"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
Quintessence by David Walton
Quintessence is an Alternate History/Fantasy set 500 years ago in the Age of Exploration, full of arcane science, alchemy, human dissection, sea monsters, betrayal, torture, religious controversy, and magic. Scientists and explorers gamble with their lives to turn lead into gold and bring the dead back to life. In Europe, the magic is thin, but at the edge of the world, where the stars reach down close to the Earth, wonders abound. This drives the bravest among them to the alluring Western Ocean.
An alchemist, Christopher Sinclair, who cares about only one thing: quintessence, a substance he believes will grant immortality and magical powers, has a ship.
Fleeing an inquisition for illegal dissection, Stephen Parris, the king's physician, follows Sinclair to an island that perches on the edge of the world, bringing his daughter Catherine with him against his wife's furious protests. The island is teeming with fantastical animals whose secrets they explore, using extracted powders and tinctures to make bread from sand, turn salt water into fresh, and--just possibly--find the secret of immortality. (March 19, 2013)
I first came across Walton's second novel a couple of months ago, when Tor featured an excerpt as part of their Sea Monster Week. I must admit, his blog posts about science and Christianity did initially give me pause, but he puts an interesting spin on things. Considering his debut, Terminal Mind, won the Philip K. Dick award in 2008, I'm definitely curious to give this a read.