Elizabeth Redfern works literary alchemy in a novel that seamlessly incorporates the best of historical fiction, romance, and intrigue.
Elizabeth Redfern's storytelling powers have also been compared to le Carré and Dickens, Thomas Harris and Iain Pears. Now she presents her new novel, set in 1609 London and centering on the furious quest to turn lead into gold.
Since the night that young Ned Warriner set upon the guards escorting a Catholic prisoner to the Tower of London, allowing the accused spy to escape a brutal death, he has been in self-imposed exile, supporting himself as a mercenary soldier in the bloody battles between the Dutch and the Spanish. Now, in spite of the danger, he has returned to his native land, where the woman he left behind, his beloved Kate Revill, has married a Catholic-hunter. It is not a happy marriage, and Kate, like Ned, still yearns for the passion they once shared. But discovery would risk both their lives.
Disreputable in appearance, and still wanted for his crime, Warriner makes his way about the city by penning poems or cheating cheaters in late-night pub games. But to win his freedom and safety for good, he must respond to an earl's blackmail and kill a member of the King's court. One thing, though, could change his dire circumstances: the letter he possesses, ad-dressed to "Auriel," stuffed in the pages of a leatherbound book, won with dice and nearly forgotten. It may contain what many in London are buzzing about: the secret of the Philosopher's Stone, the method for making gold. Even if it is a hoax, it may change his destiny as well, for those who know its whereabouts would gladly kill for it.
Journeying to a fascinating era in history and painting an atmosphere rich in detail, Elizabeth Redfern brings us a masterful work of period suspense. [via]