Rating: 5 of 5, TMBOA Recommended
Author: Lee Murphy
Seventeenth Century: Orphaned at a young age due to multiple physical deformities and a dim wit, Ygor found himself raised under the harsh hand and tutelage of the village Abbott. Learning to raise crops and forge and form metal, Ygor helps the villagers in many ways though they continue to shun him due to his appearance. After years of living on the town’s outskirts, the Abbott pays him a visit requesting he refurbish an ancient castle previously owned by the church and recently purchased by a physician from a far away land. Ygor embraces the opportunity and works day and night for months in anticipation of the castle’s future occupant. When the ingenious and troubled doctor arrives, Ygor becomes his aid. Finally having a purpose and plenty of work to do, Ygor helps the doctor though he wonders what exactly the “New Man Project” is.
Written entirely in first person from Ygor’s perspective, Lee Murphy has created a masterpiece in the “Frankenstein” genre. It is always a challenge to reflect the personalities of others, their thoughts and emotions when writing entirely in the first person, yet Murphy captures not only the “heart” of the good natured Ygor who searches for purpose and belonging throughout his life, but also the madness and brilliance of the doctor. I especially enjoyed Murphy’s wonderful description of Ygor’s projects ranging from the building of the castle’s bridge to creating the lighting tower which would feed the large underground makeshift battery designed to serve as the power source for the “New Man Project”.
Murphy also captures Ygor’s torn loyalties between the doctor and what he believes is right. Unfortunately, the doctor’s frequent abuse continues to forge Ygor’s self image and forces continually into a life of servitude.
This is one of the best reads I’ve had all year. It had me turning pages well into the night and after reading had me thinking about it’s characters and themes. This is my first Lee Murphy book and I’m looking forward to reading more.