by Liesel Schwarz

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Review

A Conspiracy of Alchemists, the debut novel for author Liesel Schwarz, won the British Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Best debut novel for 2013.  Set in the Belle Époque, the novel is a genre defying blend of steampunk, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy. 
Schwarz has a fascination with 19th Century Gothic literature and imagines the era with Realms of Shadow and Light.  Plucky aviatrix Elle Chance is hired to fly a mysterious charter to Paris.  Before her dirigible even takes off she finds herself swept up in a perilous adventure.  Her father is kidnapped, she learns of her mother’s secret past, and she enters the Shadow realm of warlocks, Nightwalkers, absinthe fairies, changelings, and Oracles.  Sparks fly from Tesla coils and, to her surprise, in her every encounter with Hugh Marsh - Viscount of Greychester, a warlock.
From the opening pages to the thrilling denouement featuring a carmot-fueled ephemeral multidimensional energy amplifier and necromantic reanimator, Schwarz melds historical fact and fantasy with great competency.  She has written a sequel, A Clockwork Heart, and has a third in the works.

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