There's an intriguing book being featured here, today - Alchemy - the prequel to Shama's Drum by Ailsa Abraham. If I remember correctly, Ailsa penned this prequel as a result of some readers asking some questions. For example: How did Iamo and Riga from Shaman's Drum meet? And how did they come to be working together in Shaman's Drum to avert the dark forces?
I've not yet managed to read Alchemy, though I enjoyed reading Shaman's Drum some time ago.
The questions I've asked now have helped me to piece together the links, before I embark on the prequel read!
Hello and a very warm welcome to you, Ailsa! It’s wonderful to have you back again to share your new book – Alchemy - from Crooked Cat Publishing, released last week. I think the cover design is fantastic and I’m sure your readers will love it, too! Alchemy is a prequel to ‘Shaman’s Drum’ and charts among other things the beginning of the relationship of Riga and Iamo, which I'm keen to know more about but from the blurb I see there are other interesting characters to get to know better in Alchemy. What about Professor Adrian Oliver? What's he like?
Professor Adrian Oliver (Ade to his very close friends) has a reputation for being the “go to” man for religious history (religion now being considered a more historical than current academic study). He is a more elderly and less attractive version of Neil Oliver or Brian Cox – known on TV and subsequent books and DVD collections. When not working with TV companies he lectures at a University in “the Capital” (never specified where but usually taken as London)
He sounds like a busy man who perhaps enjoys some notoriety. How does Iamo come to know Professor Oliver?
Iamo (under his original family name) was his star pupil before Iamo took holy orders.
Now that must have been an interesting moment for Adrian! Has Professor Oliver also taught Riga at some earlier time?
No, they meet in Alchemy for the first time as her group of magical Assasins, The Black Shamans, are not invited to sit on the Council.
What has Professor Oliver done to bring him to the attention of the Council of the Wise?
When the Council of the Wise is formed to control the newly-emerging caste of magic-users, he is co-opted as their “Lord Scribe” although he prefers to refer to himself as their Archivist. His reputation as a totally neutral observer on the subject of religions of all types made him the obvious choice. They needed an impartial non-participant to record their meetings.
Yet another onerous job, I should think! Is Professor Oliver’s life a lonely one? Is his contact through his historical religious books his main, or only, source of building relationships?
Although he has a wide circle of friends, he is single when we meet him. During the book he has a tenuous and fragile on/off affaire with Helen Mendoza, a famous writer of crime fiction who lives most of the time in Spain. I hope readers will be as engrossed in their “will they/won't they?” situation as they are in the other sub-plots.
Sounds intriguing! Can you describe Professor Oliver for us?
He is in his fifties, has overly-long white hair, wears glasses and could kindly be called “tubby”. The hair has given him the nickname “Einstein” amongst his University colleagues. His appeal is mainly through his character. Despite his anti-religious stance, he is deeply moral and cannot bear discrimination or unfairness of any sort.
How does Professor Oliver become involved with any strange events, or rumours with regard to insurrection, or something that will upset the status quo of the new regime?
He is privy to everything that is discussed in the Council but is sworn to secrecy. It is only when Iamo turns to him as his trusted tutor, to confirm his suspicions, that Adrian and Helen become inextricably tied up in the ensuing adventure.
How does Iamo meet Riga?
They are both instructed by their superiors to work together.
Do they join forces together voluntarily to thwart the evil that is growing round them, or does some other person bring them together to act on their behalf?
Absolutely not! If they had been given the choice they would have refused to have anything to do with each other. They are chalk and cheese both in personality and in beliefs.
A volatile mix! Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about Alchemy?
Only that I think this book, despite being a prequel is a much more rounded and fulfilling read. I do hope that people will read them in the correct order as Shaman's Drum will make much more sense to readers knowing all the background.
Thank you for sharing with me today, Ailsa!
It's been a pleasure as usual, Nancy. Thank you for inviting me.
A world without war?
Professor Sawhele Fielding stumbles across an invention that would change the world; something so monumental, it could spell the end of environmental disaster and conflict. With the help of her father, a shadowy figure in the world of international banking, she begins to set into motion the biggest upheaval the planet has seen.
But in a changed world, dark forces are threatening the fragile peace. Where modern technology is proving useless, old magic from a bygone era might just save the day. Adrian Oliver, expert in ancient religions is skeptical until faced with incontrovertible proof that ancient evil is abroad once again.
How could a Utopian dream of free fuel and peaceful co-existence turn into a nightmare?
Iamo, a priest of the Mother Goddess and Riga, a Black Shaman assassin captain, are thrown together – reluctantly at first – to face a threat that nobody could have imagined before “The Changes”.
ALCHEMY is the prequel to Shaman's Drum which features the adventures of Iamo and Riga through their world in the near future, where the established religions of our own days had been banned.
Ailsa Abraham writes under two names and is the author of six novels. Alchemy is the prequel to Shaman's Drum, published by Crooked Cat in January 2014. Both are best-sellers in their genres on Amazon.
She has lived in France for over twenty years and enjoys knitting and crochet as well as motorbikes.
Her interests include campaigning for animal rights, knitting, crochet, riding motorbikes, experimenting with different genres of writing and trips back to the UK to visit friends and family.