The surgeon of souls: Luis Zueco

The surgeon of souls

The surgeon of souls

The surgeon of souls is a historical fiction novel written by award-winning Spanish author Luis Zueco. This work was edited and published by Ediciones B and reached the public on February 22, 2022. In the literary world, Zueco is famous for his taste for castles, ancient structures, and the dilapidated recesses of his homeland.

This peculiar love for the past can be indelibly noted in his pen. The surgeon of souls he has been able to transport critics and readers to times far from his own. Specifically, this work talks about the beginnings of surgery, and how it was perceived by members of a society that was unaware of these practices.

Synopsis of The surgeon of souls

Bruno's journey

Bruno Urdaneta's childhood could not be defined as "simple": his mother passed away, and his father is increasingly involved in high-risk political issues. They run the last years of the eighteenth century, and it is a troubled time. In this context, Bruno is forced by his father to leave the único Home that he knows to go in search of his uncle in the city of Barcelona.

That is how the young man, barely twelve years old, leaves Bilbao to find his relative, who is a famous surgeon. Bruno travels on foot to visit the reclusive doctor.

At first, the man doesn't want to get close to the boy, but soon after he discovers that the small is someone very special, and that has an unusual gift for surgery. So he decides to teach him everything he knows.

The discovery of the true vocation

Bruno He is, without a doubt, an exceptional boy. He learns very quickly the teachings of his uncle; however, the man dies, and the boy must embark on a new journey. This time, he chooses for himself to move to Madrid. He wants to get to the capital to enter the exclusive San Carlos school. The journey is completed successfully, but upon reaching the city and trying to enter the school, his procedures suffer some complications.

However, Bruno receives the help of a woman named Josefa de Amar y Borbón. Thanks to her, the young man is accepted in San Carlos to finally train in medical sciences. However, Upon studying more, she realizes that there is a particular branch that attracts her attention: the art of childbirth and female ailments. This is strange for a surgeon from the 1700s, but Bruno is not just any doctor.

The narrator, the historical context and the mystery

The story follows Bruno Urdaneta at the hands of a omniscient narrator. In that way, louis clog can tell the reader not only the twists, joys and misadventures in the life of the protagonist, but also the events that happen to the secondary characters. For example: it is possible to accompany Bruno during his first classes in San Carlos, where he acquires great knowledge about the techniques used at that time.

Likewise, Bruno wishes with all his heart to discover some remedy against the diseases of women, and the pain of the entire population. At the same time, on the surface of the city a mystery is brewing: the people of Madrid begin to find bodies without heads in the streets. While this is happening, great events take place, such as the French Revolution, the Enlightenment, the narration of the first Spanish Constitution and the independence of the United States.

Other historical data within the plot

This story of Luis Zueco is simmering; however, the technical explanations of the early period of surgery are not overwhelmingly recounted. The same happens with the narration of the historical setting where the events take place. In VXIII century Spain many things happened at the same time: the victory of the Iberian country in the battle of Bailén, in addition to the decimation of civilians and soldiers that occurred because of yellow fever.

The people of Cádiz had to fight against the Napoleonic army which, at the time, was the fiercest ever seen. Thus, with a war, a pandemic and a mystery on his back, the protagonist of The surgeon of souls and their allies must face suffering and terror, deaths and promises of births, in a story with a slow but captivating pen.

Main characters

Bruno Urdaneta

Bruno is a good and intelligent boy who is constantly looking for a way to help those who suffer. He has an extraordinary ability to carry out his work, he is tenacious, brave and tireless. Throughout the plot, his life puts him through increasingly difficult tests, and the protagonist faces them with integrity.

Josefa de Amar y Borbon

Josefa is a woman mentally ahead of her time. It is she who teaches Bruno the essential things in life, and help the boy achieve his dreams, what he wants most in his life.

About the author, Luis Zueco

louis clog

louis clog

Luis Zueco was born in 1979, in Borja, Zaragoza, Spain. He is a Spanish writer, historian, historical disseminator and engineer. The author obtained a degree in industrial technical engineering from the University of Zaragoza. Later, she did a degree in History from the National University of Distance Education. Thanks to this same institution, she acquired a master's degree in Artistic and Historical Research.

Clog It is recognized for spreading the history, beauty and importance of castles. This work led him to be the director of the Castillo de Grisel, winner of the Best Tourist Experience in Aragon (2019). The author's love for castles is so fervent that he bought the Palace of Bulbuente, a ruined structure that he later restored to live in. In the literary environment, Zueco's works have been translated into Italian, Portuguese and Polish.

Other books by Luis Zueco


  • Red Sunrise in Lepanto (2011);
  • Step 33 (2012);
  • Land without king (2013);
  • The Castle (2015);
  • The city (2016);
  • The monastery (2018);
  • the book merchant (2020)

Text book

  • Castles of Aragon: 133 routes [2011).

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