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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

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    1 out of 5 stars
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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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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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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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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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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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🕵️‍♂️ 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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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!

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  • Steve
  • 06-12-2020

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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  • Brigitte
  • 19-07-2020

Brilliant read

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

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 10-06-2020

Thrilling

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

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-02-2020

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.

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  • Julie R.
  • 25-01-2020

Great Book

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

6 people found this helpful

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  • Ms J Ritchie
  • 22-02-2020

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-04-2020

great story

this is a well written story that makes you think. Content is actually enough for a series of books rather than one long one. Peter James is a great author and it always good to have subject matter that is new and not predictable.

1 person found this helpful

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  • barbara
  • 29-03-2020

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 .

1 person found this helpful

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  • John
  • 21-02-2020

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Linda
  • 15-01-2021

Satanic element spoilt otherwise good tale

This was rather like two stories that had been bolted together. The tale of the pharmaceutical giant would be a gem for any conspiracy theorist, but oh dear I did think the very unpleasant section about the mistreatment of a young boy and the satanic element completely unnecessary. Sorry Peter James I like most of your work but this one which promised so much in the opening chapters was something of a disappointment.

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  • Tom Hanauer
  • 12-01-2021

Bof and the froggies say

Couldn't stand the reader. but maybe that's just me. Some poor editing, leaving in a couple of mis-takes. Other than that, the story line is quite good, but the development is very dependent on characters making insanely stupid decisions. t That makes it hard to relate to any of them, and even harder to care. It passed the time, and there were moments when I enjoyed it, but overall there is so much better out there.

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  • Mrs S Fears
  • 31-12-2020

Great story

Loved the story which held my attention throughout. At no time was I bored. Attention to detail was brilliant and obviously a great deal of research went into this book. A bit scary to some extent in that such a globally important and pharmaceutical company could be that controlling? A possibility that is frightening. My only complaint is that the narrator read at breakneck speed. At first I thought I couldn’t cope with it but I got used to it and stuck with it, so I have to say it was very well read.

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  • a
  • 19-11-2020

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.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-11-2020

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.

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