SHADOW OF THE ALCHEMIST
History is intermingled with fiction in this medieval noir with a cunning villain who keeps everyone guessing. The dark and brutal atmosphere of the times is expressed through inspired prose that is liberally laced with action.
Private sheriff Crispin Guest is known as the Tracker. Branded as a traitor and stripped of his holdings, he now leads a meager existence. Having fallen out of favor with the court, he must tread lightly as he helps brilliant alchemist Nicholas Flamel search for his kidnapped wife. The captor is after the Philosopher’s Stone, Flamel’s invention that is said to turn lead into gold and provide the elixir of life, which grants immortality. He kills Flamel’s assistant, leaving the first clue on his body. The kidnapper leads Guest and his invaluable apprentice, Jack, on a merry chase throughout London following strange symbols left in seemingly random places. (MINOTAUR, Oct., 304 pp., $25.99)