Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Dreadful Alchemist

What if an alchemist decided that he was going to change substances into the substances needed to create a nuclear device instead of gold? That's what the book The Dreadful Alchemist by Charles Z. David is all about.

The Dreadful Alchemist

The Story

Like I said in the intro this book is about a physicist who has developed a way to turn substances into the radioactive elements necessary to create a nuclear device. And he is able to achieve his goal by working with the fringe elements of society. He begins working with the nationalist movements in European community who want power and are willing to do whatever they feel necessary to obtain it. 

Ollie is the central character of the book. He's a Scandinavian who has converted to Islam. He doesn't look the part of a terrorist. But he is a true believer. After his new bride's death he becomes radicalized and moves into the underworld of ISIS. He develops his brutality while fighting in Syria. And then he develops a plan. A plan that can release terror on the unbelievers. And one that can throw the world into turmoil. 

His plan is simple in his mind. Use the weaknesses of others to obtain a nuclear device which he could use to destroy the Holy Sector of Jerusalem. And throughout the book there are many individuals who are willing to work with him to achieve his goal. 

What I Liked and Disliked

Overall, I liked this book. I liked how the author took what seems to be an outlandish possibility. The idea of turning non nuclear materials into the elements necessary to produce a nuclear weapon. His central character Ollie is someone you would not fit the profile of someone fighting for ISIS. I like how the author showed that with a little creativity he was able to achieve his goal. He used an individual who would never be suspected to be the villain. 

I also liked that the author actually provided two endings to the book. He presented two possible scenarios that could happen. It was kind of up to me how it ended. I think that it depends on your view on life as to which ending you will pick. Do you see things as being hopeful or unavoidable? 

The one thing that made this book a little difficult for the average reader was the heavy use of scientific terms that some readers may not understand. But then again how do you write a book about developing a nuclear weapon without using those terms. 

I liked how the story moved along at a fast paced, and I liked how the author showed just how easy it was for Ollie to manipulate fringe groups. He was able to tell them what they wanted to hear. And they provided him with what he wanted. I felt like the author pointed out just how creative some individuals can be in order to get what they want.

Who Should Read This Book

If you enjoy thriller books with a twist, you will probably enjoy this book. And if you want a book that stays within the pattern of genre, but puts a twist on things you will like this book. And of course this book is timely. Recent events in Paris have reminded us all that we don't know how or when terrorists will attack. If you have an interest in science you may also like this book. The book does show how a mad scientist does make his dreams come true. Even though he doesn't realize the price he will pay for making those dreams come true.


I did receive a copy of this book in exchange for a review, but the opinions are all mine.

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