EASTER Ross author Clio Gray has already enjoyed awards success for her writing, including winning the prestigious Scotsman/Orange Short Story Award.
However, Britain’s most prestigious literary award, the Man Booker Prize, will have to wait a little longer after new novel The Anatomist’s Dream was nominated for this year’s award, but failed to make the dozen strong longlist when it was announced at the end of July.
Gray has already published seven historical crime novels, including Burning Secrets set in 19th century Ardnamurchan, but her publisher Myrmidon is hailing The Anatomist’s Dream as a new departure for the Yorkshire-born writer, even though this is actually one of the first books she wrote.
"I actually started it years and years ago, long before I was published," she explained.
"It was begun as more of an intellectual exercise than anything. What I did was look through my copy of Gray’s Anatomy and picked out lots of interesting sounding anatomical phrases and then researched the individual words, looked them up in different languages, and from this I made a list of words that I incorporated into that particular chapter which directed the thread of its action.
"Of course, a great deal of that has been lost via various rewrites — of which there’s been a few — but people with a medical bent will still be able to detect their traces in names and chapter titles."
Set in Germany in the late 1840s, it tells the story of Philbert, born with a growth on his head that causes him to be abandoned by his family.
With only his pet pig for company, he finds refuge with a travelling fair.
This brings him to the attention of a well known anatomist and inadvertently being caught up in the revolutionary politics of the era.
However, Gray assures fans of her historical thrillers that they can still expect "the usual spot of gore and murder".
• The Anatomist’s Dream is out now from Myrmidon Books.