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A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz
Elle wants nothing more to be a simple pilot, flying her small air freighter Water Lily and ignoring social mores. But there is nothing simple about the package her French contact Patrice wants her to carry to London. Within minutes of taking possession of the small box, she is attacked and robbed, saved only by the intervention of Patrice’s associate Marsh. Simple is going to become a very rare word in Elle’s vocabulary as she is pulled deeper and deeper into Marsh’s world. In a world of divided Light and Shadow, where Absinthe faeries flit through bars and Alchemists move through the shadows, a deadly plan has been set in motion. And Elle may just be the key to it all.
If you think you might enjoy your steampunk with a dash of ancient Greek myth for spice, this is the book for you. Toss in enough romance to get my attention without any of the posturing and fussing that generally drives me to drink as a reader and the book, and its wonderfully well rounded characters, caught and held my attention.
A Conspiracy of Alchemists is a fantastic mix of steampunk and sleuthing. Ms. Schwarz has built a world that is rich with familiar fantasy denizens as well as some nightmares and magic that is purely her own and breathes new life into the genre. It will appeal to fans of Gail Carraiger. It is a fast read- mostly because I was unwilling to put the book down.