Review of Mary Lawrence’s Latest Novel, The Alchemist of Lost Souls

The focus of my blog is to review book series and not individual novels. But writers are going to continue writing novels within a series even after I have done my review, so I plan on reviewing the individual novels as they come into circulation.  Mary Lawrence has recently added book #4, The Alchemist of Lost Souls, to the Bianca Goddard series.

The vast majority of reviews that I write are about thrillers that have a certain element of modern or futuristic science.  The fact that Mary Lawrence’s latest addition to her Bianca Goddard series takes place in the mid-16th century obviously deviates from my usual routine. But alas, the birth of modern science began with revelations from Nicolaus Copernicus that the earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around occurred in the mid-1500s.  This is exactly the time era that The Alchemist of Lost Souls takes place. Even so, most of the reasoning from Europeans during this time period was based on religious or superstitious ideologies.  What is unique about this series is that Bianca Goddard is an herbalist and the daughter of an alchemist and she thinks very much like a scientist. And the scientist in her is very much alive in this latest addition to the series as she uses her deductive reasoning to solve a series of murders.

The Alchemist of Lost Souls begins with Bianca’s father Albern Goddard, an alchemist, discovering a new ‘element’ for which eventually is given the name of lapis mortem, the stone of death. Goddard’s stones are stolen from him and the distribution of them leads to a trail of gruesome murders. Bianca teams up with Constable Patch, known from previous additions to the series, to find the murderers. Normally Bianca would be totally gung ho in solving a series of murders but this particular case becomes personal as not only is her father involved but her mother and her long-time friend Meddybemps maybe as well.  If this isn’t enough to induce a Pepto-Bismol moment, Bianca also needs to worry about her hubby being shipped off to fight a battle and the upcoming arrival of their first child.

Lawrence has created a fun and intriguing mystery while also giving the reader a glimpse into the seedier life of Tudor England. Throughout the series there has been one mysterious character that lurks in the background known as the Rat Man. Very little is revealed on who or what this character maybe, but the Rat Man takes on an exceptional role that results in an explosive ending to this latest addition to the series. For this, I give The Alchemist of Lost Souls two thumbs up!

I would like to thank NetGalley and Kensington Publishing for my copy of The Alchemist of Lost Souls.

To learn more about the series check out the Bianca Goddard series.

The Alchemist of Lost Souls will be released on April 30, 2019

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