In my serial, 'Beautiful Freaks', there is a secondary character called, Dr. Greyson. Allow me to introduce you to him.
A super intelligent, pioneering, revolutionary, transgressive doctor, with an obsession over the human mind and the question of the human soul.
A literary cousin of his predecessor, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, Dr. Greyson's quest is to conquer the limitations of life and death as we know it.
Like Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Greyson is motivated by love and grief; a powerful cocktail that fuels an ambition that goes beyond God.
Greyson is a man who carries a terrible secret - the secret of how he destroyed the very thing he loved the most - and now he wishes to recover her.
Not dead, and yet not alive, Dr. Greyson's quest is to bring back the woman he once loved from a place of insanity by pioneering neurosurgery.
Dr. Greyson isn't meant to be a particularly original character - he is a recurring trope seen throughout literature; the tortured genius who desires the power of life and death to restore love. So why is literature and her authors so fascinated by this?
Maybe as authors we feel an affinity with this archetype's soul. Don't we, after all, write into life and end the life of hundreds of characters? Don't we in some metaphorical way play at being a god? And don't we through our urge to write stories and print stories, secretly (or not so secretly) quest after that idea of eternity - of immortality?
The most famous of this archetype is Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein', published in 1818. The character of Doctor Victor Frankenstein and his failed attempt to bring back the dead to an almost angelic state has become embedded as part of our cultural rhetoric, fuelling films, songs, books, comics, halloween decorations....
But Mary Shelley's story is not the beginnings of this trope - a fact she acknowledges herself when she subtitled her work, 'The Modern Prometheus' - Prometheus being a Titan (cited as one of the wisest) who stole the fire of life from the gods in order to give it to mankind. His punishment was severe, chained to a rock to have his liver eaten by an eagle, only for it to restore over night and then go through the whole process again - an irony of constant dying and resurrection.
And Prometheus is not the only resurrection trope, there is of course Osiris, the god dismembered by his brother and scattered all over the globe, only to be regathered by his sister-wife and remade more glorious (despite missing his phallus).
Then there is Persephone, whose cyclical trip into the underworld becomes a metaphor for the unending circle of life and death, winter and summer.
The resurrection of the dead is prevalent through almost all myth structures and plays a fundamental part of many religions. Christ himself was said to rise from the cross three days after his crucifixion, and the Buddhist philosophy believes firmly in reincarnation.
So why? Love is arguably the most powerful of all human motivations - it holds a deep and sometimes dark magic. If we are lucky enough to love and be loved, it is to be blessed with one of human's highest ideals - and so the fear of losing someone we love is one of the greatest challenges we face. It is something that most of us cannot accept - the idea that death is the end; that the universe could be so cruel - so pointless? And so we fight it with belief systems - whether that be in ideas of heaven or a place after death, or ghosts, whereby our loved ones remain in spirit with us, or in literature, where we capture our loved ones for eternity within the pages of a book, or in medicine, where our loved ones' organs live on in another, or in monuments that will stand for all of time.
Dr. Greyson refuses to be bound by the idea of loss - but he, like almost all of his fellow trope brothers is refused. The universe disallows such meddling with the cosmic order, and as with all of these tortured geniuses, he must be punished.
About Beautiful Freaks (Volume I on SALE for 99¢ during October) #OctoberFrightsSale
A dark and twisted saga that winds its way through the Victorian streets of London like a luxurious and lethal ribbon.
When a series of terrifying and seemingly paranormal murders occur at a rapid rate, panic and fear grip the city. Still haunted by the ghost of the Whitechapel Ripper case, Inspector Steptree is forced to admit the murderer he now pursues maybe even more wicked and brutal. As the case closes down on the mysterious No.7 club, owned by the enigmatic Evangeline Valentine, Steptree discovers that evil is far from a fantasy.
It is against this backdrop that Kaspian Blackthorne turns eighteen and begins his apprenticeship under the scientific maverick, Doctor Greyson, a pioneer in brain surgery, and human transplantation. Whilst Kaspian is introduced to the horrors and wonders of man’s scientific progress, he also begins an epic adventure of self-discovery and infatuation. Guided into the decadent and luxuriant world of the London West End night scene by his new friend Hugh Denvers, Kaspian tastes the sweet temptation of a life less ordinary, but such a privilege comes at a terrible price.
A cast of timeless characters and dark, grown-up fairy tales interweave to create a rich and haunting tale of fear and desire.
99¢ / 99p KINDLE SALE (Also available in paperback)