Cover Image: The King's Anatomist

The King's Anatomist

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Member Reviews

This was a lovely book to read and being loosely based on true events I found it fascinating to read! The author writes beautifully you can almost touch and smell the story as you read. A read I will be recommending to all my friends as I know they will enjoy it as much as I did
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This was a fascinating well written historical novel. A book of medicine anatomy mixed in with a really interesting story. Will be highly recommending .#netgalley the king’sanatomist,
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Part adventure, part mystery, part romance, this nostalgic historical-based novel has something for everyone.

As the protagonist looks for closure following the death of his friend (a renowned anatomist and servant to King Phillip II of Spain), the reader is taken on a journey across 16th century Europe where memories are relived and secrets are revealed.

Jan van den Bossche is a sympathetic and unlikely hero, tied in loyalties to his best friend and unrequited love, in the form of his best friend’s wife. This debut by Ron Blumenfeld will have readers hooked.
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LOVED this read.  Amazing story based on a real man who drove the science of medicine and anatomy forward at great personal risk.  A very easy recommendation to lovers of historical fiction.
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I loved this book. For me, it ticks all the boxes. I am interested in the history of medicine and this book did a great job of discussing the early anatomists. I found the method of story-telling fascinating, as a first-person narrative through the eyes of Vesalius’s friend. There was an interesting mystery involved as well. The pacing is great as is the character development. I even enjoyed the banter between characters. I also enjoyed the way that art was incorporated into the narrative. Also appreciated is the Afterword where the author discusses the historical liberties taken. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of medicine. Thank you to Netgalley for the advance reader copy.
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The advance praise for the King's Anatomist had me hope for a well-researched but entertaining novel, and I was not disappoiónted.

The book is written in the first person; the narrator being the fictional Jan van den Bossche, Vesalius' lifelong friend. Through Jan's reminiscences of Vesalius, there evolves the picture of an impetuous genius; an admired lecturer, an envied consultant of kings. Jan's narrative moves in the present as well as the past and, to my particular delight, includes many internal monologues, some humorous, some angry, directed at Vesalius. After a lively start to the story, entailing memories of entertaining as well as gruesome occurrences and adventures with Vesalius, as well as descriptions of his present life and state of health, the aging Jan begins his journey of loyal  reverence to his friend's grave in faraway Zante. The journey depicts the dangers of travelling in 16th century Europe: uncomfortable travel on broken or muddied roads, filthy and sparse lodgings, bypassing scenes of war and pestilence. On the way, meeting up with old acquaintances, Jan gathers snippets of information and insights that are in stark dissonance with his knowledge of his lifelong best friend. Once Jan's final destination, Zante, has been reached, the story is driven forward rapidly to an astounding end. 

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. It made me ponder the fact that one can never fully know another person, no matter how close. I came to think that relationships are most often interpreted from a standpoint of one's own needs and gains. These are not necessarily material ones, but rather emotional, behavioral, and intellectual. Thus, friendships fulfill needs for emotional support, physical assistance, companionship, protection, and more, and the friend's nature is interpreted along these needs; there is no reason to look further. If one did, one might be, like Jan, sorely disillusioned.

The book is richly illustrated; unfortunately, some of the illustrations in the digital edition are distorted in order to fit the page.

I wish to thank Netgalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This book was not what I expected, but a delightful read! 
I was not familiar with this historical time, other than in the broadest of stokes, but now have a better basis to imagine the settings. The Black Plaque has mostly left, and the start of The Renaissance has begun - along with changes in institutions that seemed eternal.
Telling the personal tale of a friend of Vesalius: in visiting his grave, he also travels sections they once traveled together, and sees both mutual friends and those that knew Vesalius later. I was not familiar with Vesalius' look at anatomy, but took the time to look at some of it.
You will encounter a few words that may not be in a familiar language (and the author makes sure they are understandable, even as context). The listing of famous figures in the order they appear in the book is a needed item, unless you have studied either this time, or this subject - I was delighted to find names that were familiar among those that were not.
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.
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