The Apothecary’s Curse
What price immortality, or what may the cost of immortality be to the immortal? Could it be a love forever lost but never forgotten, or an endless career with ever-increasing wealth? Or perhaps continual hiding from the jealous mortals who will do anything to dissect the secret? Galen is the last of many generations of apothecaries, who in desperation prepares an ancient half-unknown remedy that preserves life seemingly indefinitely. He does it twice, and his friend Simon also cheats death. One continually mourns his wife until he is haunted by her, and one become the hideous victim of experimentation both in early Victorian England and modern days. The author, Barbara Barnett, explores the Promethean gift of immortality much like the gift of fire: it has the possibility of enormous benefit but also the capability of terrible misuse. Caught in the middle are very normal people who have to decide, based on their experience, what to do with this gift. The book alternates between 1820 and 2016 as these ideas are explored. The similarities of players in both times belie the fact that society has changed; there is good and evil in all times and places, regardless of the rationalizations. The book moves fast, there is good character development, there are interesting and poignant personal relationships, and there is the lingering question, what is the true cost of deathlessness?