Book Review: A Conspiracy of Alchemists

A Conspiracy of Alchemists (The Chronicle of Light and Shadow, #1)A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think I bought this at the Romantic Novelists' Association conference in Sheffield, which means it's been sitting on my shelf an embarrassing eighteen months.  What finally prompted me to read it was my sudden fascination with steampunk, which resulted from being introduced to Lindsay Buroker's excellent 'Emperor's Edge' series.  Like the 'Emperor's Edge' series, 'Conspiracy of Alchemists' combines charming whimsy with darkly gritty realism.
Pilot Elle Chance wants nothing more than to fly her airship in peace, but when she agrees to ship a mysterious box back from Paris to London, she finds herself dragged into a dangerous quest to thwart the Alchemists’ plans for world domination. Throw in a mysterious stranger, a pocket absinthe fairy and a trip aboard the Orient Express, and you have the recipe for the ultimate magical mystery tour.
The historically realistic detail combined with lashings of magic and science make for an atmospheric read, while the high stakes in Elle’s adventure kept me turning pages relentlessly.
 No wonder this won Liesel Schwarz an award from the Romantic Novelists’ Association – although the book is so much more than just a romance!

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