7 years after Mr Hyde died, Dr Jekyll is back in London. But Jekyll is dead – so it can’t be him, can it?
I received a review copy of Dr Jekyll and Mr Seek
Seven years ago, Mr Hyde was killed in London and Dr Jekyll disappeared. Jekyll’s lawyer, Mr Utterson, now stands to inherit his house and estate. Suddenly Dr Jekyll turns up again, charming his old friends and reclaiming his old home. But Utterson knows that he can’t be Jekyll – because Jekyll was Hyde, wasn’t he?
I’ve never read Robert Louis Stevenson’s original classic, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, although I currently have two sons studying it for GCSE English!
The storyline of Stevenson’s book has passed into common knowledge. Dr Jekyll is fascinated by the conflict between good and evil in humans. So he concocts a potion which releases his dark side in the form of Mr Hyde. Hyde is killed at the end of the original story (sorry if that’s a spoiler!), which of course means that Dr Jekyll dies as well.
In Dr Jekyll and Mr Seek, a man turns up who looks and sounds like Dr Jekyll. All of his friends seem happy to accept that it’s Jekyll, and accept his explanation for his 7 year absence. Only Utterson seems to doubt the story, but maybe his judgement has been clouded by the inheritance he stands to lose.
I was intrigued by this novel when it turned up for review. Sequels written by another author don’t always hit the mark, but the plot sounded really exciting.
And luckily it lived up to my hopes. Anthony O’Neill has written a gripping novel that kept me hooked from the start. The language is flowing and lyrical, much in the style of the era when the original novel was written. So this certainly feels like a fitting sequel.
The purported Dr Jekyll’s rehabilitation into his old life moves along very quickly, and I was never quite sure what was going to happen next. Are Utterson’s concerns genuine, or is he just concerned that he’s going to lose out on Jekyll’s inheritance?
Dr Jekyll and Mr Seek is quite a short novel, and the plot moves at quite a pace, so it really carries the reader along. You don’t need to have read the original novel to enjoy this book. O’Neill explains just enough to allow you to understand the background, without giving away too much from Stevenson’s classic. My only disappointment is that the ending seems little abrupt. I was so engrossed by the story that it took me a little by surprise!
But after enjoying this book so much, I’m now planning on borrowing my son’s copy of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde very soon. And that’s certainly a compliment to Anthony O’Neill’s sequel.
Seven years after the death of Edward Hyde, a stylish gentleman shows up in foggy London claiming to be Dr Henry Jekyll. Only Mr Utterson, Jekyll’s faithful lawyer and confidant, knows that he must be an impostor – because Jekyll was Hyde. But as the man goes about charming Jekyll’s friends and reclaiming his estate, and as the bodies of potential challengers start piling up, Utterson is left fearing for his life … and questioning his own sanity.
This brilliantly imagined and beautifully written sequel to one of literature’s greatest masterpieces perfectly complements the original work. And where the original was concerned with the duality of man, this sequel deals with the possibility of identity theft of the most audacious kind. Can it really be that this man who looks and acts so precisely like Dr Henry Jekyll is an imposter?
A gripping sequel to Stevenson’s classic novel: 8/10