The Wisdom of Bones

Written by Kitty Aldridge
Review by Mike Ashworth

London, 1879. Percival Unusual George is a showman. He leads a troupe of nine performing Remarkables. He is driven by a dream of fame and fortune, but in reality, his troupe are at best second rate, and times are difficult. He finds himself involved with members of the scientific community who are looking to exploit members of his group for their own ends. George has a skeleton of a dwarf and a diary supposedly written by him of his life at the court of the exiled Polish king Stanislav between 1746 and 1764. It is a story of casual, unthinking mental and physical cruelty as the dwarf recounts his story leading up to his tragic death. George is looking for ways to use the skeleton and story in his quest for celebrity. He gets his wish – but not in a way he anticipated.

The characters are strong, and the two stories join together and flow seamlessly. I initially found the Victorian slang off-putting, but as the story progresses, the language becomes a natural extension of the story. This is a story of theatrical folk written by an actress, and carries the ring of authenticity, bringing alive not only the life and times of the group, but also Victorian London. Looking for something different? This is for you. Enjoy!