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The Edinburgh Dead

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  569 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
Edinburgh: 1828

In the starkly-lit operating theaters of the city, grisly experiments are being carried out on corpses in the name of medical science. But elsewhere, there are those experimenting with more sinister forces.

Amongst the crowded, sprawling tenements of the labyrinthine Old Town, a body is found, its neck torn to pieces. Charged with investigating the murder is
Paperback, 342 pages
Published August 17th 2011 by Orbit (first published August 1st 2011)
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Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog!

Having read and been none-too-impressed by Ruckley's first series, a high/epic fantasy set called The Godless World, I wasn't sure what I was in for here, with this interesting mix of genres. From horror to historical fiction, The Edinburgh Dead is strange, odd and a hell of a lot more lively than anything the author has produced to date. Though I've tagged this as a steampunk novel, it takes a backseat to the horror elements as well as being more p
Nov 20, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Spotted on Penelope's profile
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I have to add a zombie shelf now. Awesome. ~_~

This was quite a struggle for me to get through, not only because of the subject matter (not a zombie or horror fan on the whole), but mostly because of the writing style. The endless expositions, the constant re-wording of exactly the same plot points/ideas/conversations/descriptions, speeches from characters that didn't fit with what was going on in the book *coughKnoxcough*, random and repeated bitch-slapping the reader with "ZOMG, look you guys,
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
It wouldn't be fair to compare this book with Matthew Hawkwood series. There is nothing supernatural in Matthew Hawkwood series and this story is much, much slower at times. That doesn't mean it is poorly written, nor does it mean you will not enjoy it if you love reading historicals, paranormal or not.
As it is usually the case with the stories that have paranormal elements and they are set in the past, the author 'makes liberal use' of history. The infamous duo Burke and Hare and Dr. Knox ap
Ross Hamilton
Dec 26, 2011 rated it liked it
When writing an historical novel, even one delving into a bit of gothic horror as this does, the danger is always that of making sure you have your history spot-on. That has been a significant reason why I tend to steer away from it myself, because the moment you do get it wrong, nitpickers come flooding out of the woodwork to have a gripe. Like me.

From the interesting interview with the author located in the rear of the book, Ruckley describes his basic idea stemming from the thought that what
Jeannie Mancini
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
With an aura of Edgar Allen Poe, a Dickensian style, and the creativity of Mary Shelley, Brian Ruckley pens his tale of The Edinburgh Dead with an incredible Victorian flourish. Steeped in historic atmosphere, this story takes place in the early 1800s amidst an Edinburgh Scotland still locked in the days of horse-drawn carriages, cobblestone streets, and lamplighters that nightly climb to the top of gas lit light posts so that one can see their way through the darkened alleyways and descending f ...more
Janette Fleming
Apr 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Edinburgh 1827. In the starkly-lit operating theatres of the city, grisly experiments are being carried out on corpses in the name of medical science. But elsewhere, there are those experimenting with more sinister forces. Amongst the crowded, sprawling tenements of the labyrinthine Old Town, a body is found, its neck torn to pieces. Charged with investigating the murder is Adam Quire, Officer of the Edinburgh Police. The trail will lead him into the deepest reaches of the city's criminal underc ...more
Sep 01, 2011 added it
The Edinburgh Dead is a well-written period piece, atmospheric, with realistic and involving characters (including the town of Edinburgh) and a thoroughly engrossing story. Sergeant Adam Quire of the Edinburgh police finds himself caught in a disturbing mystery which starts with the discovery of a body in the street - a body which has been mauled in a disturbing fashion. As Quire digs deeper, he makes an enemy of the devious and powerful John Ruthven, and his cohorts. Graverobbing is only the be ...more
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
Got nearly 50% through, and I couldn't care less about anything going on. I'm so bored, and I was gonna try to push my way through, but I can't. I just can't...

Sad, really, because I had such high hopes for this one, especially since I'd just visited Edinburgh last month. :(
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what a find !! Not my usual genre either but I have to say it was so well written and the historical setting in my favourite Edinburgh was just fantastic. It really brought the period alive - the building of the ''new'' George IV bridge , gas lamps just being introduced in the New Town, the fact you had to take a mail coach to get out to the Pentland Hills, the new science of anatomy, the Sheeps Head in Duddingston - it was all absolutely wonderful to read and the author really had done his ...more
Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Edinburgh, 1828 is a dangerous place brimming with all kinds of violence from the dead and alive alike. For local police sergeant, Adam Quire, the fabled become a macabre reality. Body snatching is on the rise, the cemetery a shopping mall for the experimental, a quick cash grab occupation for undesirables for the purposes of the prosperous. Missing cadavers find their way into universities for medical students to craft their trade and for the lesser well intentioned to ply their dark arts.

Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, steampunk
You may also read my review here:

1828 Edinburgh is a fascinating place. New medical discoveries are being made every day, and art and science are held in high esteem. It’s a time of change and enlightenment, but there are also dark forces at work. Adam Quire struggles with his own darkness, as a veteran of the Napoleanic wars, and a survivor or countless battlefields. He’s seen plenty of death, but when he finds a body that looks like it’s been attacked b
Kate Forsyth
Oct 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really bought this book because its set in Edinburgh, one of my all-time favourite cities in the world and a perfect setting for a Victorian mystery novel. And perhaps it was because I had just finished reading Anne Perry’s book, Sins of the Wolf, which was also set in Edinburgh, and had enjoyed it so much. The Edinburgh Dead is a quite different book altogether, having a large dose of supernatural terror to it, but I absolutely loved it. The tagline should probably have prepared me; it reads: ...more
One of those books that, in theory, I should have loved; murder, body-snatching, an element of the supernatural, Gothic historical setting ... but something in the writing style was just lacking for me, and the character of Quire didn't feel 'real' enough. I ended up skimming the last couple of chapters just to make sure I guessed the ending right. I did.
Sep 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very interesting book that i thoroughly enjoyed, atmospheric and gritty. Really paints a picture Scotland in the 1800s, recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good mystery; paranormal slant was what got me reading it, not for the faint of heart there are some gruesome scenes in this one.
Adam Quire is a police sergeant in 19th century Edinburgh who gets involved in a murder case that leads him on an interesting path. I loved this. Part historical fiction, part crime novel with a bit of historical fact and supernatural elements thrown in. I do hope we get to read more of Adam Quire.
Joshua {Wynegarde Magicfur}
Pretty decent urban-fantasy book. Solid main character, excellent sense of story environment, great historical time period early 1800's Edinburgh. Recommend to anyone who likes urban and normal Fantasy.
John Gwynne
Sep 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed this, found the writing evocative and classy. I was interested from page 1, hooked by page 70, and emotionally involved throughout. An excellent blend of genres - historical, horror, fantasy, crime, and a genuinely creepy and atmospheric tale. Loved it.
Nov 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
This book caught me early. A historical horror novel. I liked the characters and enjoyed the setting and history. I was not a big fan of Ruckley's Wintbirth series so I was Leary but I would read another story with these characters.
Aug 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
this took a while to get going-but loved story centre round old Edinburgh
Brian Taylor
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
You can find the original review here: http://descentintoslushland.wordpress...

Isn’t it refreshing when you read a book you can’t quite classify but absolutely love? That’s how I feel about The Edinburgh Dead. This book is part murder mystery, police procedural, historical fiction, and gothic horror. Think Sherlock Holmes meets Frankenstein…in 1828 Edinburgh, Scotland.

From the publisher:

Edinburgh: 1828

In the starkly-lit operating theaters of the city, grisly experiments are being carried out on
Sep 10, 2017 rated it liked it
This book came highly recommended when we were visiting an Edinburgh bookstore. I was looking for historical fiction that fit my travel. In terms of the premise, I did think it was an interesting story. In terms of the execution though, I found the writing style average and predictable. It was an interesting read but I'd like to think there must be better historical novels out there that address the Victorian Period in Scotland.
Jay Tate
May 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Moderately entertaining, but missable. the imagery of old Edinburgh is well-crafted, but the alternate take on history is flat. I wasn't familiar with the actual tale, but once I looked it up I wondered why the author tried to improve on a compelling story with a dark fantasy that goes nowhere.

Not recommended unless you're really really into Scotland.
Rudi Opperman
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, crime
Horror, history, crime all thrown into one. Works really well.
Nick Reys
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read-2013
When we talk about how good or bad a certain book is, we mostly talk about plotlines and/or –holes and how the characters were. Not surprising, though, seeing as they are what the book’s about. There is, however, another important aspect to a good story, being the worldbuilding and how the scenery of the story translates into the reader’s mind. The worldbuilding might not put me off of a book, but it certainly holds the possibility of taking the book to another level. Most of the books I read ta ...more
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, used-to-own
The phrase "jack of all trades and master of none" can apply to writers as well as anything else and I've always been suspicious of authors who switch genres, as they often prove less effective when they do so. Sometimes, however, it does work and having enjoyed Brian Ruckley's fantasy writings such as ''Fall of Thanes'', I found that he's equally as enjoyable when writing a crime thriller.

In 1820's Edinburgh, a man is found dead, apparently the victim of an animal attack. The trail leads Sergea
Feb 05, 2012 rated it liked it
The Edinburgh Dead, by Brian Ruckley, is an extremely creepy, extremely gritty book mixing very black magic, Frankenstein's monster, true crime body snatchers and the dark beginnings of Edinburgh's police force. The Frankenstein element made this less of a historic urban fantasy and closer to horror than I expected.

The police sergeant investigating the case is Adam Quire, a member of the relatively new Edinburgh Police Department. Quire was a soldier under Wellington in the late Napoleonic Wars,
Sep 11, 2012 rated it liked it
It's the year 1828 and Edinburgh is buzzing with scientific fervor as many scientists experiment on corpses. Other, more nefarious experiments are also being conducted on the dead, unbeknownst to the public until ravaged bodies turn up in the streets. Officer Adam Quire heads the murder investigation and is determined to solving the case even though the victim is of low class. Everyone else in the newly-formed Edinburgh police force is satisfied to chalk it up as an unsolved case and not waste a ...more
Silver Thistle {adores JAFF & TEOTWAWKI.  Oh, and accronyms :P}
Wow! Edinburgh Dead by Brian Ruckley! Totally brilliant! It's rare that I can use the term 'unputdownable', but I definitely can say it about this one. Read it in less than 48 hours, which for me is pretty much unheard of. Could NOT put it down.

I'm fond of Historical fiction (albeit usually romantic) but to say I'm not usually a mystery reader is an understatement, not a single murder mystery comes to mind. The lure of the area near where I live used as a backdrop, coupled with zombie dogs just
Stuart Douglas
Aug 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Someone kindly gave me this book as a Christmas present, presumbaly drawn by the fact that (a) it sounds a bit creepy and other-worldly and (b) it's set in Edinburgh, my home town. Whatever the reason I'm glad he did, because this is one of the more satisfying novels in every respect that I've read recently.

For a start, the author, Brian Ruckley, does a fabulous job of conjuring up Edinburgh in 1828, as George IV Bridge is being erected across the Cowgate and Burke and Hare are up to their infam
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I was born and brought up in Edinburgh. After studying at Edinburgh and Stirling Universities, and after a good deal of displacement activity (varying from spending three months in the rainforests of Borneo trying to record the dawn chorus of gibbons to briefly working in a tea warehouse / factory), I moved to England to enter the world of full-time employment.

As much by luck as judgement, I had a
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“But past service counted for little these days. The world, and those who governed it, moved too quickly to be carrying such burdens as memory and gratitude.” 1 likes
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