When I first saw this book I was in a bookstore in Liverpool and I fell in love the second I opened it to a random page. I looked, saw, closed it again, and said “yep, you’re coming with me.” The page I saw had an detailed anatomical drawing of a pegasus (you know, a mythological horse with wings), complete with a list of Latin terms for all the different bones and muscles. Have I piqued your interest yet?
The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black is part fictional biography, part anatomical sketches, and tells the story of a nineteenth-century surgeon who tries to develop his theory that mythological creatures were our evolutionary ancestors. The biography is fairly dry and not too interesting if you’re already familiar with Frankenstein or H.P. Lovecraft, but thankfully it’s only 65 pages long (warning: the story gets quite gory. Skip if you’re sensitive about vivisection). However, the main appeal of the book are the drawings. They are detailed, well thought out, and look completely believable. If you’ve ever wondered what the respiratory system of a siren looks like, this book can tell you.
The writing may not be very impressive, but the artwork makes this book a great curiosity, perfect if you’re a coffee-table display kind of person or want to trick your children into believing that centaurs are real.