In Victorian London, when Dr. Simon Bell appeals to apothecary Gaelan Erceldoune to save his wife from cancer. Gaelan gives him an elixir made from an ancient manuscript that was supposed to save his beloved Sophie, instead it kills her. Simon drinks the rest of the elixir, only to discover it doesn’t kill him as he hoped but gave him immortality. The years following, Simon is led to Bedlam upon the discovery of an inmate with regenerative abilities, which turns out to be Gaelan. Two centuries later in present day Chicago, Simon has continued his search for Gaelan’s manuscript while Transdiff Genomics discovers a Bedlam diary that leads geneticist Anne Shawe to Gaelan’s door.
“Magic! Understand, sir, that this book has no magic. It is science. It is medicine – chemicals and herbs and that is all – at play in the human body, amongst its organs and cells, vessels and bones,” Erceldoune barked.
Barbara Barnett weaves together fantasy and scientific elements for a story rich in magic, history, and myth. The Apothecary’s Curse is grounded in reality, with their immortality based in science and nature. Science plays a large role, questioning medical science versus apothecary, with Barnett highlighting the praises and flaws of both. Simon and Gaelan are both tortured by their pasts, with Simon haunted by his wife, and Gaelan suffers from PTSD due to the Bedlam torture. Both react honestly to their situations, but both connect to their pasts through books, with Simon writing new adventures for Sherlock Holmes and Gaelan owns a book and antiquities store. The Apothecary’s Curse is bittersweet and tragic, with science, magic, and romance. This is perfect for fans of Sherlock, history, and science.