Fleshmarket by Nicola Morgan


Written by Nicola Morgan
Illustrated by


Fleshmarket by Nicola Morgan

It is Edinburgh, 1822, and young Robbie is eight years old when he witnesses his mother's pain and subsequent death from an operation - without anaesthetic - to remove a tumour from her breast at the hands of Dr Knox. Haunted by this terrible event, Robbie, his hapless father and baby sister Essie attempt to move on with their lives. But when Robbie's father loses all their money and disappears, Robbie is left to look after himself and his sister in the Edinburgh slums. Somehow he falls in with Burke and Hare, the two men whom Knox employs to 'collect' bodies for medical research. Robbie sees a way to avenge his mother's death. Convincing himself that Knox is having people killed for him to experiment on, Robbie eventually confronts him. But Robbie comes to realise that for all his hard-heartedness and corrupt methods, Knox's motives are ultimately for the good: to improve surgical conditions, and operate on patients with the greatest speed and therefore minimum risk. Robbie eventually trains to be a surgeon, finally giving meaning to his mother's tragic death.


Novel beginnings are seldom more dramatic or more grim than the first 10 pages of Nicola Morgan's Fleshmarket. This is sweat-on-the-forehead stuff. In the startling introduction to her story, Morgan, an uncompromising writer who doesn't believe in holding back, takes you straight to the painful centre of what is to follow and leaves you gasping.

* The Sunday Telegraph * Fleshmarket more than lives up to its evocative name and stylish jacket ... Morgan raises surprisingly contemporary issues about medical ethics through her rip-roaring plot with it's mix of real and imagined characters. It's a tour de force, the kind of novel that simply will not let you go * The Sunday Herald * Morgan -- in only her second novel -- could already be fairly compared to the late, greatly missed Leon Garfield * The Independent * A dark and moving thriller set in 19th century Edinburgh ... Morgan's vivid portrayal of Edinburgh's Old Town, steeped in poverty, corruption and disease has a Dickensian lucidity, which lifts this novel out of the ordinary. The struggles of a young boy caring for his sister, coupled with the ethical and moral dilemmas facing the early surgical pioneers, make this a powerful and unforgettable story. * The Bookseller *

About the Author

Nicola Morgan

Nicola Morgan has written nearly a hundred books. Her previous titles for Walker include The Teenage Guide to Stress, winner of the School Library Association Award 2015, with both the judges’ and readers’ awards, Blame My Brain, which was shortlisted for the Aventis Prize for Science, and Wasted, which won the Scottish Children's Book Award and other awards and shortlistings. Nicola often speaks in schools and at conferences all over the world about issues concerning teenagers, such as stress and well-being, the reading brain and online life. Nicola also creates original resources for teachers. She is a former dyslexia specialist and is an Ambassador for Dyslexia Scotland.

Read more about the author here.

More books by this author

Other Formats

Book Info


272 pages


Nicola Morgan
More books by Nicola Morgan

Author's Website



Hodder Children's Books an imprint of Hachette Children's Group

Publication date

16th October 2003



This company is amazing; not only is it is a great opportunity to get books and review them but everyone is so friendly and supportive!

Jemma Rubens, age 10

I have told all my friends, family & teachers to see for themselves just how great the site is. Without fail, they are hugely impressed.

Alexander Boxall – age 11

At @HHSHaringey we love @lovereading4kids because our pupils can practice reviewing & get free upcoming books before anyone else!

Helen Swinyard – Heartlands High

We love Lovereading4kids because they put books in front of us we wouldn’t otherwise have read. They make us more adventurous readers!

Emily Jacques

Writing reviews help the children with their literacy skills and we always read the books together which gives us good quality family time!

Cat Bisland (on behalf of the Bi

I love Lovereading4kids because I get an opportunity to put my opinion forward and to try new books

Elosie Clarkson – age 11

It is THE website to use for narrowing down your search for any book. Definitely knocks the socks off any other book review website.

Nickey and Tomasz Hawryszczuk

I love all the books they recommend & put up for me to review. I also love the fact that they give new authors the chance to share their boo

Daisy Pennock – age 15

Lovereading 4 schools