Bees are disappearing.
Not just from the world, but also from pages of illustrated manuscripts in an alternative plane known as the council dimension.
It’s the plot of the book, The Alchemists’ Council, written by Nanaimo author and Vancouver Island University professor Cynthea Masson.
The dimension is run by an alchemists’ council, a group responsible for maintaining the Earth’s environment through alchemical practices and creating illustrated manuscripts.
“I want them (readers) to immerse themselves in the world. I want this to be a world they think of after they read it,” said Masson about her book. “Some people have called it an adult Harry Potter.”
One of the main characters of the book is Jaden, a young woman training to become an alchemist.
As an initiate, she is faced with the dilemma of deciding to stop an environmental disaster tied to the disappearance of bees or do nothing to preserve humanity’s free will.
In the meantime, a war is brewing between the council and a growing alliance of rebels.
The Alchemists’ Council is the first installment of a trilogy Masson is writing.
She has a PhD in medieval literature and has written research papers on medieval mysticism and alchemy. She is the author of The Elijah Tree, which was released in 2009, and co-author of the academic book Reading Joss Whedon, released in 2014.
Over the past five years, Masson has written the book while teaching at the university and publishing academic books and papers in her field.
“During the teaching year there is no time at all,” said Masson about finding time to write the book.
Ideas for the world were collected over the years from things Masson would read in her academic research.
Masson said she’s been getting great feedback about her book so far. She said the first few chapters are dense with information to set up the world and she hopes people don’t get discouraged and will keep reading.
She has been in touch with two bloggers from the United States, Matthew Graybosch and Eric Higby, who are doing a chapter-by-chapter analysis on their blogs. Links to their analysis can be found on Masson’s website https://cyntheamasson.com.
The Alchemists’ Council is available in Nanaimo at Chapters, and through ECW Press and Masson’s website.
The audiobook is slated to be released this fall.
Masson is launching her book in Nanaimo Thursday (June 2) from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Nanaimo North Library, located at 6250 Hammond Bay Rd.
For information, please go to http://ecwpress.com/collections/science-fiction/products/alchemists-council.