The Secret of Vesalius
By Jordi Llobregat
A gripping new Frankenstein set in 19th century Barcelona - a historical thriller sold in 18 countries
Frankenstein meets The Shadow of the Wind in a Gothic thriller set in the diabolical city of fin-de-siecle Barcelona.
Daniel Amat has left Spain and all that happened there behind him. Having just achieved a brilliant role in Ancient Languages at Oxford University and an even more advantageous engagement, the arrival of a letter - a demand - stamped Barcelona comes like a cold hand from behind.
He arrives back in that old, labyrinthine and near-mythic city a few days before the great 1888 World Fair, amid dread whispers of murders - the injuries reminiscent of an ancient curse, and bearing signs of the genius 16th century anatomist, Vesalius. Daniel is soon pulled into the depths of the crime, and eventually into the tunnels below Barcelona, where his own dark past and the future of science are joined in a terrible venture - to bring the secret of Vesalius to life.
Gothic and gripping, this historical thriller makes of Barcelona a diabolical character - emerging out of the dark into a new electrical age, aflame with spirit, superstition and science. Published in eighteen countries, Jordi Llobregat's bestselling first novel mixes a passionate setting and cryptic mystery into a genre-crossing phenomenon.
Jordi Llobregat began writing at the age of twelve after watching the film The Man from Acapulco with Jean Paul Belmondo and Jacqueline Bisset. He currently combines writing with his work as head of a company that works on community development in cities. His work has been included in several short story anthologies and he is a member of the writing group, El Cuaderno Rojo. He is director of the noir fiction festival, Valencia Negra. The Secret of Vesalius is his first novel and has been published in eighteen countries worldwide. He lives in Valencia, Spain.
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- Publication date:
16 Nov 2017
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An excellent and atmospheric historical thriller. I loved it — Philip Kerr
An atmospheric reconstruction of Barcelona at one of the pivotal points in its history. A gothic thriller of great inventiveness. — BBC History Magazine
An enjoyably over-the-top gothic thriller — Sunday Times
If you loved The Shadow Of The Wind, pop this on your reading list. A gripping adventure, packed with action and atmosphere. — Good Housekeeping
There is madness, selfishness cruelty and corruption, concluding in a bizarre grand guignol of Lovecraftian horror. There is a weird, Gothic feel to the novel, a sensation that the characters are in ethereal and disturbing times. It is an enjoyable, racy read. — Historical Novel Society
You've never seen Barcelona this way before - gothic, dangerous, romantic and diabolical. A breath-taking, genre-busting enigma for fans of The Shadow of the Wind. — NetGalley
What is perhaps most impressive about Jordi Llobregat's debut novel is how it manages to be a cracking slice of Spanish gothic in its own right as well as wearing its influences openly. One can spot Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, and the world of penny dreadfuls between its pages alongside the spectre of Jack the Ripper haunting the text. The translation from Thomas Bunstead gives the prose a fin de siecle feel with a lyricism that ensures even the most violent of descriptions have an uncomfortable beauty to them. The characters are all fascinating, but it is tum-of-the-century Barcelona that is the star of the show. Measured yet exciting, brutal yet poetic, Llobregat has crafted a great novel. — SciFi Now