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The Secrets of the Lazarus Club Paperback – 27 Aug 2009

3.7 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 1 edition (27 Aug. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141035897
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141035895
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 597,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"This is splendid stuff ... twists and turns like a journey through a maze' Scotsman 'A dark thriller with more corpses than Sweeney Todd' Harper's Bazaar 'Highly ingenious, roars to life' Daily Telegraph 'A rip-roaring historical thriller' Metro 'A riveting yarn' The Times

About the Author

Dr Tony Pollard is a senior academic at Glasgow University, where he is the director of the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology at the Archaeological Research Department.

He has written numerous papers and articles on archaeology and military history. He was the co-presenter of two series of BBC2's Two Men in a Trench. The Minutes of the Lazarus Club is his first novel.


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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Set in 1857 and seen through the eyes of surgeon Dr George Phillips, The Secrets of the Lazarus Club has to be one of the most gripping books I've read in a long while. It opens with a fantastically gruesome attempt by a waterman to retrieve a mutilated female corpse from the Thames, one of many prostitutes to be found with the same horrific wounds. Those of a delicate constitution may falter at the prologue, so good is Pollard's descriptive of the filthy river and festering body.
Phillips finds himself in the company of the great engineer Brunel, who, having almost completed his ship, the Great Eastern, is inquisitive to learn more about the inner workings of the human machine, and Phillips is just the man to assist him. He is also just the man whom the police suspect is behind these mutilated bodies.
And so, Brunel issues the doctor with an invite to the Lazarus Club, a secret gathering of the most forward-thinking men of the age. In come Darwin, Russell, Bazalgette, Brodie, Babbage and the fantastically mysterious Ockham, all keen to share their own discoveries and learn of others. Soon Phillips realises that not all of the secrets of the Lazarus Club are in the pursuit of honest achievements, and he finds himself in the middle of a very murky plot. The story has many twists as Phillips attempts to clear his own name and put right a broken promise.
Florence Nightingale has been beautifully written into the story, she is feisty and strong, but still retaining a brilliant wit and an ability to sense the danger that Phillips is in. Her infamous lamp is put to a macabre use in the novel too!
Phillips' character is intriguing, the decisions he makes are not always the ones you are expecting.
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Format: Paperback
If ever you're in need of a good book to while away an afternoon in front of the fire, this could well be it. The story twists and turns taking you on a journey though Victorian London and beyond whilst you get to know the very likeable main character, Dr George Philips. He rubs shoulders with some of the greatest men and women of the age and fits in credibly with the elite members of the Lazarus Club. From mutilated corpses to Victorian style 007 boat chases, this book has it all. It keeps you guessing right to the end as to `whodunnit' and throws up surprises all the way.
A feisty Florence Nightingale adds a memorable female presence to the story and a hint of romance in an otherwise dark and brooding situation. For anyone with a penchant for gruesome murder, clever plots and fast action-hero paced stories, this will certainly do the job.
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Format: Paperback
Wow what an interesting book and "rip-roaring adventure". It's a book I read about a while back but when I went to buy it, it was out of print. A new edition (with the new title) was published last August so I snapped it up. As it happens I have since come across the audio book so it was the audio that I ended up listening to and the narrator did a cracking job. It was funny though as he voiced one of his characters exactly like Harry H Corbett from Steptoe and Son, which made me laugh. There are all kinds of real people in this book as well as fictional characters - Darwin, Faraday, Babbage, Brunel and other members of "the club" but also Florence Nightingale, and there are lots of well known phrases used in this book but as if for the first time or quite literally, "ship shape and Bristol fashion", "Ockham's Razor", "the shirt off his back", etc. No one is quite what they seem, the bad guys are not always the bad guys and the plot has many twists and turns before the end. I liked George Philips the doctor, but I also liked Ockham quite a lot, he was a very interesting character indeed! There's a nice blend of fact and fiction in this book which I enjoyed very much. 4.5 stars

Book reviewed 24 Feb 2010
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't usually read crime or science fiction, though I do have a weakness for historical fiction, which is why I was drawn to 'Secrets of the Lazarus Club'. Set in the mid-nineteenth century, it is a wonderfully Dickensian evocation of a murky,sinister London of gaslight, mutilated bodies and anatomy theatres. The story weaves around real people and events. There is a very gruesome scene at the start,but happily nothing else is as stomach-churning. The main protagonist, a young surgeon, is plunged into the mystery of corpses washing up in the river, and at the same time is drawn into the secret circle of a group of very eminent Victorians. I enjoyed the innovative use of real characters whose important inventions and ideas have shaped the world as we know it today. The author has clearly researched thoroughly, and modern-sounding colloquial expressions, on investigation, turn out to come from that period, if not even earlier. I might just take issue, all the same, with the likelihood of a woman such as Florence Nightingale saying, "I may be just a woman but....". Only a man would put those words in her mouth. Indeed Florence was known to refer to herself as, "a man of action". But that little quibble aside, this was a thoroughly good yarn, the multi-layered plot twisting and turning to sustain momentum and suspense, and making for a very engrossing read. I'll be looking out for his next novel.
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