The Alchemy Thief by R.A. Denny


The Alchemy Thief takes us on a journey back to when pirates roamed the seas, and the Puritans preached the gospel to the Wampanoag Indians.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

But if she had gone back in time, could her actions change the future? Would people she knew never be born, or would she cease to exist? Had she just signed her death sentence with her words?

R.A. Denny. The Alchemy Thief ARC (Kindle Locations 1759-1760). UNKNOWN. Kindle Edition. 
Book Cover of The Alchemy Thief by R.A. Denny.

R.A. Denny has graduated with a law degree from Duke University. She loves history and being active with horseback riding, swimming, and kayaking. She has two sons, one grandson, and another grandchild due soon. 

The first Hobbit movies inspired her and her son challenged her to start writing. In the beginning, she still worked as a criminal prosecutor. But at night, she escaped to the Tzoladian Empire, an imaginary world she created in her writing. She completes this five-book fantasy series, Tales of Tzoladia, and started a new series.

The Alchemy Thief is the first book in the Pirates & Puritans series. It is a historical fiction novel involving time travel, and the author base it in New England and Morocco.

The Alchemy Thief Summary

In this historical fantasy, two people travel back to the future. One is a young boy, and the other is a female Harvard student.


Ayoub is a ten-year-old Maroccan boy with a troubled history. His family fled from Raqqa to get away from the war. It was a hard life, where the older boys beat younger boys, and they learn to count pictures of weapons in their school books. He soon realised that boys don’t cry, but nightmares often plague him from his time in Raqqa.

He is loyal to the caliphate. Together with his mother, they plan to steal an ancient book from the Dar el Makhzen museum. Although he managed to steal the book, his mother is killed, and he barely managed to escape.

They take him out on the sea when he delivered the book and throw him overboard to drown. It was a stormy night, with thunder and lightning. He is transported back in time through some strange event – to the Strait of Gibraltar on 26 August, A.D. 1647. 

Experience Fuller

Experience hates her name and prefers to go by Peri. She is enjoying the freedom of her first year at Harvard. She soon falls in love with Liam. He encourages her to take a course on the Altered State of Consciousness taught by Dr. Bey. Liam also convinces her to do an internship at Plimoth Plantation to learn more about 17tth century life.

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A storm came up during one of her sessions and caught Peri out in the open. It was raining hard, with thunder and lightning. A strange event transported her back in time to Plymouth Bay on 9 September, A.D. 1657. 

She falls in love with a Wampanoag man but fears that they will never fulfill their love.

A collision course

Ayoub travels the seas on a pirate ship for many years and works himself to second in command. until he also becomes the captain of his own ship. When Peri sets out on a journey to London, their paths will inevitably cross. Ayoub captures their ship and sells her as a slave.

When she learns that Ayoub is also from the future, she fears that he can go back. What if he returns with modern weapons and establishes the caliphate in the 17th century?

She  has to confront this question: ‘Can any actions she take in the past change the future?’

What did I like?

In The Alchemy Thief, the author weaves a fascinating tale combining events from the past and the future. She paints a contrast between modern living and its technological advances and the past’s simpler and more conservative lifestyle. 

We meet historical figures like Reverend Mayhew. He played a significant role in converting the Wampanoag Indians to Christianity. Also, Connecticut governor John Winthrop and his son, John Winthrop, Jr, an alchemist. He amazes Peri with his discoveries. When she gets a chance to travel to London, she hopes that working together with Robert Boyle might enable her to return to the future.

The author’s different viewpoints give us insight into the confusion Ayoub and Peri experience when they arrive in the past, and how they struggle to adapt to their new circumstances. It also helps us to understand their motivations and what drives their actions. 

I do like the cover. The cartoonish image fits perfectly with the fantasy element (time travel) in the narrative.

And not so much?

Since she had it on her, Peri took her phone with her into the past. I find it hard to believe that it can still work after being submerged in the sea for some time, especially since she didn’t have a chance to rinse it with clean water and dry it out. 

I find it a stretch of the imagination that Peri’s phone’s battery would last for four months. Mostly because the author doesn’t give us any indication that Peri switched it off during her ‘last day’ in 2019, and she couldn’t immediately switch it off when she arrived in the past. 

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But due to the fantasy elements in the book (time travel), we can give the author the benefit of the doubt. 

Should you read The Alchemy Thief ?

The Alchemy Thief is a fascinating novel. It explores different times and places, love and relationships, and the motivations that drive people’s actions. It shows how someone can adjust to changing circumstances and how one woman can rise to many challenges. 

Follow Ayob and Peri on a journey that spans 2019 and the 17th-century and takes place in New England and Marocco.  Will Peri manage to return to the future? We will have to wait for the sequel, The Sultan’s Court, due for publishing on 14 October 2021.

The author also provides a link to a free book as a sidekick to certain events in the narrative.

If you enjoy historical and adventure novels, look at my review of The Golden Khan. Or check out the Sean Wyatt archaeological thriller series. 

In The Alchemy Thief the author uses time travel to send two of the characters back to a previous era. If time travel were possible today, what time would you like to travel to? What facinates you about that era? We would love to hear from you. Please share with us in the comments?

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Book Info



Print Length:

308 pages

Publication Date:

6 May 2017

Text-to-Speech | Screen Reader | Enhanced Typesetting | Word Wise

Categories: Medical Thrillers

Trigger Warnings: Euthanasia | Marital Violence | Sexual References | Profanity

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Hi! I am Susan

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Why Read or Rot?

I have started reading at the age of four. I can remember how I often read under the covers with a flashlight when I was supposed to sleep.

During my early school years, we visited the library once a week. I couldn’t pick out my new book fast enough! By the end of the period, I would have finished it already, leaving me with nothing to read for the rest of the week!

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