Death of an Alchemist : Book 2
Stymied in her efforts to create a medicine for the Sweating Sickness, Bianca seeks the advice of a noted alchemist. Ferris Stannum has just discovered the Elixir of Life, the mythical potion of immortality. Stannum, caught up in his discovery, dismisses lenders who come calling. The next day, the alchemist is found dead.
The Coroner rules his death from natural cause, but Bianca has her doubts. His missing alchemy journal and a blood-stained pillow rouse her suspicions.
As Bianca pursues answers to Stannum's untimely death, John falls ill from the Sweating Sickness. Her focus turns to saving John, and when the missing journal unexpectedly turns up, a cure is within her reach. However, possession of the journal comes at great peril. The body of a second alchemist is found and Bianca finds herself the killer's next target. The twisted and dangerous quest of immortality becomes a matter of life and death, not only for John, but for herself.
"...is quick, consuming and wholeheartedly driven by its insatiable heroine."
-Portland Press Herald
"Lawrence excels at exploring themes--parent-child conflict, dreams of eternal life, and the limitations of medicine--that have period and present-day resonance."
"Fast-paced, with many twists and an unexpected ending. A must-read!"
-RT Book Reviews
"Lawrence is a talented writer."
-Historical Novel Society
If all men slept soundly, think on what tranquility their souls might enjoy. But this night, one restless soul could not sleep and sought peace through other means.
Those looking for ill-gotten gains benefit from stifling summer heat combined with the dark of night. Denizens with the luxury of windows open them wide, hoping for a breeze to find their beds. Others worry their open door might invite thieves or even rapists, and while some gamble they might be spared such crimes for a decent night's rest, others are not so complacent and lock their doors and windows. Ferris Stannum, the alchemist, was of the trusting kind.
What could befall a man who had discovered the secret to immortality? He alone had been granted that destiny. Most alchemists espoused their virtues and single-minded purpose trying to convince God (as well as themselves), that they deserved success. But Ferris Stannum had been blessed beyond all others.
Hope filled a puffer's heart, but not his purse. Alchemists spent money that should have bought food for their families. They squandered their last coin; they squandered their future in a desperate pursuit to project the stone. Ferris Stannum smiled in his sleep. Yes, he, too, had squandered, but soon he would recoup every loss he had ever incurred.
All but one.
Though he was hopeful he might turn that around.
His mind was soothed by the knowledge that he had been blessed with a great destiny. However, there was one who crept into Ferris Stannum's rent who did not think about matters of destiny.