Ballantine, January, 2002.
Hardcover, 256 pages.
New York therapist Dr. Anne Kramer meets her last patient of the day: the elegant and charismatic Randolph Sontime. He immediately informs her that he is the assassin that the entire world is seeking for a particularly brutal murder of a famous and beloved public figure. Humoring him, she asks for his story -- and he obliges. And what a story it is. It is the story of Egypt before time -- for he is immortal. In his youth he was known as Han, and he was chosen to study at the House of Ra to to become a Practitioner. The Practitioners are Alchemists, who can reshape reality with their magic. Han and his two best friends, Akan and the beautiful Nefar combined their magic one evening -- although it was forbidden to combine powers -- and a terrible tragedy ensued. Escaping the devastation of the House of Ra, they made their way into Egypt, which they longed to recreate as a perfect world, but their magic was imperfect, and even more tragedy ensued. From thence forward, their lives would be intertwined throughout history. Sontime has been known by many names throughout time, including Merlin and Rasputin. True Practitioners have a duty to the world: to keep it in balance. But not all Practitioners are good, or even sane. From the court of the Pharaoh Ahkenatan to the palace of the last czar of Russia, to modern day New York, these three old friends move through time and history. Together, they have the power to alter the course of our universe. Their decisions may change the world -- and not for the better.
Donna Boyd has created a breathtaking story of love, betrayal, ethics, magic, jealousy and insanity that is broad in scope, lush in language and thrilling to read. The descriptions of the House of Ra are absolutely fascinating. And the story of the three friends, two boys and a girl who together can combine their power with fantastic results, is riveting. The ending leaves room for a sequel, which is certainly good news for readers. Highly recommended.
The Alchemist is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the March, 2002 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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