The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein

Peter Ackroyd
Victor Frankenstein

At Oxford University, the long-haired poet, ‘Mad Shelley’, and a serious-minded Swiss student spark each other’s interest in the new philosophy of science. Perhaps there is no God. If so, where is the divine spark, the soul? Victor Frankenstein begins his anatomy experiments in a local barn. The coroner’s office provides corpses, often putrefying. Victor moves to a deserted pottery factory in Limehouse, and makes contact with the Doomsday Men. He pays better than any hospital but even so perfect specimens are hard to come by. Until that Thames-side dawn when Victor hears the splashing of oars and sees in the half-light the corpse of a handsome young man.

‘Terrifying and fascinating in equal measure. Mary Shelley’s book, with its hotchpotch structure and multiple viewpoints, is often compared to the monster within it. Ackroyd’s, too, resembles his protagonist’s creation, but this is a beast of a different nature: an intelligent, creepily beautiful and haunted thing. Definitely not one you would want to encounter alone on a dark night.’ The Times

‘A characteristically gamesome effort. Ackroyd loves taking what we, the general reading public, think we know about great writers, only to twist that knowledge into new (and preposterous) fictional shapes. He has given this treatment to Dickens and Defoe (The Great Fire of London, 1982), Milton (Milton in America, 1996) and Oscar Wilde (The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde, 1983). Ackroyd is the great pretzel-baker of contemporary fiction. And this is one of his tastiest, and twistiest, products so far.’ Financial Times

‘Frankenstein has inspired films and many novels, now Peter Ackroyd’s version arrives, flourishing its own exuberant twist… The novel leaps to its climax nimbly as a pursuing fiend, and ends suitably in fiery revelation.’ The Independent

‘Ackroyd’s depiction of the fetid air and teeming streets of the city is meticulously researched and recreated. But this is also Ackroyd at his most playful, skewing facts – both literary and historical – to create his own eerie and plausible version of events.’ Daily Mail

‘Ackroyd deftly brings to life the atheist rebellion and Enlightenment values of the time while giving full vent to his imagination… What amazes is how effortless this feels. Within the context of his oeuvre, the book seems like merely a pleasing diversion but it’s also a consummate and blood-freezing piece of writing.’ Metro

‘An entertaining and bracingly intelligent yarn.’ The New York Times Book Review

‘Most satisfying. . . . This fast-paced, most readable novel is charged with electricity and enchanting mischief.’ The Los Angeles Times

‘A rousing page turner. From its opening . . . to its last, gasp-inducing page, Ackroyd has imbued his book with enough ‘electrical fluid’ to animate a corpse.’ The Boston Globe


  • Chatto & Windus UK
  • Nan A Talese Books USA
  • Zysk Poland
  • Editions Philippe Rey France
  • Saida de Emergencia Portugal
  • Record Brazil
  • Edhasa World Spanish
  • Yapi Kredi Turkey
  • Palmyra Russia

Material: finished copies (296pp)