The Resurrectionist of Caligo by Wendy Trimboli, Alicia Zaloga

The ResI have to say straight up that I had a good time with The Resurrectionist of Caligo.  I had a few little issues but they were only minor and didn’t spoil the read at all for me.

The Resurrectionist is set in a pseudo Victorian time and place and really plays into that setting.

As the story begins we make the introduction of Roger Weathersby, a body snatcher or grave robber – or ‘man of science’ as he prefers to be called.  Body snatching was, lets just say prevalent, during a certain period in history.  People had no knowledge of anatomy or the inner workings of the body and cadavers were in short supply.  Stealing the dead was actually a legal ‘grey’ area even though resurrectionists were generally frowned upon.  For Roger, employed by an anatomy school and keen to learn more himself, the ends justify the means.  So, spade and lockpicks in hand he starts the story in a graveyard which is where he receives not only a ghostly apparition (to be known affectionately henceforth as ‘ghostofmary’) but also uncovers a body that seems to have been buried whilst still alive!  And this is where the mystery element  begins.

At the same time we make the acquaintance of Princess Sibylla or Sibet to her friends.  The Royal Family line are all bestowed with magic abilities although in recent years these are becoming somewhat diluted.  It’s therefore become popular between royalty and nobles to marry within families to keep the bloodline strong. As such Sibylla was expected to marry her cousin – a fate which she had no stomach for – and has spent a good while in isolation for her dissent.  This is a period of great change.  A time when questions were being asked and superstitions beginning to be set aside.  The divine rights of the monarch are falling under the spotlight and the last thing they need is to lose the support of the people through failing magic.  Sibylla still longs for her first love, a young man who in spite of being far beneath her in station won her heart before disappearing from her life.  Roger is that young man and both he and Sibylla have a difference in opinion about what actually happened to split them apart.

Let me be clear right now – this is not a romance novel at all (at the moment).  Yes, there is an underlying tension between Sibylla and Roger when their paths eventually cross but this has more in common with Holmes and Watson than Lady Chatterleys Lover.  Just saying.

There is plenty of intrigue going on here.  A murderer seems to be at large nicknamed the Greyanchor Strangler who seems to predominantly focus on young ladies of the night!  This is a part of the story that vividly calls to mind all the different theories around the Whitechapel Murderer – old Jack the Ripper himself.  Was it a member of royalty, was it a doctor or surgeon, etc, and these theories and suspicions all play really well into the story.

Along with this there is some royal posturing taking place that also serves to cast suspicions and red herrings around the place.

What I really liked about this were all the little ways that this plays delves into the Victorian era and takes a spotlight to the sort of things that were intensely popular at the time – such as over the top ostentation and elaborate funerals.  There is the intense disparity between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’.  The Queen here seems to rule with an iron rod and certainly doesn’t seem to find much to amuse her. Some members of the royal family seem to take their responsibilities very lightly indeed.  There’s the murders and the red herrings and it’s all wrapped up with a sort of light and sometimes almost absurd comedy of manners style that gives it a lovely feel – it seriously could become quite dark and gothic with all the focus on cadavers, murders, ghostly apparitions, graveyards and grave robbings, poverty and fog bound streets and so I have to say that I appreciated the injection of gallows type humour.

In terms of criticisms – very little really. I don’t think I’ve totally got on board with Sibylla yet – which isn’t to say I disliked her but I’m just not quite on side with her yet – although I really did appreciate that she grudgingly took on the pampered princess role.  As it was I much preferred Roger’s chapters so that did sometimes make me race to get to those parts in particular.  That being said, it was the Princess’s chapters that brought the delightful comedy of manners side to the read.

Overall though, I really enjoyed this gaslamp fantasy and I’m keen to read whatever comes next and learn more about the magic and the strange rituals such as binding criminals to members of Royalty,  Given the ending here I suspect the next book will give much more opportunity to travel further afield with both Roger and Sibylla.

Rating 3.5/4 out of 5 stars.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

22 Responses to “The Resurrectionist of Caligo by Wendy Trimboli, Alicia Zaloga”

  1. Susy's Cozy World

    I have this book on my TBR and I hope to read it soon, and I’m glad that you enjoyed it! You wrote some interesting things and now I am even more curious!

    • @lynnsbooks

      There’s a lot going on here to love – particularly if you enjoy all the Victorian references. I thought it was a good fun read with a good combination fo the macabre, a bit of mystery and some silly manners!
      Lynn 😀

  2. Barb @ Booker T's Farm

    This is one I’ve had my eye on but didn’t know much about. Now that I’ve read your review, I’ll definitely be trying to get my hands on it. Thanks!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Well, if you like all the little nods to the Victorian period you might enjoy this. It’s a strange mash of manners and mystery and it worked well for me.
      Lynn 😀

  3. alittlehazebookblog

    Oh I want to read this!!!! That cover alone has me hooked!!!! It sounds soooo good. Wonderful review :)))

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thanks – I hope you get a chance to give it a go.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Tammy

    This is one of the prettiest covers I’ve seen in some time. I’m curious about it and I actually have an eARC I need to read soon. Thanks for your review, Lynn!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I hope you get a chance. It’s not been winning everyone over as I found out when I went over to GRs but it worked very well for me and I definitely want to read more.
      Lynn 😀

  5. bkfrgr

    Yay! This sounds like great fun (and I know it’s already been said, but sooo pretty!). I shall read this. Thank you! 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      Well, I hope you enjoy it if you get a chance – I loved all the little details that were brought into the story.
      Lynn 😀

  6. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    What an intriguing post! 🙂
    I love Victorian era fantasies, and this one is also tinged with horror (grave robbers!!!) and murder mystery (the Ripper!!!), not to mention the social angle of the changing times. It promises a delightful read, indeed – thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I thought it was really well done to be honest, I think you have to be patient and let things pick up but there are so many elements brought into the story that it just made it very enjoyable for me.
      Lynn 😀

  7. sjhigbee

    I have rather a fondness of this kind of writing – the George Mann series for starters… Thank you for cracking review – I’ll look out for this one:)

  8. waytoofantasy

    Great review. I’ve heard mixed things about this one, but I think your review gives me a lot of hope while also adjusting my expectations about certain things. I’ll have to see if I can fit this one in, maybe next year at this rate though LOL. 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I read some of the reviews – I seem to be out of step with a few readers with this one but there it is. I liked it, in fact I loved all the nods to the Victorians.
      Lynn 😀

  9. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I’ve also heard some mixed things about this one, but your review makes me think I will enjoy this one. Angry Robot has just let me down one too many times and now I’m a bit gun shy, I suppose! I got a review copy of this from the authors a while back though, I’ll take a look!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, I don’t really understand some of the very low reviews – I wonder whether the start with the grave robbing, put some people off or made them dislike one of the two key characters – I just took it in stride I suppose, not because I agree with graverobbing! But, it’s a part of history after all whether I agree or not.
      Lynn 😀

  10. September : My Month in Review | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] The Resurrectionist of Caligo by Wendy Trimboli and Alicia Zaloga […]

  11. Interview with Wendy Trimboli and Alicia Zaloga, authors of The Resurrectionist of Caligo | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] pleased to welcome to my blog the two authors who wrote The Resurrectionist of Caligo (my review here).  I really enjoyed the first book in the series which was a great combination of gothic goodness, […]

  12. Best of the Best list : 2019 | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] The Resurrectionist of Caligo by Wendy Trimboli and Alicia Zaloga […]

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