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November 03 , 2010

The Dangerous Art of Alchemy


A free e-short from Karen Maitland, author of Company of Liars, which unveils the dark historical context to her new novel, The Raven's Head.

The black object inside the flask was the head of a raven. Its beak was opened wide as if it cried out a warning, and from its mouth a long forked scarlet tongue quivered in the flickering candle flame, like a viper poised to strike.

Alchemy. The word conjures up images of magic, mystery and dark dungeons full of bubbling potions, with shadowy figures poring over ancient manuscripts in pursuit of the secret formula that will allow them to turn base metal into pure gold. And, for centuries, this image of alchemy was not far from the truth...

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Take science and politics. Mix with desire and desperation. Leave to intensify. And you shall have the legendary world of the medieval alchemists, expertly drawn by the Queen of the Dark Ages.

*Includes real recipes devised by medieval alchemists

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