The Newcastle Eccentrics: A dark tale of a Georgian town

Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Summary

Would-be medical man, James Maclachlan, is learning his trade by following his father around the disease-ridden slums of Georgian Newcastle. Tragically his hopes for the future are ripped apart when both his parents sicken and die.

With no alternative but to work as a chimney boy, James soon encounters the mysterious and forbidden world of body-snatchers and grave-robbers who supply Dr Stickler at the Barber Surgeons’ Hall with fresh corpses.

James’ luck turns when he gets the chance to become a surgeon’s apprentice, but he is surrounded by quacks and the frightening Dr Stickler whose sole ambition is raising the dead.

19th century Newcastle is a corrupt and violent place; the Keelmen are at war with the town’s officials and a flatulent MP will stop at nothing to stop them earning more from his pocket.

Will James find his true love? Will the Keelmen get their rise? Will Dr Stickler find the felonious particle? And just who are The Newcastle Eccentrics?

Inspired by Dickens, Frank Bray transports you right into the centre of the action of 19th century Newcastle. He brings to life real historical characters, especially those who feature in Henry Perlee Parker’s painting, The Newcastle Eccentrics. Many of the places featured in the book - the Quayside, the Town Moor, the Keelmen’s Hospital, the Guildhall and High Bridge - are still around, although they all look very different today.


Full of interest – an excellent book
this is a lovely book, with an interesting story full of intriguing characters. Having just visited Newcastle for the first time, I was interested in the settings and was familiar with some of them, but you don't need to know Newcastle to enjoy the book. It was well written and edited with very few typos, and I would thoroughly recommend it.

Wonderful insight into the Newcastle of the early 19 th century
A well written and researched novel following the progress of a young man amidst the squalor, glory and vibrancy of Georgian Newcastle. There is gore and poverty but also politics and corruption and a lot of bodies that seem to get very little peace. Loved seeing the street names and buildings that remain with us. A strong novel, likely to garner further attention.

A really interesting read.
An unusual book about unusual characters whose stories are interwoven in an imaginative way. If you're interested in 19th century Newcastle, you'll love reading this.

Five Stars
Really enjoyed this book about the quirky characters of my home Toon Newcastle.

An easy read
Nice storyline set in Newcastle in the early 1800's. good use of local history although fictionalised to keep the story flowing.

I recommend this
Loved it very different and to see it was based on fact even better.

Four Stars
Enjoyed the read lots of historical references to the old city.

Brilliant Book!
If you like Newcastle and history this books is perfect - the author really transports you back to old Newcastle - the Bigg Market and the Quayside - the characters are funny and believable - I really loved every minute of the book!

About the Author

Frank Bray was born and bred in Bristol and now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, by way of Swansea, Cardiff and Bury St. Edmunds.

When not writing, he divides his time between his family (wife and two daughters), the occasional visit to the gym, some voluntary work, pub quizzes and music. He also plays guitar in a local rock band, Black'n'Blue.

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