an American colonist!
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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 Best magazine. After two years I was made editor of a regional arts and listings publication. This was followed by another ...more

Other books in the series

Dr. Thomas Silkstone (6 books)
  • The Dead Shall Not Rest (Dr. Thomas Silkstone #2)
  • The Devil's Breath (Dr. Thomas Silkstone #3)
  • The Lazarus Curse (Dr. Thomas Silkstone #4)
  • Shadow of the Raven (Dr. Thomas Silkstone, #5)
  • Secrets in the Stones (Dr. Thomas Silkstone, #6)

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