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Alchemist  By  cover art

Alchemist

By: Peter James
Narrated by: Katherine Press
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Publisher's Summary

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger....

Monty Bannerman's father is a leading genetic scientist and Nobel Prize winner whose company has just been taken over by what will soon be the world's biggest pharmaceutical giant. He had some misgivings about their company ethics - but ultimately, he needs their money, and they need his mind.    

Then a journalist comes to Monty's door, with a far-fetched story about the pharmaceutical company. She doesn't believe what she's being told for a moment - but within a few short weeks, events are making the apparently fantastic claims look horrifyingly like the truth.  

Behind the respectable facade of the multi-national company which calls itself the 'World's Most Caring Company' lies an outrage against the whole human race....       

©2019 Peter James (P)2019 Orion Publishing Group

Critic Reviews

"Peter James is getting better with every book." (Times)

"Peter James is one of the best crime writers in the business." (Karin Slaughter)

What listeners say about Alchemist

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

good story, make you wonder

Would have given it 5 stars the ending is not complete and I kept having to turn the volume up or down to listen to the story.

1 person found this helpful

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Engrossing Story and Excellent Narration

I was hooked by this deliciously creepy medical thriller, beautifully narrated by Katherine Press. It took over my weekend; during which I devoured the 23 hour audiobook in two days. I am only giving the story three stars because I found the occult focused subplot an annoying distraction from an otherwise superb medical/corporate thriller. Peter James’ storytelling ability is so exquisite that it held me riveted, despite this unfortunate detour into mumbo-jumbo.
It was like reading Robin Cook or Michael Palmer, at the top of their game, with an occasional chapter slipped in by Dan Brown. It didn’t ruin it for me, but I would have preferred otherwise.

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Riveting story

Loved this book

Now wondering is there another book ?
Will there be a 2nd book ?

This is the first Peter James book I’ve listened to. I look forward to exploring more from this author


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Brilliant read

what a well written book, telling a magnificently gripping story. throughly enjoyable and entertaining read

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Thrilling

Marvelous storytelling. A must read/listen. James's best effort and I've read most of his work.

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  • Julie R.
  • 01-25-20

Great Book

Really enjoyed this and it would make a fantastic film, heading to buy some more of his stuff!

7 people found this helpful

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  • Ms J Ritchie
  • 02-22-20

Versatile Peter James

I LOVED this book. Gripping from the outset and so very well read by Katherine Press, The Alchemist is one of Peter James’s finest tales. We all love to hate big pharma, but James takes this to a whole new level.
Outstanding and highly recommended.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-13-21

Grippping

Amazing, intense storyline involving satanism, pharmaceutical organisations & their medication- very relevant now! Narrated well.

2 people found this helpful

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  • a
  • 11-19-20

Wish I had gone with my initial instinct and returned this

This was bad - really bad.
The story: it all started off well. I liked the plot around how large pharmas operate. However at some point - it started to get all very silly. I kept plodding on thinking that it was a dip and things would get better. It didn’t - in fact it got worse and towards the end, I just wanted it to finish so I could just say to myself that I had completed it. The story became ridiculous and mindless and being a glutton for punishment - I carried on until the bitter end
The performance: The narrator’s voice is frankly - very irritating. Her ‘American accent’ and her characterisation just grated on me. There were bits where I just had to skip a few minutes because I wanted to get to the end of the chapter - especially those which features American people.
I did not choose wisely.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Derek S.
  • 08-17-20

Good performance, devilish plot!

(Might contain spoiler for some!)

I’m guessing that Mr James has two readership groups, those that like his Roy Grace police procedurals and those that go for this kind of thing with its use of hokey, occult happenings (that of course don’t have to be or can’t really be explained because, well, it’s ‘supernatural’, right?) in lieu of a decent plot. Being of the former persuasion and having listened to all the Roy Grace books good and not so good, I stuck with this till the end really just to see how bad it was going to get and I wasn’t disappointed.

Did Mr James really ‘research’ this for 3 years? The satanic mumbo-jumbo could have been cribbed from any number of Hammer Horror films and the evil pharmaceutical industry conspiracy (which is really the only interesting bit in the book) was largely made redundant by the protagonist’s use of pseudo scientific claptrap to battle against it (dousing.. really!?).

As I said, there are probably lot’s of folk out there who love this kind of thing and good luck to them. I don’t and I wish I hadn’t wasted a credit on it. I think books that invoke the ‘unexplained’ or use words like power, energy, force to describe anything other than their scientific meaning should have some kind of warning attached, maybe: WARNING: THINGS HAPPEN IN THIS BOOK WHICH WILL ONLY BE EXPLAINED BY THE READER COMPLETELY SUSPENDING THEIR DISBELIEF, something like that. If you want to see how you can write a book which invokes, and lets call a spade a spade here, ‘Magic’, to explain and drive events then take a look at the Rivers of London books by Ben Aaronovitch (or even Harry bloody Potter for that matter!), much more imaginative, coherent and satisfying.

After listening to Mr Jame’s introduction to the book I was looking forward to the pharmaceutical conspiracy thriller that I thought I was about to hear but, alas, he forgot to mention that Satan would be turning up and I just couldn’t get over it, Shame.

Good narrator though.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs E M Bell
  • 08-09-20

best one yet

loved it thrilling from begining to end kept you on the edge cant wait for the next one

2 people found this helpful

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  • barbara
  • 03-29-20

Wondered if it would loose pace but I was wrong

Being a long listen l wondered if I’d stuck with it .. suffice to say I did .. 5 stars from me all round .

2 people found this helpful

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  • John
  • 02-21-20

Peter James' finest quality work to date.

This book is jaw droppingly BRILLIANT. It ticks all the right boxes. The story is interesting, exciting, unusual and thrilling. The plot works well, the characters are believeable and you build a great connection with them. The narration is well performed.

2 people found this helpful

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  • MAB
  • 02-19-21

Compelling

Much weirdness but utterly compelling listening. I found myself waking up thinking about the possibility of it being true.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Robert Campbell
  • 11-18-20

The Alchemist. I Was transfixed - You will be too


This story took me (for the first time) away from Peter James' ""DS Roy Grace" series. and WHAT a chamge!

Beginning gently, the story raps up your interest in the characters, when bang, the reader finds out the machinations of the Global empire of the big new company involved in the aquisition of the struggling Nobel Prize winning scientist's struggling company.

There are chapters which look at devil worship and eventually worse happenings. There are obviously good characters rushing to save the ills caused by the conglomerate but they run into serious personal mishaps but can they trust their helpers? Buy this well-told story and enjoy another Peter James masterpiece.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Hawk
  • 01-26-20

No. Just no. Shallow drivel.

I was hoping for an intelligent thriller about the dirty deeds of Big Pharma, and if you threw a little satanism into the mix it would just reinforce my existing notions about capitalistic greed.

I dont know what category or genre this book is, but its utter garbage. I got 4 hours in and the reality hit. This story is mindless drivel. It is not a taut thriller filled with embellished truths, it is not a quasi-journalistic story exposing dirty secrets, it is, in fact, just mindless drivel. Nothing thought provoking in this book. Although set in the 1990s the characters are clichéd British stereotypes from 70s 'avant garde' TV movies and pulp literature. If this is 'horror' then it fails to create an impending sense of sinister events and instead relies on an all most soap opera approach to interpersonal relationships and some rather Edwardian 'parlour games' masquerading as magic.

I cant believe I wasted 4 hours on this. It is so not the type of story I was looking for.

I recommend that no one should waste their time on this book. Its just not worth it.

Serves me right for trying to read outside of my usual genres.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kaili
  • 03-29-20

Wouldn't recommend

Too supernatural and weird. Wished I'd not completed. The accents were a bit off too.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-29-20

Not worth 23 hours of your time

Meandering storyline that takes 18 hours for any progress to take place. Infuriating characters and more effort put into sex scenes then building any sense of suspense.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dudley
  • 01-28-20

Started so well - finished very poorly

This book started very strongly. The expose of big pharma, the possibilities of corruption because of the business model. Very credible characters & excellent story-line.

Then it happened - the story line deteriorated & became incredulous.

I think if we had been warned that this was turning into a ridiculous plot with a more ridiculous ending.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-19-20

Long, but a good read

This was a fascinating book. Slow at times, it was a bit of a marathon read, but in the end once the different story lines came together, the pace really quickened. The different story lines were far fetched and it was difficult to follow at times, but once they merged the action really started happening. The narrator was engaging. Overall a great read.

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  • Syed Sarwar
  • 03-14-20

🕵️‍♂️ Well written

Very well written story. enjoyed thoroughly. Story had the ability to capture full attention and a desire to listen to the end

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-03-20

I’m torn.

I didn’t do a background research before reading this, so it wasn’t what I expected, or what I am into. I feel like pharma companies have so much shady business happenings that the magical cult stuff really wasn’t necessary. Also, prepared for some weird cult sex. Definitely wasn’t bad though, just not my cup of tea!