In this alternate reality the world is flat. Untold rumours of treasure, the ability to turn lead into gold and death into life is what drove Lord Chelsey to sail to the end of the world. As he comes back, he has barrels of diamonds and a treasure troves of gold. Yet not 24 hours after he lands that every one of his crew members are dead, including himself. His treasure? Not treasure at all but barrels of sand and even more troves of sand.
This historical fantasy book is set just before Queen Mary's reign where protestants duck and hide when Mary takes the throne. To examine a human body after death is seen as sorcery and mercury is used to cure most.
We follow Stephen Parris the King's physician who is still mourning his son's death many years before. He secretly opens up corpses in order to learn, but he must do this in secret. A brave coward who will go to extreme lengths to find cures for diseases, when he hears that there is potential to find the elixir of life, quintessence, he jumps at the chance.
Christopher Sinclair is an alchemist with huge ambitions. Sinclair was the there when Chelsey died and told him secrets from the end of the world. Sinclair is reckless and throughout the story goes to new extremes time and time again, no one is too precious for his ambitions in the search for Quintessence.
While there are other characters in this story, Parris is probably the shining light. David Walton writes him as an unlikely hero, someone who just wants to better mankind and holds onto the faint hope that maybe, just maybe his son is out there somewhere. He holds no magical powers, no physical strength but you'll root for him none the less.
Quintessence by David Walton is as the cover says, wildly imaginative. There are so many different elements that comprise this book. There are philosophical, scientific and religious debates which fascinated me. It was like having a bit of sci-fi element in the book without being sci-fi. The book is written at a really fast pace and the story keep moving a long.
There are strange creatures, a bit of 'magic' and characters that you can believe are real. The dialogue in this book between characters make you seem you are in there listening to the conversations.
The ending to the book was perhaps a little bit predictable but it doesn't stop this from being a great read and I chewed through this pretty quickly (even with my busy school life). Give this author a go, I'm even giving you that chance!