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Brilliant protagonist fits the bill in Enlightenment tale

Tristan Hart is the very model of a freethinking Enlightenment teenager.

He has rejected organised religion and the "terrifying mystery of Scripture and pulpit". His is a rational God who can be approached through the exercise of human reason. Tristan is already reading Descartes and Harvey, and when he grows up he wants to be a scientist: "a giant of natural philosophy" and the "prophet of a new world". He is particularly fascinated by the workings of the human body, so he aspires to a medical career. Not far into the novel he sets up a makeshift laboratory and starts to dissect rodents.

The Tale Of Raw Head And Bloody Bones

Jack Wolf

Chatto & Windus, £14.99

Jack Wolf: Tale Of Raw Head And Bloody Bones (Chatto & Windus)

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