In late 17th-century London, penniless medical student and grave-robber Josiah Fludd accepts a commission to bring a female corpse to the notorious Earl of Griswold. He suspects that this nobleman’s bizarre tastes include necrophilia. But when he delivers a whore’s body to Griswold’s mansion, he is astonished to learn that only the dead woman’s feet are necessary – for a surgical procedure to replace his Lordship’s green and reptilian claws.
In 21st century Florida, a dentist from New Jersey — Max Smedlow D.D.S. — crashes his BMW in the Florida swamps and is captured by Lemuel Lee Frobey and his Aunt Ligeia, two of Dr. Josiah Fludd’s malicious and cretinous descendants.
So it is, thanks to a grave-robber and his psychopathic descendants, that the fates of a modern dentist from New Jersey and a 17th-century earl become inextricably entangled. For after the Florida yokels kidnap him, scoop out his brain and transplant it in the head of the still-surviving Lord, the dentist tries desperately to retain his identity and fight off an onslaught of alien memories. Now that they’ve been surgically connected, the dentist and the lord alternate like Jekyll and Hyde: whenever the dentist’s brain tries to take control of the decrepit body and return to his life filling cavities in suburban New Jersey, the ancient lord interrupts him with three-hundred-year-old memories of his depraved youth when he debauched maidens, ate beggars, schemed to steal a dukedom and underwent excruciating operations that engrafted stolen body parts and cut out his growths of reptilian flesh.
As the dentist’s brain and the old Lord’s body struggle for supremacy, a cast of modern and 17th-century characters take the stage, including the editor of a New York City publishing house, a tribe of Florida Indians, the lesbian madam of a Restoration brothel and an albino alligator whose musk is the elixir of immortality.
Terry Richard Bazes is the author of Lizard World, published by Livingston Press, and of Goldsmith’s Return, published by White Pine Press. His publishing credits also include The Washington Post Book World, Newsday, Columbia Magazine, Travelers’ Tales: Spain, Lost Magazine and The Evergreen Review. He is a graduate of Columbia College and has a Ph.D. in English Literature from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His doctoral dissertation, entitled Romance and Realism in the Early Novel, a study of the role of the fantastic in 17th and 18th -century fiction, has served as a theoretical framework for his novels.
Louis Netter is an illustrator, animator and designer whose work may be found in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The New York Historical Museum, the Library of Congress, and several other museums and university libraries. His illustrations have appeared in several magazines, including The Stranger, Stocks and Commodities, The Cimarron Review, Sub Terrain and many more; his social and political artwork has been collected in a disturbing little book entitled Life’s Too Short For Nuance. He currently teaches illustration at Portsmouth University in the UK. He maintains his own website at http://www.louisnetter.com