After hiding his face for 15 years, Richard Lee Norris has stepped into the spotlight for a book about the surgery that saved his life.

Norris made headlines in 2012 when he received a full face transplant – the result of a 36-hour operation that swapped his scarred skin and shattered bones with tissue from a donor. Now he's sharing his story in "The Two Faces of Richard," a biography punctuated with never-before-seen black and white photos of his amazing transformation.

"This book shows that it's possible to go through hell and come out on the other side," said Coos Hamburger, a photojournalist and author of the e-book recently released on Amazon.

See pictures of Richard Lee Norris and other face transplant recipients through the years.

The story begins on Sept. 10, 1997, when the Remington 12-gauge pump shotgun Norris was repositioning in a gun cabinet emptied a round in his face.

"Richard's memory of the details was virtually obliterated along with his chin, jaws, mouth, nose and tongue," Coos wrote in his book, describing the horrific accident that landed Norris in a medically-induced coma as doctors raced to save his life and salvage remnants of his face. "He recalls only a vague fog of thoughts tied together like a cobweb as he gradually recovered in the hospital weeks later."

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