The Secrets of Life and Death by Rebecca Alexander
In modern day England, Professor Felix Guichard is called in to identify occult symbols found on the corpse of a young girl. His investigation brings him in contact with a mysterious woman, Jackdaw Hammond, who guards a monumental secret--She's Dead. Or she would be, were it not for magic which has artificially extended her life. But someone else knows her secret. Someone very old and very powerful, who won't rest until they've taken the magic that keeps her alive....
In Krakow in 1585, Dr John Dee, the Elizabethan Alchemist and Occultist, and his assistant Edward Kelley have been summoned by the King of Poland to save the life of his niece, the infamous Countess Elisabeth Bathory. But they soon realize that the only thing worse than the Countess' malady, is the magic that might be able to save her...
As Jackdaw and Felix race to uncover the truth about the person hunting her, it becomes clear that the answers they seek can only be found in the ancient diary of John Dee's assistant, Edward Kelley. Together they must solve a mystery centuries in the making, or die trying. (less)
Paperback, 384 pages
Published October 7th 2014 by Broadway Books (first published October 10th 2013)
An urban fantasy about tying the soul to the body after death and the consequences. It jumps from Krakow in the year 1585 and England in the year 2013. The story begins with a young girl's dead body found on a train that has been covered in sigil's. A local professor is called in by the police to help with the case regarding these symbols and if it can lead them to some answers regarding her death.
Prof. Felix Guichard has studied some texts from 1585 by Dr John Dee and Edward Kelley who had been summoned by the royal court Bathory to help with her ailments. The professor also tracks down the seller of some new merchandise that has just been sold that was a possession of the Dr. and his assistant to find out more about the Sigils. Jackdaw Hammond is not only connected to the merchandise, she is dead yet still connected to her body.
What I loved about this story was the different time periods, the initial intentions of 2 gentleman trying to obey orders as well as educate themselves in the power behind different symbols and people's beliefs. Jack's side of the story brings in the mystery of how one ritual can stand the test of time and the secret behind it's performance.
This story has an array of very enjoyable characters and their connections beyond just friends to being a family. Loyalty to each other plays a strong role in the outcome and the fact that an unknown terror is after them brings in that element of suspense that really makes this story fun to read.
The writing and unraveling of the story points is well done through the jumping back and forth of time periods I personally enjoyed the historical recounts the most, but the climax that takes place in 2013 is fantastic and had me on the seat of my seat.
This is a story I would recommend for those who enjoy Urban Fantasy and Witchcraft. It has very little romance but a handful of great characters and fun read.
I received a free copy for review from Blogging for Books