The Alchemist and the AngelJoanne Owen
fantasy, history, young adult
Interspersed with notes, magical recipes, and a handful of tales from central European folklore, this is an enthrallingly dark tale of mystery, magic, and alchemy set in 16th-century Prague and Vienna.
Everything changes for orphaned Jan when his beloved uncle, Gustav — anatomist, natural scientist, and aspiring alchemist — enlists his help in a quest to create a life-generating serum. To test the serum, they must follow a set of ancient instructions and play a dangerous game of bringing the inanimate to life.
When Gustav dies suddenly, it's up to Jan to continue his work — little does he know that his beautiful, calculating aunt dreams of using the serum for her own purposes — eternal life. Under the façade of her grief, she convinces Jan they must move from Vienna to Prague, and when she mysteriously disappears, Jan searches for her.
In the plague-ridden ghettos and in the court of the mad Emperor Rudolf, he must pit his wits against an extraordinary cast of characters and events. His only ally is Zuzana, a girl with secrets of her own. Set against the vivid backdrop of 16th century Prague and the equally breathtaking Vienna, this magical, historical adventure is reminiscent of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.