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.
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I read The Secrets of Life and Death in one sitting and it was so worth it. The way it switches from present day to way back in the day has become one of my favorites way of story telling. Rebecca Alexander has a way with words that is hard to describe to describe. She makes you feel the emotions that the characters are feeling, and that's wonderful.
The story is centered around Jackdaw Hammond, who's dead or supposed to be dead; and a blood thirsty, Countess Elizabeth Bathory. There's also Felix Guichard, a professor, who is called in to help investigate the death of a mysterious girl at the train station. Throughout the book we learn of what Jackdaw is and people like her and what they become, i.e. Elizabeth Bathory.
I can't forget Doctor Dee and Edward Kelley, they are important to the story as well. They, mainly Edward, tells the tell on how Elizabeth became what she was. Which is fascinating, to hear how she became a blood crazed killer in the 16th century.
There is a hint of romance, but it is far from the main focus and it doesn't take away from the story at all, but I definitely was rooting for the couple near the end. This is a book that I can read over and over again, and I plan on to, after I knock down my TBR.
"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."
About the Author
REBECCA ALEXANDER has worked in psychology and education, and has an MA in Creative Writing. She lives with her husband on the coast of England.