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The Apothecary's Curse

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  158 ratings  ·  72 reviews
This Bram Stoker Award-nominated urban fantasy mixes alchemy and genetics as a gentleman physician and a brilliant 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 Gae
ebook, 345 pages
Published October 11th 2016 by Pyr
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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  158 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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Aug 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bob H
In this amazing work of historical, mystery and science fiction, two men, Gaelan Erceldoune and Simon Bell, suffer the curse of immortality together, Gaelan from the 16th Century, Simon from Victorian times. It's no spoiler; the early chapters make this plain as it threads their intertwined stories from the 16th Century, to a dark and sordid London in 1842, to Chicago in 2016, where the men end up, Simon now a famous author of mysteries (drawing on his 1840s friendship with Arthur Conan Doyle) a ...more
Dani N
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Jul 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2016
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
So many twists and turns for Gaelan and Simon, I was left quite stunned by the ending. The author's prose is wonderful and articulate while being so easy to read. The characters pictured well and vividly. The plot was one like I had not picked up and I would love to read more by this author. ...more
Oct 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Stephanie Rumbarger
I loved this book! I normally read books where people get murdered or something like that but none of that happened in this book and I still loved it. The author made it really easy to visualize the settings and characters. Would def recommend this to my friends!
Cianna Sunshine & Mountains Book Reviews
I am new to Barbara Barnett but I enjoyed this book. Basically, you had me at the word Apothecary cause I am always interested in magic and witchy things, but having this book set in Victorian London, just makes it even better. I enjoyed reading this book, but it did start slow, but I promise it's worth keeping on and reading more because the mix of history, and fantasy and even science elements in this novel really make it something special, and really give you that escape you're looking for in ...more
Yzabel Ginsberg
(I got a copy through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.)

The story of "The Apothecary's Curse" intertwines different plots, mostly mid-19th century London, a short early 20th century stint, and 2016 Chicago. All feature Gaelan and Simon, two men who became accidentally immortal through ingesting an alchemical compound, and struggle to lead a life of their own. Condemned for a crime he didn't commit, Gaelan was tortured for years by a mad doctor, before fleeing abroad, while Simon pines
Sep 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
I got this through NetGalley to review. This one was a DNF for me. I got through about 15% of the book and was really struggling to stay engaged in the story. I tried multiple times to pick it up again and it just holds absolutely no interest for me.

This seems like it is one of those secret history types of novels. Both main characters appear to be somewhat immortal and the story jumps between modern day and the 1800’s.

I tried to read this I really did. I just did not engage with the characters
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
** 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 rated it it was amazing
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
Nicki Markus
Aug 21, 2016 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
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Denise Dorman
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Susan Diamond
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Nerd Girl Vixen
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Apothecary’s Curse is a fantastic historical fantasy read!

You start by traveling back in time to Victorian London. Gaelan and Simon are both blessed and cursed. Tormented with an unexpected gift. They both endure their own personal pain and they are forever connected.

This really was a fantastic read. The beginning was a bit slow but I expected that given a lot of the story takes place in the past. You alternate between the past and the present. Usually that type of storytelling can get old
Frazer Lee
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This inventive gothic time-twister is as tightly plotted as a Dean Koontz thriller and as emotionally engaging as Anne Rice's vampire chronicles. The author has an alchemical eye for historical detail, and her nods to Conan Doyle and Celtic mythology are woven into this yarn with a deft hand. I can see why this book was shortlisted for the Stoker Award - Barbara Barnett is a vivid voice and one to watch. ...more
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I sometimes find these types of book much harder for me to get into as these types are out of my normal type of reading material, but.. when you come across one that captures your attention and draws you in then you know it's pretty good book.... And this book feel right into that category! Was completely captured into this story! ...more
Victor Lana
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great read if you love science fiction, mystery, and just a classic story of a man who has been given a gift he wished that he never received. The story goes back and forth between modern times and the 19th century, and once I started reading it I couldn't put it down. Ms. Barnett is a powerful story teller and this book will keep you thinking long after you have read the last page. ...more
Seregil of Rhiminee
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
Nolene Driscoll
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has almost every plot point that I love, plus it goes back and forth between present day and an alternative Victorian era London. If you too like magical, ancient tomes, immortality, and all that goes
with....give this a read. I didn't want it to end.
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Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org) 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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