**REVIEW** ~ Dream Alchemy, by Nicholas Boyd Crutchley (Life and Shadow series)

Fantasy/Dystopian Fantasy/Sci-Fi

Dream Alchemy


A warrior battles hydra.

The Blood Plague liquefies eyes.

A rapper rails against Earth’s ecological ruin.

From the pitch Abyss, Chaos corrupts our dreams. 

On stealing the dreams of an old warrior and priestess, Chaos discovers them to be essential ingredients for his dream alchemy. With their souls the dark god can control Sol, Dragonland’s angelic ruler, and release his wanton daughter, Babalon, from Hell. If the devil queen returns and swallows the angel’s soul, the veil separating reality from the pitch Abyss will tear, and Chaos will pour forth and warp reality. Can Sol defeat Chaos? Or will Babalon’s poison kiss seduce him?

Through the psiqnet, a network of human minds and quantum artificial intelligences (QAIs), consumers shop Earth towards ecological ruin. The preachers of Gaia, ecoterrorists woven within the system, seek to bring economic and ecological harmony through Gaia QAI. Yet as Gaia begins to infect other QAIs with compassion, the Blood Plague rises, intent on exterminating humankind.

What force connects Dragonland and Earth?

The Life & Shadow Series explores how genetic engineering, synthetic biology and nanotechnology will impact humankind and Earth’s ecology. More specifically, themes include the outcome of human minds interfacing with artificial intelligences, the long-term effect of humankind on natural ecosystems, and compassion in society.

My Review

Original and Thought Provoking

4 Stars

Dream Alchemy is an epic read which weaves together Fantasy and Dystopian Fantasy/Sci-Fi. At its core is the battle between good and evil, Chaos and his daughter Babalon on the one side and Sol, the angel who rules over Dragonland, on the other. The storyline is set in a medieval style world of priestesses, warriors and nobles and a nightmare filled Earth of the future.

The environmental catastrophe which humankind has inflicted on the Earth and its people is one of the main themes in the tale and there are heartfelt passages which emphasise  how greed and the love of money and human vanity have stripped the planet of its resources and led to an environmental catastrophe and a two tier society. Other themes touch on the corrupting influence of power and the importance of compassion.

Malevolent forces are at play and there is much talk of a prophecy on which the future rests. The fate of the key characters Nostromo and Natasha, the old warrior and the priestess, is pivotal, attracting the interest of Chaos who wishes to use them for his own evil ends. On Earth the blood plague threatens the safety of all. The read blends past and present with dreams and reality building up to an unexpected conclusion.

The writing is vivid and at times visceral and brutal. There are scenes of hellish proportions describing the fate of humankind at the time when Babalon ruled and we are left under no illusions of what will happen if Chaos has his way. The descriptions of genetic engineering and how human minds interface with artificial intelligences is both prophetic and terrifying.

Recommended to readers who enjoy a thought provoking read that will remain in their minds long after finishing it.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, a copy of the book was given to me for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK   e-book  Amazon UK  paperback

Amazon US e-book  Amazon US paperback


Connect with Nicholas



To read a post by the author, Nicholas Boyd Crutchley, on the inspiration behind Dream Alchemy and read an excerpt click on the title.

About Tina Williams

Book reviewer and blogger and co-organiser of Tamworth (UK) Literary Festival

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