“Redfern's first novel, THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES, wasn't my favorite, but this book, set in early 17th century London and centered on alchemy, was WONDERFUL. Ned Warriner, the protagonist, returns from exile to find the woman he loves married to another man, and his opportunities for moneymaking are limited. He wins some old books while gambling and discovers a letter, written to "Auriel," inside one of the books. The letter, written by John Dee before he died, is the secret of the Philosopher's Stone, which will turn any object to gold. It also turns out to be a coded letter to Sir Walter Raleigh, whom John Dee called "Auriel." Raleigh has been imprisoned for years by the king, and the letter, in alchemical terms, outlines a plan for his escape. Redfern did an incredible job with this novel, much better than I had expected.”
Alethea wrote this review Wednesday, October 1, 2008.