In the mid sixteenth century, Henry VIII sits on the throne, and Bianca Goddard tends to the sick and suffering in London’s slums, where disease can take a life as quickly as murder…
For years, alchemist Ferris Stannum has devoted himself to developing the Elixir of Life, the reputed serum of immortality. Having tested his remedy successfully on an animal, Stannum intends to send his alchemy journal to a colleague in Cairo for confirmation. But the next day his body is found and the journal is gone.
Bianca, the daughter of an alchemist, is well acquainted with the mystical healing arts. When her husband John falls ill with the sweating sickness, she dares to hope Stannum’s journal could contain the secret to his recovery. But first she must solve the alchemist’s murder. As she ventures into a world of treachery and deceit, Stannum’s death is only the first in a series of murders—and Bianca’s quest becomes a matter of life and death, not only for her husband, but for herself…
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
No series about alchemy can be taken seriously without delving into a story about the Elixir of Immortality. Lawrence delivers a beautifully written mystery that not only sends the reader on a fast-paced adventure, but manages to ask some soul-searching questions about the meaning of life and what exists beyond. The characters are memorable and the author cleverly gives each of them a unique secret that will have you completely caught up in this amazingly visualized world of 16th century London. Lawrence is not a writer for the faint of heart. Highly recommended!
Alchemy conjures up for me the fantastic. Stories of dragons and knights or of wizards, ancient and contemporary. I had never given much thought to the idea that an alchemist may have been more than just a plot device in great fiction. The amount of detail about alchemy along with the science and spiritual standing of the time in question was staggering and added weight to the story beautifully. I truly enjoyed reading “Death of an Alchemist” by Mary Lawrence. It is a book that is hard to place in a genre; historical fiction: Tudor England, to a fine degree, making the reader see, hear and mostly smell what it was like to live in that time period. A mystery thriller: with a thrilling mystery, without the egoistic grandstanding of typical mysteries, that never loses sight of the brilliant story underlying all. How about just great fiction. Just as the textures of daily life are omnipresent in this novel, so are the contextual vagaries of the various relationships between the characters. Bianca and John are obviously in love, however the author doesn’t choose to sugar coat it, they are also a married couple with all the hills and valleys that implies. Parent/Child relationships are the crux of this tale. They are dysfunctional and imperfect, yet unbreakable bonds that lead parent and child to do the unexpected. The interactions between characters offered realistic presentation, that further conveyed the typical of the time period. I have not read “The Alchemist's Daughter,” book one of this series. This story stands alone quite nicely and all the information the reader needs to know is beautifully woven into this tale. I will make it a point to be on the lookout for anymore books forthcoming. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
The plot keeps building and twisting like a tense movie! Clues building on each other that helps solve each mystery. Character development endears Bianca & John to the reader and makes me hope for another book soon!