The Nature of MonstersClare Clark
horror, history, mainstream
1666: The Great Fire of London sweeps through the streets and a heavily pregnant woman flees the flames. A few months later she gives birth to a child disfigured by a red birthmark - and no wonder, since everyone knows that mothers who do not protect themselves from shocking sights could turn their unborn children into monsters.
1718: Sixteen-year-old Eliza Tally sees the gleaming dome of St. Paul's Cathedral rising above a rebuilt city. She arrives as an apothecary's maid, a position hastily arranged to shield the father of her unborn child - a wealthy merchant's son - from scandal. But why is the apothecary so eager to welcome her when he already has a maid, a half-wit named Mary? Why is she never allowed to look her veiled master in the face or go into the study where he pursues his experiments? And why is she having vivid dreams of ferocious dogs?
On one of her visits to the friendly Huguenot bookseller who keeps the apothecary supplied with scientific tomes, she finally realizes the nature of her master's obsession. And when she learns that Mary, too, is pregnant, she knows she has to act to save not just the child but Mary and herself.
From the highly acclaimed author of The Great Stink comes a consuming, passionate, darkly humorous tale set amid the clamor and chaos of eighteenth century London.
Clare Clark is the author of The Great Stink, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and The Nature of Monsters.