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The Apothecary's Curse

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  56 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
This genre-bending urban fantasy mixes alchemy and genetics as a doctor and an apothecary try to prevent a pharmaceutical company from exploiting the book that made them immortal centuries ago.

In Victorian London, the fates of physician Simon Bell and apothecary Gaelan Erceldoune entwine when Simon gives his wife an elixir created by Gaelan from an ancient manuscript. Mean
Paperback, 340 pages
Published October 11th 2016 by Pyr
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Aug 20, 2016 Diana rated it really liked it
This is an amazing book. I would have given it five stars had it not been by the ending, which feels kinda weird to me. After all, *MILD SPOILER COMING* how can he believe he will be left off the hook? *MILD SPOILER GONE*

But enough as I don't want to spoiler anyone.

The book follows the tale of two men who become inmortal by drinking a different potion from a book. One wants to die to reunite with his dead wife, and the other wants to live in spite of all the aberrations he has been subjected to
Books, Vertigo and Tea (Danielle)
As a fan of Sherlock Holmes, Victorian London and alchemy, I was intrigued. Add a dash of immortality into the mix and this makes for a very curious scenario that is hard to pass up. The entire premise is fascinating. I received a copy via NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review which you can find here.
Oct 05, 2016 Mieneke rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, 2016
The story is told in separate timelines, which each chapter heading telling the reader when and were they are. Yet despite their temporal separation, the timelines are closely intertwined. Overall, there are four main story lines; the first is the story of how Simon came to be immortal and how he griefs for his wife. The second is the story of how he and Gaelan reconnected and became forever linked through Simon's sister Eleanor. The third brings us to the current day and follows them on their q ...more
The Apothecary's Curse is an upcoming fantasy novel set in an alternate Victorian England and modern day Chicago. Alternating between two timelines, the novel explores humanity through the lens of its two immortal protagonists: Doctor Simon Bell and the mysterious apothecary, Gaelan Erceldoune. Over the centuries, they'll need to work together to overcome many obstacles and unravel the secret of their affliction.

The author concocts a masterful blend of the finest storytelling elements. With a te
Jul 27, 2016 Maddalena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 21, 2016 Joanne rated it really liked it
What an amazingly unique book, I loved it. This book it told from two different points in time and this works do well for story with the timeshifts being seamless. The characters are well fleshed out and their stories cannot help but suck you in. The author does a fantastic job at making you feel and understand their pain. This is fast paced book that leaves you wanting more, it leaves itself open for a sequel let's hope so. For fans of urban fantasy this is a book you neee to read.
I received th
Susan Diamond
Sep 21, 2016 Susan Diamond rated it really liked it
This book kept me coming back for more. It's an interesting sci-fi story, with a time travel feel. I don't want to "give it away" before its been read, but the plot unravels nicely and I had a few gasps along the way. The author created characters I cared about and a bit of mystery too. I reccomend this book - you'll enjoy it.
Sep 17, 2016 Laurie rated it really liked it
In current day Chicago, Dr. Simon Bell is an author who writes Sherlock Holmes mysteries, and Gaelan Erceldoune is a dealer in antique books. They’ve known each other a long time- a very long time. They were acquainted during Victorian days, when Bell was a physician and Erceldoune an apothecary. They owe their longevity –immortality- to potions made from an ancient book of formulas that Erceldoune got from his father. Immortality was an accident; the remedies were meant merely to cure diseases. ...more
Aug 19, 2016 Dana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My thanks to Pyr books and Edelweiss for granting me the opportunity to read and review the DRC of Barbara Barnett's novel "The Apothecary's Curse."
For those who love reading about Victorian London, Sherlock Holmes, magic and mystery, this was an
enjoyable read. I felt London come alive in a different era. The book goes between the mid-nineteenth century London and modern day Chicago. I found the chapters on London were more interesting than the chapters set in Chicago. I just happen to enjoy rea
Aug 20, 2016 Jen rated it really liked it
** I won an ARC of this novel through a Goodreads giveaway. **

This was an interesting travel through time, with the characters and plot moving from the Victorian Era in England to modern times in the US. The science/magic was well developed, as were the characters. I truly enjoyed this story but have to admit that I enjoyed the Victorian parts more than the modern ones. The story felt more real and the antagonists were much more realistic in the historical period. There were times when I just wa
Sue Baugh
Aug 01, 2016 Sue Baugh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author follows the number one rule for genre fiction--"Devise a fast-paced plot with great characters and then put them through hell." The two tortured immortals, Gaelen Erceldoune and Simon Bell, prove that each century creates its own version of hell. Besides taking readers on a ride from horror to ecstasy, Barnett also provides intriguing revelations about alchemy, the fae magic used to hide its knowledge, and the power of the Book. Barnett creates plot twists worthy of Anne Rice and leav ...more
Sep 29, 2016 Cheryl rated it it was ok
I am majorly bummed but this book. I was thoroughly looking forward to reading this book. I can barely remember anything that happened in this book. I was really just going through the motions. Yet, I still had held hope for this book until about a third of the way in then I was just sad but still I tried to stick with the book. The world that the author built was great. In fact, this really could have been a great book if the beginning had not seemed so drawn out and the characters had more lif ...more
Nicki Markus
Sep 04, 2016 Nicki Markus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a few chapters to get into The Apothecary's Curse, but once I did I really connected with the characters, especially Gaelan. The shifting time period worked well and was easy to follow. I also liked the way Barnett revealed information during the course of the story: enough to keep you interested but always leaving more to discover. The literary references are great fun, and I particularly admired the ending, which was most satisfying. Recommended for lovers of historical fantasy.

I re
Denise Dorman
Sep 07, 2016 Denise Dorman rated it it was amazing
This book had something for every fiction fan – sci-fi, horror, romance, and fantasy – but the story interweaves the genres so deftly that the reader is focused on the story – and what a story it is! Barbara’s gift for credible, era-specific dialogue and detail is wonderful, as is her pacing, as well as the story’s pay-off.” Denise Dorman, WriteBrain Media.
Invested Ivana
Oct 15, 2016 Invested Ivana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, netgalley, 2016
First, I loved this book, and I’ll tell you why in a minute. But second, I feel the need to manage some expectations before I get into my review.

When I first saw a listing for The Apothecary’s Curse, it was labeled urban fantasy. And it is… sort of. It’s not your hero or heroine kicking-ass kind of urban fantasy, though. It’s not Victorian steampunk. It’s not what I call a “popcorn” book–the literary equivalent of a summer action blockbuster that you can enjoy without much mental effort.

This boo
Nolene Driscoll
Oct 11, 2016 Nolene Driscoll rated it really liked it
I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

I found this book to be fascinating and compelling. It is a combination of a mystery, fantasy/Sci fi and love story. It has two main characters, Dr Simon Bell, a guilt ridden and haunted physician and Gaelen Erceldoune an alchemist who lives a celibate life suffering the torment of PTSD. Along the way we also meet characters such as the "mad" physician of Bedlam, a sadistic, torturing physician who liked to experiment on
Seregil of Rhiminee
Nov 18, 2016 Seregil of Rhiminee rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Risingshadow.

Barbara Barnett's The Apothecary's Curse is a fresh and utterly compelling cross-genre novel. It's one of the finest and most intriguing speculative fiction novels of the year due to its original combination of fantastical, historical, mythological and scientific elements. It is sure to please a wide audience of readers, because it's a stunningly vibrant novel (it's an amazing achievement in entertaining storytelling).

The Apothecary's Curse feels like a breat
Oct 19, 2016 Rochelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: have

Full review here:

This enthralling urban fantasy features a mixture of alchemical magic, medical thriller with a Sherlock Holmes mystery feel, features themes of love and loss, greed, unforeseen consequences and a bit of madness.
I really enjoyed this read, I loved the two timelines incorporated into this story and how they complement each other. They serve to enlighten the reader as to the hows and why of Gaelen's 'tortured' existence and Simon's quest
Cindy Butler (BooksAtCoffeeTime blog)
Sep 16, 2016 Cindy Butler (BooksAtCoffeeTime blog) rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Historical drama fans
Shelves: free-for-review
Immortality, love and torture all wrapped up in this historical drama.

*Thank you to Prometheus Books for a free copy of this book in return for my honest review*

Introducing Gaelan Erceldoune, local apothecary based in Smithfield Market, London, in the year 1837, but Gaelen is hiding a terrible truth, a secret that would be disastrous if anyone found out and has kept him forever on the move, not allowing him to forge any human ties.

When Simon Bell beseeches Gaelen, as an apothecary, to help Simon
Lydia Perversius
Nov 15, 2016 Lydia Perversius rated it it was amazing
Holy sweet pinata of Santa Maria!!!

*stops to take a breath*

OK, OK, that was one heck of an opening, but hot dang, was this book a shock to my senses or what?!

Dr. Simon Bell, one of the finest in London, visits an acquaintance of his to ask for a cure - his sweet wife Sophie is slowly dying from cancer. Said acquaintance, an apothecary going by the name Gaelan Erceldoune, is a bitter widower who didn't have the chance to save his own wife, one year prior to Simon's visit. He claims he has a cur
Oct 14, 2016 Ren rated it liked it
My FIRST Goodreads Giveaway win. Super stoked to read this!

The Apothecary's Curse is a well-written tale. I thought the prose flowed nicely and unobtrusively--the perfect way to carry a reader along. My appreciation carried over to the wording choices that were made depending on whether the scene was set in the past or the present. That slight differentiation really helped set the mood for whichever time period I was reading about, and I found myself looking forward to switching back and
Oct 24, 2016 Lyndi marked it as got-it-to-read  ·  review of another edition
Four different story lines? FOUR?! I'm holding off on this one until I clear my head.
Juliana Rew
Dec 16, 2016 Juliana Rew rated it liked it
The Apothecary's Curse by Barbara Barnett has a great premise. A superior civilization (possibly the Fae) has left a book of medical lore to the family of an apothecary in 19th century London. He appears to be able to concoct amazing cures using recipes from the book. He's approached by a doctor whose wife has terminal cancer and agrees to provide a treatment. Unfortunately, the doctor doesn't follow instructions, and the wife dies. Desolate, the doctor drinks the rest of the potion, but instead ...more
Dec 14, 2016 Cindy rated it liked it
The Apothecary’s Curse definitely has an interesting premise and I was captivated throughout the majority of the book. However, the last part of the book, especially the part that is set in the present didn’t quite feel as good as the rest of the book.

A book presumably written by one of the fair folk has been gifted centuries ago to a mortal man in Scotland to pass on from generation to generation, hoping it would do some good in the world. It is a book that needs to be understood completely to
Pending HNS review.
Dec 01, 2016 Thomas rated it really liked it
Won as Goodreads giveaway.
Review originally published on The Curious SFF Reader

I first heard about this book months ago and I was immediatly intrigued, I am not usually a fan of fantasy stories set during the Victorian era because they tend to be very steampunk heavy and I don’t particularly enjoy this genre , however The Apothecary is different, it still manages to incorporate cool elements of magic without falling in the steampunk category.

The Apothecary’s Curse follows two main characters: Gaelan Erceldoune a mysterio
Betsy Graupe
Jan 12, 2017 Betsy Graupe rated it really liked it
I enjoyed The Apothecary's Curse very much! I was impressed with how the different threads of the story came together. The characters were well-developed; I truly felt the weight of the years of living with the burden of secrets and regrets.
I also had the impression that it was exhaustively researched, which I appreciate in books that take place in the past. I also liked the modern-day Chicago-area references; that was fun for me as a local.
I debated giving 5 stars but I'm stingy with 5 stars...
Henry Lazarus
Oct 06, 2016 Henry Lazarus rated it liked it
Barbara Barnett takes an odd look at the effects of The Apothecary's Curse (paper from Pyr) of immortality on two people. In the sixteenth century Gaelan Erceldoune mixed a cure for the plague from his father’s ancient text. In the nineteenth century his friend Simon Bell, a physician of repute, asks him for a cure for cancer for his wife, The wife dies, and Simon thinking the medicine is poison downs the dose. Then a madman captures Gaelan and experiments on him in horrible ways including cutti ...more
Jan 08, 2017 Lorraine rated it really liked it
What I loved the most about this book was the characters. As soon as I closed the book I missed having them in my life. This book is about immortality. If immortality was really possible would it be a gift or a curse? The unexpected element in this book is the romance and love lost that lasts centuries. Great story. I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. I don't think I would have picked it up otherwise and I am really glad that I did. Thank you.
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Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, ( an Internet magazine of pop culture, politics and more, for which she has also contributed nearly 1,000 essays, reviews, and interviews over the past decade. Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show.

She is an accomplished spea
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