The Secrets of Life and Death - Rebecca Alexander

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.


-- Book Blurb

I received a copy of the sequel to this book to review. After a couple of pages, I decided I had to read book 1 first. I felt lost and the book sounded interesting, so I figured if I was going to review the sequel, I could at least read the first book.


I found that this book required me to really focus. Between the back and forth from the present to 1585, and all the names and the old language, I had a hard time following the story if I didn't. Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but it took me longer than usual to finish the book. I enjoyed the story, but I didn't expect it to require that much concentration.


By the time I finished the book, I was hooked on the story. And I wanted to find out what happens next. And, btw, the next book seems to require just as much focus.


Recommended to:

Fans of urban fantasy mixed with historical fantasy. Whatever that means. :)