Rated 4.80/5 based on 5 reviews
The Lord Alchemist must be immune to hostile brews. But in all Cymelia, there are only two: Iathor and his feckless brother.

Kessa's a half-breed herb-witch, arrested for unintended crimes. When Iathor discovers her immunity, he'll do whatever he must to court her - guilty or not.

All they have in common is alchemist's immunity, and an ability to get on each other's nerves. Will it be enough? More

Available formats: epub, mobi, pdf, rtf, lrf, pdb, txt

First 50% Sample: epub mobi (Kindle) lrf more read online
Words: 124,770
Language: English
ISBN: 9781465929600
About Elizabeth McCoy

Elizabeth McCoy's fiction has appeared in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress #7, in the "Best In Show" anthology by Sofawolf*, and in the fanzine "Pawprints" (published by Conrad Wong & T. Jordan Peacock). Her tabletop RPG writing is published by Steve Jackson Games. As her author bios in SJ Games' material continually state, she lives in the Frozen Wastelands of New England, with a spouse, child, and assorted cats.

She hopes that her work will be enjoyed, and is always a bit awkward about referring to herself in the third person.

*Best in Show has been re-published as: "Furry!: The Best Anthropomorphic Fiction!" (Fred Patten, ed.)

Also in Lord Alchemist

Also by This Author


Review by: Nancy on Feb. 10, 2013 :
I enjoyed this book and it's sequel, Herb-Wife very much. The misunderstandings between Iathor and Kessa because of their very different backgrounds felt very true to me.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: C.R. Rice on Sep. 01, 2012 :
Elizabeth McCoy of GURPS IOU and In Nomine fame is not only a fantastic game designer she is a fantastic author (though both professions do lend well to the other). Herb-Witch’s premise is simple enough: the protagonist, Kessa Herbsman is framed for a crime she didn’t commit (or did she?) and the Lord Alchemist of the city, Iathor Kymus decides to investigate. The obstacles include Kessa’s heritage (she’s a half “barbarian”), the Lord Alchemist’s brother, her own studies in alchemy, and famously enough the herb-witch’s own stubbornness. As the story progresses the reader learns of Kessa’s alchemical “immunity” and though its not revealed till more than half-way in this becomes a very important theme. I don’t want to give away to much here but the way McCoy weaves multiple tales in the same story is (in my personal opinion) quite expert. Moreover, the blending of the everyday and the not-so-everyday appeals to my own internal storyteller. After all what do the protagonists of stories do when you’re not looking at them? This theme is seen quite often through the whole book, and while it can run flat if done wrong, this is not the case with Herb-Witch. The best parts are where in my opinion when the main plot was not talked about. Oh and did I mention that there’s a marriage proposal in a jail cell? Yeah, figured that’d get your attention. McCoy’s dialogue is witty, clever, and to the point with such wonderful gems as: “Then I’ll be in my office, knocking for minor issues, screaming for explosions.”

Now that’s not to say I found all of the book enjoyable, McCoy packs a ton of information in her book about Kessa’s world and it does take a bit to parse (I ended up having to read a paragraph here and there a few times). Furthermore a bit of a peeve of mine is the vagueness of geography (the overall area, not the city itself which is splendidly colorful), maybe I’m just spoiled for maps in my fantasy novels.

Herb-Witch is a fantastic book that deserves more attention that what it has so far received.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Conrad Wong on March 22, 2012 :
Less straight fantasy and more Regency, but you won't find vapid nobles exchanging empty witticisms here; the Lord Alchemist and the Herb-Witch of the title are both intelligent characters who value their independence and separate responsibilities and will not lightly abandon their loyalties.

Beyond that, this story brings out its alchemy with vivid descriptions of taste and smell and consequences. It feels like an alternate world Renaissance science, not like an airy magic that perfectly serves the convenience of its purveyors, but a science that is still fringed with 'Here there be dragons'.

The writing is crisp, and... hang on, I'll leave you with my favorite line of the book:

"Analyzing the geometries of herb-witchery ingredients was like washing a cat. It looked simple, but sprouted extra legs when you weren't looking, and /wiggled/."
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: incandescens on March 10, 2012 :
I very much enjoyed both the characters and world-building in this book. Both are intelligent and plausible. Even the villain (or as much of a villain as that person is) acts from his own perspective and for his own reasons, and does so with a plausible amount of common sense.

While the character interplay was excellent, I really appreciated the amount of work that's been put into the things that make this world run, and the consequences -- both political, and pragmatic, and also the natural results of having alchemy and immunities.

This is a lovely, complex book, with worthwhile characters and with a story that leaves the reader urgently wanting to find out what happens next.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Vincent Ursus on March 04, 2012 :
If I were to review this book with a single sentence, it would be thus: Thank goodness for intelligent characters.

I've seen many a story where someone seems to have told the author "Don't have them go straight into being a loving couple, it'll be boring."

And so, for reasons that stretch both credibility and characterization the couple squabble and fight until eventually realizing that they really love one another and forming a relationship. Something that the audience never had any doubt of.

Not so here. Intelligent characters coming from different places have genuine problems working out their relationship issues. And they're honest relationship issues rather than simply being inserted by authorial fiat and having no explanation save stupidity or irrationality on the part of the characters.

Now, the world is well constructed carefully and consistently with excellent attention to detail, and I appreciate that a lot too.

But quality characterization like this is rarer than quality world building. Rarer still to find both together.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Report this book