The Amber Garden

By Cynthea Masson

The Amber Garden
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The stunning and beautifully crafted conclusion to The Alchemists’ Council series

In Book Three of The Alchemists’ Council trilogy, eternal conflicts between the Council and Rebel Branch escalate. Secrets about time-travel manipulation are revealed, uncomfortable truths ... Read more


Overview

 

The stunning and beautifully crafted conclusion to The Alchemists’ Council series

In Book Three of The Alchemists’ Council trilogy, eternal conflicts between the Council and Rebel Branch escalate. Secrets about time-travel manipulation are revealed, uncomfortable truths about alchemical children are discovered, and Council dimension itself begins to disintegrate. Amidst this fallout, the Amber Garden dissolves, conjoined pairs suffer torturous separation, alchemists die in the process, and Cedar is banished to the outside world where she endures a living death within her conjoined partner.

Efforts of both alchemists and rebels to resolve the dissolution of Council and Flaw dimensions prove futile. People of the outside world experience ever-increasing political turmoil and the risk of environmental collapse. Mercifully, the alchemists have woven a thread of hope into an alchemically inscribed book, which they release into the outside world with the purpose of attracting new Initiates to Council. At first, Initiate Virginia appears to be a disrespectful interloper with whom Jaden loathes to work. However, their combined scribal efforts prove astoundingly powerful — so much so that they are sent through time to inscribe critical messages into ancient manuscripts. Events associated with one such manuscript lead Cedar to propose a solution to the dimensional fallout: all remaining alchemists must permanently vacate Council dimension.

 

Cynthea Masson

Cynthea Masson is a professor in the English Department at Vancouver Island University, where she teaches writing and literature courses. Her fiction includes The Elijah Tree, a novel combining theories of mysticism with issues of faith. Her recent trilogy, The Alchemists’ Council, is anchored within esoteric mysteries of medieval alchemy.

Excerpt

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

London, Waterloo Bridge Station — August 1848

 

Ravenea stood on the platform surveying the unfamiliar surroundings and glancing anxiously at the outside world folk hurriedly walking by. Was her clothing appropriate? Would she pass among the people of the outside world unnoticed? She could not decide whether she was being overly anxious or respectably cautious. Perhaps if she were here on official Council business, or perhaps if this unconventional location were a crossing point at which she intended to greet a potential Initiate, her usual calm professionalism would prevail. Instead, much too late to change her mind, she repeatedly second-guessed her choice. What could possibly be worth this risk?

 

“Good afternoon,” said Fraxinus. Ravenea flinched slightly. Despite his flowing white hair and voluminous robes — highly unorthodox amidst the station’s occupants — she had not seen him approach. “Our time here is limited. I will be boarding a train within minutes. ”

 

“Am I to join you?”

 

“Of course not!” His ice-blue eyes snapped at her, punctuating his words. “What excuse could you possibly offer the Alchemists’ Council if Azoth Magen Quercus learned you had embarked on an outside world train journey with a Rebel Branch Azoth?”

 

“What excuse am I to offer even for leaving the London protectorate for this station?” she asked. She glanced around once again at the passersby, worriedly skimming for a familiar face.

 

“Simple curiosity. Is this station not an architectural marvel of the modern world?” He gestured up and outward. For the benefit of onlookers, she smiled and nodded.

 

“And for what reason other than mutual observation of this outside world spectacle have you requested a meeting?”

 

“To relay information that may affect your future. ” He paused.

 

She waited, hands clenched.

 

“Let me rephrase,” he continued. “To relay information that may profoundly affect the future of all three dimensions. ”

 

Ravenea shivered despite the summer heat.

 

“Yes?” Her impatience grew.

 

“The Osmanthian Codex has been activated. If memory serves, the manuscript will mature fully within thirty years. The Rebel Azoths will then, once again, possess the knowledge to create an alchemical child. ”

 

Ravenea froze, momentarily stunned. Her thoughts raced.

 

“But the bloodlocks! Osmanthus himself sealed the Codex with his primordial blood. And Makala sealed the secreted libraries from intruders after the Second Rebellion. ”

 

A smartly dressed man within hearing range turned immediately to frown at her. She did not recognize him. He must merely have found her words vulgar.

 

“The ancestors intended worthy descendants to open the bloodlocks on both the Osmanthian and Aralian manuscripts,” said Fraxinus. “And Makala followed their lead. ”

 

“Who is responsible?” she asked him. “A Rebel Branch Elder?”

 

“An Elder? Really, Ravenea, if an Elder both carried the bloodline and met the required prophetic conditions, one of us would have enlivened the manuscript centuries ago. ”

 

“Then who?

 

“An outside world scribe,” he responded.

 

“That cannot be. Makala would not have allowed—”

 

“Yet here we are. And we have you to thank for this evolutionary exception. ”

 

Another chill coursed through Ravenea.

 

“In what sense?”

 

“Our scribe was born in the outside world to exiled alchemists. ”

 

“Alchemists cannot—”

 

She stopped. He smiled. She understood. She caught her breath.

 

Ilex and Melia.

 

Fraxinus turned, walked along a nearby platform, and disappeared into a train. Engines bellowed. People shouted. Wheels shrieked. Ravenea could not move.

 

Reviews

 

The Amber Garden and the two earlier titles are highly original, full of complex and intricate worldbuilding with a complicated plot that spans centuries and involves time travel and multiple circular timelines. ” — Canadian Review of Materials

“Written in dense prose well-suited to this style of large- scale fantastic history, The Amber Garden has a pleasing narrative inevitability that heads toward a not-entirely expected conclusion. The alchemical texts, the efforts of scribes to make necessary alterations, all the details of Council and Flaw dimensions—along with the underlying concerns about free will—are a compelling foundation for the story. ” –– Booklist

 

 

The Amber Garden and the two earlier titles are highly original, full of complex and intricate worldbuilding with a complicated plot that spans centuries and involves time travel and multiple circular timelines. ” — Canadian Review of Materials

“Written in dense prose well-suited to this style of large-scale fantastic history, The Amber Garden has a pleasing narrative inevitability that heads toward a not-entirely expected conclusion. The alchemical texts, the efforts of scribes to make necessary alterations, all the details of Council and Flaw dimensions — along with the underlying concerns about free will — are a compelling foundation for the story. ” — Booklist

 

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