Book Review: Alchemy – Turning Silver to Gold, By Chris James (Book 2)

Publisher:  Global Literary  |  Publication date: 14th December 2015  |  This edition:  Kindle

Alchemy 2 My Review

Alchemy turning silver to goldChris James continues Jacob Silver’s demise in the next instalment of ‘Alchemy’ with this surreal and imaginative Victorian world of dastardly deeds and murderous intentions.

In Book One, it was believed that the souls of ladies with certain traits could be captured to create an elixir, which would promise immortality to the person consuming it. Well, following lively courtroom exchanges, Jacob Silver was found guilty of being a wicked serial killer and had been sentenced to death.

Young Lizzie, whom Jacob unknowingly cured of consumption with his potions, never believed the verdict and vowed to clear his name, despite her father’s insistence that she should leave the damned thing alone.

This outing sees the battle to prove immortality exists and to discover the identity and whereabouts of the elusive professor, who coached Jacob in the dark science yet absconded without a trace when the arrests for murder of the ladies were being made. A mysterious, crooked villain is starting to make appearances at the site of many a hideous scene in Book Two. Despite the development of revolutionary techniques to gather evidence, this cloaked figure is one step ahead of the humble authorities, who bumble through the investigation with the lives of many a civilian in their hands.

There’s much more back history in this story. We’re transported hundreds of years into the past to offer an explanation how an Alchemist’s recipe for immortality came into existence and provide more plausibility of the science applied in the early 20th century and, more importantly, the reasons for the specific ingredients that were used.

Turning Silver to Gold is a blend of horror, fantasy, crime and history. It’s gritty and imaginative, and there’s some great character interaction – I loved it when Conan Doyle’s fabulous investigative medical services were called for to address the inexplicable. Then we discover that Queen Victoria isn’t fussed about bending the rules when it suits her, and I don’t think her subjects would be amused!

Although a new love interest is on the cards for Lizzie, knowing whether Jacob is innocent or guilty is always in the forefront of her mind – especially when she discovers his corpse is no longer secured in his coffin. History could easily repeat itself and someone may get away with murder…the question is – whose?

There are some great lines and bizarre occurrences, which it’s best not question, just set reality aside for a while and enjoy. I’d also strongly suggest you read Book One first, as you’ll appreciate Jacob Silver’s predicament much, much more.

Rating: 4/5

(My thanks to the author for providing an advanced copy of his book in exchange for review.)

Alchemy 2 Book Summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

London ~ 1915

A sensational murder trial begins at the Old Bailey, the accused having apparently been hung for similar shocking murders, in 1895.

How had Jacob Silver escaped the hangman? Where was he, these last 20 years?

Lizzie Weston, his only surviving model, was convinced he was innocent the first time. But after the evidence against him unfolds, she’s sure he’s guilty this time.

Jacob Silver, having unravelled an ancient recipe in the old tome: Alchemy, is convinced he is immortal, and that’s how he survived the hanging. Improving his skills over the last 20 years, he now claims he can raise the dead.

The prosecution allege he murdered five more women for their souls ~ as Alchemy, the manual of murder prescribes.

But is anything as it seems?


Alchemy 2 Author Links

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

A former murder squad detective in England, Chris was often the lead-detective in murder trials. No stranger to murder and the macabre, he was a regular contributor to British True Crime television series. He has maintained an interest in criminology his entire adult life.

In 2006 he moved from England to Mallorca, a beautiful Spanish island in the Mediterranean, where he is a keen yachtsman.

“Alchemy: a story of perfect murder” – is his debut novel, and the first of a trilogy.


Murder, by Sarah Pinborough

Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books | Publication date: 4th December 2014 | Edition: Paperback (own copy)

Any arguments deduced from the nature of her wounds suggest not that she was murdered for her money…but that she was assassinated by somebody who found a revengeful satisfaction in battering her even after his first blows had killed her…

Murder by Sarah Pinborough

We meet again, Dr Bond | Murder, the sequel to Mayhem.

You know those books you have to keep reading in a frenzied, all-consuming attempt to discover what happens next?

Well, the first there was ‘Mayhem’, by Sarah Pinborough, which was such an excellent read I had no hesitation in buying it’s sequel, ‘Murder’ – and I was not disappointed!

To summarise:

Dr Bond believes that his previous connection with the Jack the Ripper case had ceased, along with his Opium dependency, but to his dismay, he finds that the depravity soon returns to haunt him, and it’s far worse than he could ever have expected.

Now, not only are there the bodies of dead infants in the Thames, murder on railway and the underbelly of Victorian life to contend with – “Jack” is back, with a habit that grows and needs to be fed.

Don’t be fooled into believing that these books merely regurgitate the same reports of old. The stories we’ve all heard surrounding the infamous serial killer now have their own unique and slightly fantastical element behind the crimes being committed. The evil deeds are perfectly descriptive to let you oversee just enough horror, and these scenes are quite unnerving, as the killer is not of this world.

As ‘Murder’ leaps right into events and characters that appeared in the first book, to have a better understanding of the continuing story it would make more sense for you to read ‘Mayhem’ first.

Rating: Absolutely a 5/5 without a doubt.  Very happy to recommend.

You can follow the author on Twitter: @SarahPinborough