My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Alchemist Gift gives the reader good value for their money at approximately 450 pages long. The story is primarily set in Renaissance Italy and Bavaria with a secondary minor setting of current day San Diego.
The book has a large cast of characters who are all introduced in fine flowing detail, many of who appear in several different time scales as the stories jump back and forth during proceedings.
A dream scene opens the book with a piazza full of people gathering for a town event. We then meet Roland Hughes in present day San Diego, a twenty-eight year old perpetual student drifting through life unsure of his true role. Supported by life-long friend Liz, Roland fails to see that his lethargy to life and love is losing him a future with Liz.
Back in medieval Italy several innocent girls are being accused of witch-craft, until a storm saves them from burning and a miracle occurs. The story then follows many of the characters in tales of their lives, struggles and loves. A special cabinet is made from wood which is believed to have magical qualities. Approximately 600 years later in San Diego Roland finds an alchemist cabinet which transports him in time to the Renaissance era where he is coerced into the life of an alchemist and the ultimate prize to turn lead into Gold.
I enjoyed reading the alchemy parts in the book, but I didn’t connect with Roland’s character. I also found myself struggling to keep pace with all the characters and the level of their importance to the storylines. The book does offer family trees at the back which could perhaps be placed earlier for an e-version.
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