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The Way of All Flesh

Narrated by: Bryan Dick, Louise Brealey
Length: 11 hrs and 45 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Edinburgh, 1847. City of Medicine, Money, Murder.

Young women are being discovered dead across the Old Town, all having suffered similarly gruesome ends. In the New Town, medical student Will Raven is about to start his apprenticeship with the brilliant and renowned Dr Simpson.

Simpson's patients range from the richest to the poorest of this divided city. His house is like no other, full of visiting luminaries and daring experiments in the new medical frontier of anaesthesia. It is here that Raven meets housemaid Sarah Fisher, who recognises trouble when she sees it and takes an immediate dislike to him. She has all of his intelligence but none of his privileges, in particular his medical education.

With each having their own motive to look deeper into these deaths, Raven and Sarah find themselves propelled headlong into the darkest shadows of Edinburgh's underworld, where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to make it out alive.

©2018 Ambrose Parry (P)2018 Canongate Books Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Parry's Victorian Edinburgh comes vividly alive - and it's a world of pain." (Val McDermid)
"Menacing, witty and ingeniously plotted, Ambrose Parry’s debut draws you into the dark heart of nineteenth-century Edinburgh and won’t let you go until the final page." (S.J. Parris)
"Utterly compelling, this tale of Old Edinburgh is so full of characters and startling incident that I never wanted it to end." (Denise Mina)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Every moment a pleasure

I'm guilty of that much-maligned sin: I listen to audiobooks at an increased speed. But this book was an exception. The story was complex, the characters intriguingly presented and revealed, and the atmosphere was totally engrossing. So I applied the brakes and savored every perfectly narrated word at the recorded speed. And I was so sorry to reach the end! The mystery is solved (there is no cliffhanger), but I was overjoyed to learn that the husband and wife writing team have another volume coming out next year with further adventures/misadventures of physician-in-training Raven and his friend and erstwhile accomplice, Sarah. A return to mid-19th century Edinburgh sounds like the perfect way to start a new year. I can't wait!

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  • LC
  • 03-24-19

5 Stars

I rarely give a 5 star review. But this book deserves it. The story was great and the performance was as well. I highly recommend this audiobook. And hope to see more from this author soon.

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Not to be listened before (or at) mealtime :)

Enjoyable though too much gloomy midwifery and other scary medical practices irrelevant to the plot

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Brian
  • 10-15-18

Great historical background

To begin it takes some time to get into . I was wondering where it is going. I like the historical back ground of Dr Simpson and Ye olde Edinburgh. I guess this ending could lead to a sequel. Is this Chris B writing under a pseudonym?

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • El
  • 11-27-18

Fabulous book

I loved this mix of historical fiction, detective and history of medicine within the vivid setting of Edinburgh. I listened to this after a friend recommended it and will be keen to read much more from this duo! I only wish it had been much longer, I didn’t want it to end.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Nico
  • 03-12-19

Victorian melodrama

An enjoyable romp through Victorian Edinburgh via a murderous path. A cross between Hammer Horror and Conan Doyle, with a touch of penny dreadfuls. Unconvincing way that 21st century sensibilities were brought to bear on mid -19th century awareness in places, eg messages about women's rights were far from subtle and could have been more adept. This lacked the sharpness and insight of some of Brookmyre's other novels, but was an entertaining read set against an jnteresting backdrop showing the historical development of anaesthesia.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Boo
  • 10-16-18

Superb historical fiction

Incredibly interesting & well researched historical crime novel. Great narrators. Really looking forward to the next in the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • K. Bridges
  • 08-21-19

A slow burner

I do like historical mysteries and the characters and setting of this one are definitely of an era that appeals to me. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this as much as I thought I would. I really liked the characters and the setting but the story is rather slow moving and probably could have been condensed down to about three quarters of its length. The narration wasn’t as good as some others I have listened to which also detracted from my overall enjoyment and, all in all, it was ok but there are others I much prefer.

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  • viv
  • 07-27-19

Great listen

This book was not as I had imagined from the précis, however I really enjoyed it. There is suspense, mystery, red herrings, action and the Victorian atmosphere is very well done. The characters are real and 3 dimensional. It’s different from anything I’ve read before - original in so many ways I feel. There were times fairly early on in the book that I wished it would hurry up a bit - some elements were perhaps a little laboured. But altogether a really enjoyable story, well written.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-22-19

A gripping tale

The author sets the scene in 19th century Edinburgh. The rich, the poor and those that feed off both. Reading the news one wonders if times have changed.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Christopher Kelso
  • 07-18-19

Disappointed

Overall I was disappointed in this book. I’m usually a fan of Christopher Brookmyre but I felt the story was quite weak. I wasn’t a fan of the two narrators either, I would have preferred just one.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-09-19

Doesn't go anywhere

This had all the components of a story I'd adore: Medical themes; interesting period; 'thriller'... But it was so. slow. I also found the characters very hard to like or engage with - Will Ravens is boring and a bit wet at times, and the girl is obnoxious.

Wouldn't recommend.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-12-19

Loved it

Great story - really enjoyed it - the narrators were excellent also - highly recommend

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-18-19

Couldn't put it down

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. The perfect mix of drama, mystery and character development. And of course, my absolute favourite narrator, Louise Brealey!