Antuniet Chazillen lost everything the night her brother was executed. In exile, she swore that treason would not be the final chapter of the Chazillen legacy in Alpennia’s history. A long- hidden book of alchemical secrets provides the first hope of success, but her return to the capital is haunted by an enemy who wants those secrets for himself.
Jeanne, Vicomtesse de Cherdillac is bored. The Rotenek season is flat, her latest lover has grown tediously jealous and her usual crowd of friends fails to amuse. When Antuniet turns up on her doorstep seeking patronage for her alchemy experiments, what begins as amusement turns to interest, then something deeper. But Antuniet’s work draws danger that threatens even the crown of Alpennia.
The alchemy of precious gems throws two women into a crucible of adversity, but it is the alchemy of the human heart that transforms them both in this breathtaking follow-up to the widely acclaimed Daughter of Mystery.
When Antuniet Chazillen's brother is convicted of treason, she loses everything but her name and her greatest treasure an ancient and rare alchemical tome. For years she struggles, starves, and tutors her way through a fictionalized version of late-Renaissance Europe, always barely a step ahead of the dangerous people sent to steal the book. Finally out of options, Antuniet returns home to the small kingdom of Alpennia, where she is forced to navigate a confusing tangle of friends, allies, and distant relations as she works to create an alchemical gift worthy of royalty, to restore her family's good name. She's frequently distracted by the dance of seduction with Jeanne, a noblewoman in the Alpennian court. Her story easily captures the reader's interest, but nearly equal time is given to the characters from Daughter of Mystery, the first book in the series, and their own ongoing dramas bog down Antuniet's tale, drawing attention away from the courageous young woman and toward the politics that only intersect tangentially with her own story.