Date of publication: July 16th, 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction, Science Fiction
Purchase Links: Amazon
Format Read: Unedited ARC
Received From: Author
When the secrets of the past threaten to destroy the future.
A tale of hope, resilience, and the indomitable spirit of a woman, this sweeping epic spans the Atlantic from New England to Morocco during the Age of Exploration.
2019: A young woman finds a relic engraved with a mysterious symbol off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. Terrorists in Morocco steal a 17th-century book engraved with the same symbol. As the woman struggles to unravel the secrets behind the symbol, her life changes in ways she could never have imagined.
1657: Transported back in time, she meets the alchemist, John Winthrop, Jr. who is plotting to lure the greatest scientific minds to the New World. But the more she learns, the more she fears for the lives of the loved ones she left behind.
In a stunning twist of fate, a modern terrorist has traveled into the past, where he has become a Barbary Corsair. He has plans of his own. And he will stop at nothing to succeed.
His parents called him Ismail after the Moroccan Warrior King, but even his new Glock-17 didn’t make Ismail feel like a warrior.The Alchemy Thief by R.A. Denny
I am not a huge fan of time travel books. I have read a few books out of that genre that soured me on them. So, I was a little hesitant to read The Alchemy Thief. What eventually sold me on the book was the alchemy angle.
I am glad that I decided to read The Alchemy Thief. This book was action-packed and full of interesting facts about Colonial Massachusetts and the Barbary Corsairs (which I have rarely read about).
The Alchemy Thief started slow. Usually, I’m not too fond of it when books start slow. But, in this instance, Peri and Ayoub’s backstories needed it. Once the book explained their backstories, then it picked up speed. It stayed at a medium pace throughout the book. Again, I wasn’t bothered by it. The pace fits the book. If it went slower, the storyline would have dragged. If it went faster, then I feel that I would have missed out on some of the backstories. So, the pacing was perfect.
I felt awful for Ayoub’s character and thought that the author did a fantastic job of portraying him. She captured what war and extremism do to children. Ayoub was 10-11 when he was sent back in time. As a mother, I was horrified by what he was exposed to and what he was forced to do. I wanted to reach through the book, scoop him up, and hug him. But, even though he was sent back in time and became a Barbary Corsair, I think it was better than what he went through in modern times. But, as I said earlier, the damage was done, and it shaped him into the man he became later on in the book.
I was kind of “eh” about Experience when she first made an appearance in the book. She was too nice and very naïve. Oh, and trusting. She was very trusting to the point where I wanted to shake her and tell her to get rid of Liam. However, once she was transported back to Colonial Massachusetts, I felt that her character grew by leaps and bounds. She went from being this one-dimensional character to a fully fleshed-out person. I also liked that she forged friendships and relationships while figuring out how she was getting home.
As I mentioned above, the book’s alchemy angle was the reason I chose to read the book. I find alchemy fascinating, and The Alchemy Thief only added to that fascination. In addition, I enjoyed learning how the bodkins were made and how the main characters used them.
There is a romance angle to The Alchemy Thief. There are two main romances. The first one is Peri and Liam. I was 100% against Peri even looking at Liam. He came across as too smarmy. However, my instincts were right about him (the 100 virgins comment made me want to smack him).
The second romance was Peri and Daniel. Talk about a swoon-worthy romance. I loved the instant connection that they had. I also loved that Peri was able to confide in Daniel about where she had come from and what she was trying to do (go home). I also liked that Peri and Daniel’s romance came naturally. There was no Instalove and no instant sex. Instead, Daniel courted Peri and spent time with her.
The time travel angle of the book (which is tied into the alchemy angle) was very well written. I thought it was interesting how Ayoub and Peri were transported back in time. I liked that it was a one way only type deal. Once the main characters used the bodkin, it was gone. I also liked how the author didn’t have Ayoub or Peri give away the future. Well, Ayoub did, but he was written off as having a djinn. Peri was careful to keep her cellphone hidden and to keep up her Puritan facade.
The author had a glossary at the back that detailed the historical events. She also gave definitions to the Native American terms used. I found it helpful and was grateful that she included it.
The end of The Alchemy Thief was interesting. There is a big twist that I did not see coming, and it stunned me. She didn’t wrap up any of the storylines. Instead, with the way she ended the book, I want to read book 2. I need to find out what happens!!
I enjoyed reading The Alchemy Thief. It was engaging and kept my attention glued to my Kindle!!
I would recommend The Alchemy Thief to anyone over the age of 16. The Alchemy Thief is a clean book (no sex). There are some disturbing scenes of a suicide bombing. Ayoub has PTSD and has flashbacks about killing people as a child (he was forced). There is a scene where Peri is forced naked and has a man forcibly check her vagina (she was accused of being a witch).