THE ALCHEMIST'S DOOR
The legend of the golem, an increasingly popular piece of Jewish folklore, and an obscure portion of medieval history come to intriguing life in this supernatural thriller from American Book Award–winner Goldstein (The Red Magician; Dark Cities Underground). Ambitious 16th-century (real-life) English alchemist John Dee and his associate, Edward Kelley, summon spirits to learn the nature of the world, but are unprepared when a demon answers their spells instead and threatens Dee's family. Hoping to escape, Dee and his family travel with Kelley to Prague, where they plan to ask the patronage of eccentric King Rudolf. In Prague, Dee meets Rabbi Judah Loew, who seek to learn the identity of Jewish legend's 36 righteous men, whose very existence protects the world from being remade by evil. Unfortunately, influenced by Kelley, Rudolf thinks that if he can find those righteous men and kill them, he will be able to remake the world to his own specifications. After escaping Rudolf's prison, Dee and Loew build a man of clay, a golem, to protect Prague's Jewish quarter from the king's soldiers, only to find once again that summoned powers can be hard to handle safely. In order to defeat evil, both men will first have to weigh their own magical abilities and realize that the power to create is merely the other side of the power to destroy. Although Goldstein's story has a tendency to meander all over the map, diluting her strong message about the cost of power and pride, Dee and Loew's search for truth makes for a telling morality tale. (Aug. 26)
FYI:Goldstein's work has also been nominated for Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy awards.