In Krakow in 1585, Dr John Dee, the Elizabethan Alchemist and Occultist, and his assistant Edward Kelley have been summoned by the King of Poland to save the life of his niece, the infamous Countess Elisabeth Bathory. But they soon realize that the only thing worse than the Countess' malady, is the magic that might be able to save her...
As Jackdaw and Felix race to uncover the truth about the person hunting her, it becomes clear that the answers they seek can only be found in the ancient diary of John Dee's assistant, Edward Kelley. Together they must solve a mystery centuries in the making, or die trying.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-06-22
- Reviewer: Staff
The 16th-century storyline in this paranormal thriller debut is gripping, featuring both Countess Elisabeth Báthory, said to have slaughtered 80 girls and bathed in their blood to stay young, and John Dee, necromancer and advisor to Queen Elizabeth. Unfortunately, the sections set in present day England are less enticing. In 1585, Dee and his assistant, Edward Kelley, undertake a perilous journey to the Báthory castle at Niepolomice, Poland, where they are asked to save the life of the countess. Alexander does a convincing job of depicting the dangers along the way, including an attack on the convoy by wolves, and that feeling of lurking violence is sustained as Dee attempts to fulfill his mission. The first contemporary sections are also suspenseful, as Prof. Felix Guichard, an expert on "esoteric belief systems," is called in by the police when the corpse of a teenager bearing "possible evidence of sorcery"—Enochian symbols that allegedly were given to Dee by angels—turns up in a train in Exeter, England. Guichard's quest for the truth becomes less interesting as it proceeds, and his character is underdeveloped. Readers will be left with high hopes for Alexander's next outing. (Oct.)