For years, alchemist Ferris Stannum has devoted himself to developing the Elixir of Life, the reputed serum of immortality. Read more...
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. Instead he is strangled in his bed and his journal is stolen.
As the daughter of an alchemist herself, Bianca is well acquainted with the mystical healing arts. As 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 proves to be 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. . .
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-12-14
- Reviewer: Staff
Colorful alchemical lore and a vividly imagined 1543 London enrich Lawrences engaging if imperfectly plotted sequel to 2015s The Alchemists Daughter. When chemiste Bianca Goddard, whos estranged from her alchemist father, needs help with processing the salves and medicinals she sells, she turns to venerable alchemist Ferris Stannum. On the day that Stannum announces a new discoveryan elixir of immortality that will save others and make him richshe meets physician Barnabas Hughes, shady alchemist Thomas Plumbum, and moneylender Joseph Tait, all of whom see an opportunity in the formula. The next day, Stannum is dead and the notebook holding the formula missing. Though Hughes pronounces it natural, Biancas curiosity about Stannums sudden demise intensifies once his landlady and then his daughter die, the notebook reappears at her home, and she herself is attacked. Lawrence excels at exploring themesparent-child conflict, dreams of eternal life, and the limitations of medicinethat have period and present-day resonance. Agent: Fred Tribuzzo, Rudy Agency. (Feb.)