(PDF READ) Alchemy of Fire Author Gillian Bradshaw


Merely the excuse for some class and employer conflict as Callimachus boss tries to suppress him to save his own job Despite the opportunities to explore the technology and nature of Byzantine inventors we re left with another clich d corrupt nobleman story that has very little new to say When Greek Fire is actually used it s in the last chapter of the book and while the description is good it s very brief and perfunctory The imperial princess plot is handled better as it s given time but "Since Our Only POV "our only POV is Anna the girl s mother we never really go into depth here either Instead we skip ahead two ears and spend the last few chapters safely free from having to witness the actual drama that was the driving thrust of the first half Wouldn t want a reason to actually careI appreciate some of the thought that went into this and the uniue choice of topics but in general this book gives us little reason to care about the characters or the plot It s unfocused with Greek Fire being used as a catalyst to tie some otherwise tricky plot threads together Despite the uniue setting the plot seems clich d and unimaginative I think its worst sin though is introducing plot elements and emotional journeys that it never follows through on Most notably the way in which the main conflict of the first half of the novel her fears of her daughter being stolen from her by the imperial family is basically ignored in the second half She s just content with it now and so s her daughter This is just lazy writing and I don t get why it had to be this way If Kojiki you want to tell the story of an illegitimate offspring of the imperial line then commit to that Ifou don t then focus on something else Just because a novel s set in the Byzantine empire doesn t mean it needs to focus on byzantine machinations Particularly not when the author seems generally uninterested in them so far i m not into this bookusually there is a real depth to her characters that seems to be missing in this book i m disappointed because i ve really enjoyed the last 3 bradshaw books that i ve read maybe it will get betteri m on page 100 One of the best historical fiction authors This is about the invention of Greek Fire and so much Gillian Bradshaw is one of my favorite historical fiction writers so I look forward eagerly to new books from her Sadly Alchemy of Fire was a disappointment and I say that with great reluctance Set in Constantinople in the 7th century CE it tells the story of Anna a perfume maker whose daughter is the product of Anna s union with the now dead brother to an emperor and of Kallinikos a Syrian who has fled to Constantinople to escape the Arab invasion and is now working on a secret weapon with which to fight the ArabsBradshaw is usually skilled at bringing other times and cultures to life in her fiction but this time the characters and cultures to life in her fiction but this time the characters and fail to come completely alive The dialogue is wooden and filled with italics so many that I counted nineteen italicized words on Two Consecutive Pages At consecutive pages at point and I never really cared about the characters or the plots they were caught up in Having been reading lately about medieval Islam I was intrigued to see what Bradshaw might make of its clash with Byzantium but unfortunately the answer was not much Skip this and go read The Beacon at Alexandria instead if ou haven t read Bradshaw before You ll get a much better sense of what she can do with historical fiction. Out her daughter is forced into the open Anna must accept huge upheaval and recognize her feelings for Kalliniko. .



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Rooting for it from the beginning because it didn t feel as though Anna was somehow destined to marry It felt like it could have remained friendship or ended badly or anythingI found it touching and absorbing even though I wouldn t call it unputdownable It takes its time for all that it only comprises 250 PAGES OR SO IT DIDN T STRIKE ME WITH or so It didn t strike me with like a couple of Bradshaw s other books but I enjoyed itReviewed for The Bibliophibian Not bad I like Gillian Bradshaw so I can be forgiving of boring parts of the book Her books always have an interesting strong female character and are good historical fiction I liked parts of this story but it seemed a bit all over the place like the authoress couldn t decide what character to follow The slow burn romance was pretty sweet and I liked it was about two mature adults not simply very oung people I liked the historical aspect and descriptions of course Ms Bradshaw never fails to pull ou right through the pages and into the homes streets battlefields or palaces of the times I loved the interesting descriptions and examples of being a perfume maker back in the day Super fascinating I did however find my interest lacking after about the halfway mark it didn t seem to progress with as much tension as many of her other books and though was pleased with the happy ending it felt a bit lackluster I admit to being a bitdisconcerted with how the authoress felt the need to acknowledge several times how she didn t want to come across as racist against Muslim s by describing their brutal practices in lifestyle and war It is about historical events that happened and the facts of brutality among races and religions and other factions did and still do happen It is not one of the peaceful religions as our Wars today against such factions still exist It s okay to mention if it s grounded in truth surelyAnyway it s a good book but not the best Plot 3 distracted and overly fracturedCharacters 5 genuine personalities not given sufficient developmentAccuracy 10 well researched account including many obscure detailsThe 7th century Arab siege of Constantinople is a great setting for a novel and the invention of Greek Fire is an amazing achievement in its own right However the book fails utterly to capture any sense of this wonderhorror In fact it seems largely uninterested in the Fire aspect and instead focuses on the perfume manufacturing love interest of Callimachus the Fire s inventor There s nothing wrong with this and nothing says that a book about the Fire has to be about the Fire s creator but it uickly becomes apparent that the Fire is a sideshow to the main plot Instead the plot deals with the former concubine of Theodosius a now dead and disgraced member of the imperial family and her daughter with him The interesting elements here are in seeing how one s sense of identity can change when placed in a different environment Specifically the transition from being a reasonably free daughter of the lower class to being a tightly constrained princess of the royal line This is an interesting story to tell However this isn t the main story either In fact there is no main story What we get is a lot of smaller plotlines stacked on top of each other and dragged out beyond reasonableness It s basically a slice of life novel which is not what I expected or wanted really given the premiseAs for the two main plots the Greek Fire plotline is never really developed it Ns and Kallinikos an alchemist working on a secret weapon to use in the seige comes into their lives a secret ab. I really like Gillian Bradshaw but I think I ve read too many of her books I found this novel completely predictable The characters beautiful independent business woman and nerdy scientist love interest were identical to those that have appeared in her other historical novels The plot didn t have any twists or surprises and the setting of Constantinople didn t really shine through as vividly as some of Bradshaw s other venues So a nice read but not uite as enjoyable as vividly as some of Bradshaw s other venues So a nice read but not uite as enjoyable I was hoping If Bradshaw spent time on imbuing her characters with the life and culture of the period and less time showing is she s done her research on it she could be a good his to all fiction writer She could learn a lot from Mary Renault As it is couldn t get past the 1st 100 pages before Giving up out of boredom Anna has made it a point in her life to remain fiercely independent in a world where a woman is expected to marry Formerly the concubine of the brother of the Emperor who died in disgrace she has devoted herself to raising their now twelve ear old daughter Theodosia and to running the successful perfume shop she owns When a grubby stranger named Kallinikos arrives at her shop wanting to buy used perfume making euipment she treats him as she treats all other men as a potential threat to her way of life Kallinikos is an alchemist studying the ways of fire He explains that he is developing a new kind of fire one destructive than any that can be imagined With the threat of an Arab invasion of Constantinople looming ever darker on the horizon he believes that his invention will be of great value Unwittingly Anna finds herself drawn to him fascinated not only by his work but by the man behind it As the threat of war grows ever closer and with Kallinikos work and therefore the safety of the city being jeopardized by a jealous superior officer Anna must decide what her feelings for Kallinikos are and what she is willing to sacrifice for himThis book was an interesting take on the invention of greek fire It was a good light read that didn t overly tax my brain but at the same time it was nothing earth shatteringly grand Gillian Bradshaw is one of my favorite authors of historical fiction but all in all I definitely preferred her Island of Ghosts and The Sand Reckoner to this book Both of those books it seemed had a lot depth of plot and character than book Both of those books it seemed had a lot depth of plot and character than Still it was an enjoyable read for a lazy Saturday at home If ou re looking for thoughtful well researched historical fiction Gillian Bradshaw is a good bet and she doesn t always stick to the beaten path producing stories about Caesars and Cleopatras Island of Ghosts for example surprised me by having a Samartian hero serving the Roman army in Britain Not an Italian not a Brit but a whole different view I don T Think I Ve think I ve anyone do before Her writing reminds me of Rosemary Sutcliff at times it scratches the same sort of itch though her books are adultAlchemy of Fire is set in Constantinople and follows the fortunes of the owner of a perfume shop There s intrigue and politicking and there s romance as well and the story is set against the backdrop of the Arab attacks on Constantinople It s the invention of Greek fire but it also deals with motherhood and the experience of seeing a child ou love grow up with grief with falling in love against all sense and without realising but not in some instantaneous magical way The emotional journey felt real and I was. Constantinople 672 ad Ex concubine Anna is attempting to raise her daughter well but as an Arab invasion threate. ,

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Alchemy of Fire