“A Cold Legacy” is the third novel of “The Madman’s Daugher” series, by Megan Shepherd. Published by HarperCollinsPublishers, it is a young adult science fiction novel.
The events in this novel take place during the Victorian Era, in Scotland, once Juliet and her cohorts have left London due to the murder they committed.
Juliet and her best friend Lucy found out that their fathers had been corresponding for years, even after Juliet’s father, Dr. Moreau, escaped London after a scandal. He was thought to be dead at this point; instead, however, he was on an island, conducting revolutionary experiments by creating human-like creatures through the process of vivisection (dissection on live creatures, without the use of anesthesia). He was connecting organs from various animals and was preventing rejection by inserting tissue in the form of a serum. In the first novel of the series, called “The Madman’s Daughter”, the author reveals that Juliet was actually his first experiment. When she was little, doctors said that she was going to die due to a spinal cord deformation. Her mother had desperately asked him to do anything to keep her alive. For that reason, he implanted deer parts to replace her problematic ones. Therefore, she, too, has to take the serum in order to survive.
After people learned about Moreau’s experiments, the family’s fortune had been taken away, leaving them penniless. With her mother dead and believing her father was also, Juliet was left on the streets; Dr. Moreau, however, was living on an island where all residents were products of his experiments, except from his assistant, Montgomery. All that time, Dr. Moreau and Mr. Radcliffe, Lucy’s father, an investor, were sending letters to each other regarding the experiments. Radcliffe would send large amounts of money for scientific equipment, and Moreau would conduct the experiments.
Moreau had come up with a new idea to perfect his creatures—to use human blood in order to turn an animal into a human. The only outcome of that procedure was Edward. When Montgomery was ill, Moreau drew blood from him for “blood tests”. Instead, he used that blood on Edward. However, due to Montgomery’s illness, the blood which he injected Edward with was infected with malaria. That, in addition to the rabies-infected jackal organs that he had used to create Edward, caused an anomaly in the posterior lobe of the brain. That created another personality within Edward—two creatures in one body. Edward himself was a nice, kind person. However, the “Beast”, or what the characters refer to as his second half, is far from nice. When Edward turns into the Beast, he changes entirely—both mentally and physically. In a matter of seconds, he gets taller and bigger, grows six-inch-long claws, a cruel personality, a deep voice, and frightening yellow eyes. Though Juliet hates the Beast, she can’t help admiring him at the same time. She is jealous of his freedom, and even though she doesn’t want to admit it, she knows that both of them have a lot in common.
After her father really dies, three men—Dr. Hastings, Scotland Yard Inspector John Newcastle, and Mr. Radcliffe—try to steal his research. Since the Beast is so powerful, they want to use Moreau’s notes to create an army of similar creatures and ship them to France. Juliet and Montgomery know that this is a terrible idea. If just one of the creatures was able to create such havoc, they can’t even begin to imagine what a whole army of them could and would do.
“What darkness began, only madness can end.”