Reviewed by Geraldine Charles
by Barbara Ardinger
It is said that through her lovingkindness Beauty tamed the Beast and made him human again. What if Beauty herself needed to be tamed? What if something else was going on there?
At the edge of the winter city, upon the very brim of the wilderness, sat the house of the Alchemist, and here the Alchemist had passed his long years. Here in his laboratories, among his fires of green and purple and his books written in alphabets of mystery, here the Alchemist was content.
Although the Alchemist was as remote and chilly as his location, people nonetheless came to see him—lords and ladies, generals and bishops, burghers and courtiers—and he would listen to their voices and sell them talismans and enchantments that might grant their wishes. A sliver from a secret bar of mysterious metal, a pinch of red powder wrapped in white paper, a coal that burned in cold flames of magenta and chartreuse, all these he had sold to one or another who sought audience with him.