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A Conspiracy of Alchemists (Chronicles of Light and Shadow) [Mass Market Paperback]

Liesel Schwarz
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 July 2013 Chronicles of Light and Shadow
LEAVE IT TO CHANCE. Eleanor “Elle” Chance, that is—the intrepid heroine of this edgy new series that transforms elements of urban fantasy, historical adventure, and paranormal romance into pure storytelling gold.
In a Golden Age where spark reactors power the airways, and creatures of Light and Shadow walk openly among us, a deadly game of Alchemists and Warlocks has begun.
When an unusual cargo drags airship-pilot Elle Chance into the affairs of the mysterious Mr. Marsh, she must confront her destiny and do everything in her power to stop the Alchemists from unleashing a magical apocalypse.

Praise for A Conspiracy of Alchemists
“Oh my Steampunk God! . . . If you like steampunk you definitely have to give this jewel a try. It would be a sin not to, really.”—Butterfly-o-Meter Books
“A wonderful sense of fun on every page . . . Visit [your] nearest bibliographic emporium and seek this rather magnificent tome out.”—The Eloquent Page
“I truly enjoyed this novel and strongly suggest it to Steampunk fans. I’m convinced A Conspiracy of Alchemists will rock your world!”—Tynga’s Reviews
“Pure fun to read.”—Karissa’s Reading Review

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 421 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey Books (30 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345548264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345548269
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 10.7 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,815,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Inventive, lush and full of heart, The Chronicles of Light and Shadow are books to be devoured. Schwarz is a force to be reckoned with" (George Mann)

"The soon-to-be high-priestess of British steampunk" (The Independent)

"a distinctive read, made so much better by Schwarz’s undoubted skill as a writer and story teller, creating a world of richly layered environments ... I’m not really sure what else you could ask from a novel: believable characters, an engrossing plot, written by a capable author ... highly enjoyable" (sci-fi-online)

"The world itself is beautifully realised, and mixes a few well-loved steampunk staples (you can’t escape airships, for example) with some unique ideas that really bring it to life ... genuine brilliance" (GeekPlanetOnline.com) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

A thrilling, genre-breaking alternate reality Steampunk adventure. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steampunk - a mistress of the genre 22 May 2014
By Soricco
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you have never heard of steam punk, this is your perfect introduction. Liesel Schwarz is the mistress of the genre and uses the power of steam and big flying machines to propel her story of intrigue at a breathless pace.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting, romantic, original 21 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
This was my first ever steampunk book and I didn't know what to expect, but I loved it. It was very exciting and very well written. Liesel Schwarz's descriptions reeled me into the action and settings. I felt part of the story and held my breath several times, I even had a few stomach flips in line with the heroine's too. It was beautifully written and all the descriptions of the machines and how they worked came alive on the page. To top it all, it was very romantic and I felt completely attached to the fantastically rounded characters. I'm looking forward to reading more adventures in the next book of the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This Will Be Steampunk Then 23 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
For some reason when reading this I had images from Lemony Snickett running through my mind which must be due to an unfamiliarity with this genre.

That said this is a fairly enjoyable book. Beginning in Paris 1903 this is the first in a series which combines this steampunk thing with a deep vein of fantasy. Here is a world of light and shadow, with warlocks and nightwalkers and in the midst of all this, dirigible pilot Elle Chance, trying to earn a living delivering packages and so it begins.

As far as imaginative and quirky novels go this is a good start, with interesting characters and an attention to detail for those (like me) not completely au fait with the genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a book. 1 May 2013
By Tina
I hadn't read steampunk before but this book caught my eye. After reading the blurb on the story I just had to read it. I was hooked from the very first page and didn't let me go till the end. All the characters were written well. Elle the main character was wonderful very spirited which I loved. What can I say about Marsh? He was brilliant and loved the way he and Elle clashed and you could also feel the attraction there. I fell in love with him too :) The story was non stop and never a dull moment. There were some funny bits as well and never saw the twist coming with one of the characters near the end. Can't wait for the next book in the series and to meet up with Elle and Marsh again. Have pre-ordered it. Thanks to this book I am so in love with Steampunk genere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Alchemists Made Me Do It 30 April 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
For a few years the Science Fiction subgenre of choice appeared to be the Zombie novel as undead book after undead book shambled onto the shelves. However, my keen eye has noticed a shift in tastes and the genre de jour is now Steampunk. Welcome to a world of one or two fantastic steampunk novels, and a pile of decent, but uninspiring wannabes. Of these two categories, I am afraid that `A Conspiracy of Alchemists' by Liesel Schwarz falls into the latter category, as it has some great ideas, but not enough to make it stand out from the steamy crowd.

Elle Chance is a female adventurer in an alternative turn of the 20th Century. In this reality, fairies and magic exist, but so does advanced steam technology such as Elle's own steam powered blimp. Elle sets out on an adventure with the mysterious Mr Marsh which will incorporate vast amounts of Europe and almost every type of criminal that this alternative reality has to offer. As a simple story of Elle and Marsh getting to know one another `Conspiracy' is a fun book. Elle is a very likable character and the sparks do fly between the leads, although the book does feel clichéd.

I also liked the ideas in the book, science and magic blend well together, but nothing really stands out in terms of the Steampunk vernacular. The issues I had with the book was Schwarz trying to cram too much in with too few characters. Elle is already a feisty adventurer, warrior women; adding a magical element seems too much, too soon. I am not a huge fan of books making the main character the centre of the entire world; I would much prefer witnessing the story from the character stood next to them. Too much happens in `Conspiracy' that should have been slowly revealed over two or three books. As it is, `Conspiracy' feels rushed in places and over full at times. Steampunk fans will feel safe in the book, but there are better examples of the genre out there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant 6 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I absolutely loved this novel. I couldn't put it down. The heroine is fantastically well characterised. I thought she was brilliant. The story is fast-paced with wonderful descriptions of the era and locations from London to Vienna with even a couple of mentions of my home town Croydon (how cool is that?). It's got all your typical Steampunk favourites in it from machines to airships to pistols and corsets. I was in my element reading this. The story flows nicely with a satisfactory conclusion and open door for future novels. The fact it's a Chronicles makes me hope there will be MORE because I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and will seek out more books by the author. I liken the story to a Steampunk version of Pride & Prejudice with a bit of Harry Potter, Trueblood and some Twilight thrown in for good measure. Not to be missed. It's a must read for Steampunk fans like me!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A memorable and refreshing book that earns Schwarz the well-deserved moniker of `Empress of Steampunk'. It also delivers across several genres: romance, action, detective, and a dash of comedy.

As someone who loves to guess what's going to happen several hundred pages before it does, this book hooked me on several levels within the first 15 minutes of reading.
What's in the box that Elle is supposed to be transporting?
Why has she been encouraged to put the bracelet on, and more interestingly, why won't it come off?
What does Mr Marsh really want?
What is the secret no one will tell her about her mother?
There are enough layers in this book to require a rope of farmers' onions to reveal them all.

As I get older and life gets more crowded, it usually takes a couple of weeks to finish a novel. This book made me want to ignore all life's demands and sit and read it at a single sitting, simply because it was so engrossing.

Our journey across Paris, London, Vienna, Venice and Constantinople was visually breathtaking, and would translate brilliantly onto the screen. Liesel Schwarz has managed to combine the romance of The Jewel of the Nile and the action of The Transporter, with the civility and enchantment of War of the Worlds and Sherlock Holmes.

I impatiently await the second book in the series.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs editing
There are much better steampunk titles out there. I was surprised to hear that the author is a Phd literature since the novel is lacking in areas of pacing, plot and... Read more
Published 11 months ago by M Lamb
3.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable excursion
What a thoroughly pleasant ant tantalising story so well told with plot and characters unfolding as you work your way through the novel. Read more
Published 14 months ago by CharlesA
3.0 out of 5 stars Not As Good As It Could Have Been
I really, really wanted to read this book. I was ecstatic when I won a copy and after a couple days just admiring the beautiful cover I settled down to reading. Read more
Published 14 months ago by R. Mahala Burlingame
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, wasted potential
In a steampunk world of magic and technology, Elle Chance is a feisty airship pilot who is determined not to let being a woman hold her back. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Karura
3.0 out of 5 stars Steampunk meets Dan Brown meets Mills & Boon
It was all very confusing. Eleanor's head swam as Lord Greychester, the man she had known as Marsh but she now preferred to call Hugh, explained how the Warlocks and the... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Patrick Neylan
4.0 out of 5 stars A Conspiracy of Alchemists - uncorrected bound proof Liesel Schwarz
I must admit this may not be a book for the uninitiated in the worlds of steam punk!

The book has an interesting concept which is played out in a fictional world... Read more
Published 18 months ago by B. Bello
3.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas but lacks characterisation and plot
I was pretty excited by this book, because steampunk can be delightful. But while there are lots of great gadgets (Schwartz clearly has imagination) I could not warm to the... Read more
Published 18 months ago by V. Nicholl
4.0 out of 5 stars The Steampunkiest novel for young ladies in the short history of...
If you're a fan of Steampunk, whose enthusiasm for the genre outweighs a need for top notch writing, this is the book for you. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Kaye L. Elling
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