The King's Anatomist: The Journey of Andreas Vesalius by Ron Blumenfeld
5-star Goodreads Reviews for The King's Anatomist
★★★★★ "This is a well-conceived novel with an interesting narrative approach that is surprisingly successful. Switching back and forth in time and using a narrator who is not the primary subject of the story is a risk that the author pulls off beautifully."
★★★★★ "This is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of medicine."
★★★★★ "I found the novel compelling and entertaining, as well as educational. Its particular value to me was the focus on friendship and the understanding of the other in such a twosome."
★★★★★ "I loved it! I highly recommend this book to lovers of great historical fiction, historical mysteries and readers interested in medicine and science."
★★★★★ "This book is a delight - not only does it tell the tale of the anatomist, but a look at the lives surrounding him, and the mindset of the time."
A revolutionary anatomist, a memory-laden journey, and a shocking discovery.
In 1565 Brussels, the reclusive mathematician Jan van den Bossche receives shattering news that his lifelong friend, the renowned and controversial anatomist Andreas Vesalius, has died on the Greek island of Zante returning from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Jan decides to journey to his friend's grave to offer his last goodbye.
Jan's sentimental and arduous journey to Greece with his assistant Marcus is marked by shared memories, recalled letters, and inner dialogues with Andreas, all devices to shed light on Andreas' development as a scientist, physician, and anatomist. But the journey also gradually uncovers a dark side of Andreas even as Jan yearns for the widow of Vesalius, Anne.
When Jan and Marcus finally arrive on Zante, the story takes a major twist as a disturbing mystery unfolds. Jan and Marcus are forced to take a drastic and risky measure that leads to a shocking discovery. On his return home, Jan learns that Andreas was an unknowing pawn in a standoff between King Philip of Spain, his employer, and Venice. When he arrives home in Brussels, he must finally reckon with his feelings for Anne.
A debut novel by Ron Blumenfeld, The King's Anatomist is a fascinating medical history blended eloquently with meaningful relationships and a riveting mystery. Set within a pivotal time in European history, the story carries readers through some of the most important medical discoveries while engaging them in a deeply personal story of growing older and confronting relationships. A fictional masterpiece with real and relevant historical sources, The King's Anatomist is as enlightening as it is enjoyable.