Title: The Wisdom of Dead Men
Author: Oisin McGann
ReadingLevel: Young Adult
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
PublicationDate: 3 Sept 2009
Paperback: 469 pages
Summary (book Cover)
As the head of the rich and ruthless Wildenstern family, Berto is determined to change their cruel ways. And Nate, his younger brother, must protect him while he does so. But the burned remains of women are being discovered in and around the city. Nate joins his sister-in-law, Daisy, to investigate the deaths, and they quickly realise that it’s not just their back-stabbing relatives they need to fear.
This is the second book in this series, the first being Ancient Appetites, but although I didn’t read book one, I still really enjoyed reading The Wisdom of Dead Men.
The story is set in the Victorian era and centers around the powerful and very rich Wildenstern family. A family that will kill each other to be the head of the family business and their enormous fortune. Decapitation, witches killed by combustion, supernatural healing and necromancy are all part of the daily lives of the Wildensterns.
This is a well written book and has a brilliantly fast-paced but complex plot. It took a while for me to get to grips with all the characters, as there are several, but by a third of the way through I was completely captivated by the story.
The main characters are Nate, who has returned from traveling the world to protect his brother Berto, who has become the Patriarch of the Wildenstern family after their older brother, Marcus, was killed. Daisy, Nate’s sister-in-law and Berto’s wife who, even though is not allowed to participate in family affairs due to being a women, manages to put her stamp on the family and does not bow to sexism.
Engimals also play a big part in The Wisdom of Dead Men. Part animal, part machine – half breeds that are used for the ease of man. The descriptions of these beings is just fantastic and think that this kind of book could easily be made into a terrific graphic novel.
This is a darkly entertaining read with a riveting ending that I really didn’t see coming. I hope there is a third installment to this series as it’s absolutely brilliant. I am now off to buy book one!
Thank you to Corgi for sending me this book to review.