Thursday, July 22, 2021

The Alchemy Thief - A Review


The First Pirates & Puritans Book

In 2019 Peri Fuller is enjoying life, excited to be a freshman at Harvard being wooed by a wealthy older student. She’s also intrigued by the discovery of an interesting relic she found while swimming in the Atlantic; a piece that seems to have the same symbols as a book she saw on a recent trip to Morocco. Life is not so pleasant for Ayoub. Ayoub, a 10-year-old terrorist, has succeeded in stealing a rare book from a Moroccan museum, but at the cost of his mother. An ocean apart, freak storms and a strange ball of light transport both into the past. Ayoub grows up a feared Barbary corsair while Peri joins a group of Puritans in Martha’s Vineyard in the mid-1600s. As Ayoub strives to rid the world of infidels, Peri looks for a way home. Stuck in the 17th century Peri slowly realizes she may hold the clue to stop a terrorist threat in 2019.

Past and present are intimately entwined in THE ALCHEMY THIEF and I love how the connections are slowly revealed. Both Ayoub and Peri are flawed protagonists. Peri has the naivety and self-absorption of youth while Ayoub is basically a soulless villain. Both grow and persevere for very different reasons. Daniel is my favorite character of the book, a well-rounded, smart, and dashing lead player while Liam is the obnoxious spoiled rich boy.

I’m somewhat ambivalent about the religious overtones of the book, particularly the conversion of the Wampanoag. While I appreciate the dedication and faithfulness of the Puritans, at times the book seemed to be a bit preachy, especially with the counterpoint of Muslim extremists. I truly appreciate the historical detail that kept me engrossed in the story.

The biggest issue I had with the book was the ending. There wasn’t one. After a very long and involved story readers come to a stopping point, with several plot points revealed, but there was no resolution. There will be a second and even third book in the series, so I hope that readers will eventually find out what happens.

THE ALCHEMY THIEF is a fascinating genre bending novel incorporating historical detail with modern terroristic thrills.


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