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Alchemy is a masterful debut
January 28, 2016
Alchemy: Volumes 1 & 2 by Chris James
Globe Literary Mystery & Thrillers, Sci Fi & Fantasy Pub Date: December 18, 2015
Alchemy is an engrossing supernatural mystery that explores the lengths men will go to attain immortality. Do not be put off by the length of this omnibus edition, it is definitely better to read both volumes together. The second volume is more of a continuation than a sequel.
As the novel progresses, the reader moves back and forth in time, gaining a unique understanding of the situation from multiple perspectives - that of Lizzie, the last living model, Silver, the brilliant artist and alchemist, and a few other pertinent characters. The truth is multifaceted. In both novels, Silver is put on trial for murder. Chris James reveals events and intentions slowly, layer by layer enticing the reader with each new bit of information.
Although this is a mystery, it isn't a traditional one by any means. There are aspects that place it more amongst horror and fantasy novels. This isn't a novel appropriate for younger readers.
Alchemy is a magnificent first novel, and I commend Chris James on his skill. I look forward to seeing what he writes next.
I received a copy of Alchemy from the publisher and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
Alchemy: a story of perfect murder was the début novel of former British murder squad detective: Chris James, and covers a decade in the life of gentle genius and artist as he turns into a monster.
In Victorian London, close to the end of the 19th century, a young artist unravels what he believes to be the formula for immortality and raising the dead, prescribed in an ancient tome: Alchemy
Just when he cracks the secret code for the final components of his elixir, his mistress and inspiration, dies. His life is devastated, his mind fragile, destroyed by drugs. He knows he has the power to revive her. But obtaining the last ingredients means resorting to murder, taking innocent lives.
He just has to decide whose.
His only surviving model, our narrator, infatuated with this painter of her portrait, attends the trial of the century, where she finally learns that someone got away with murder.
In the sequel, the murdered victims come back for revenge while the killings continue, as others seek immortality. Finally, a surprise prisoner is brought to trial ~ the man they hung over twenty years before.