Barbara Barnett, Medicine and Magic

Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett

By Carl Slaughter: Experimental medicine, corporate intrigue, the quest for immortality, and an ancient mystery. A shared curse, a dangerous secret, a stunning revelation, and a powerful love.

by Barbara Barnett
Pyr books


In Victorian London, the fates of physician Simon Bell and apothecary Gaelan Erceldoune entwine when Simon gives his wife an elixir created by Gaelan from an ancient manuscript. Meant to cure her cancer, it kills her. Suicidal, Simon swallows the remainder–only to find he cannot die. Five years later, hearing rumors of a Bedlam inmate with regenerative powers like his own, Simon is shocked to discover it’s Gaelan. The two men conceal their immortality, but the only hope of reversing their condition rests with Gaelan’s missing manuscript.

When modern-day pharmaceutical company Genomics unearths diaries describing the torture of Bedlam inmates, the company’s scientists suspect a link between Gaelan and an unnamed inmate. Gaelan and Genomics geneticist Anne Shawe are powerfully drawn to each other, and her family connection to his manuscript leads to a stunning revelation. Will it bring ruin or redemption?


  • “Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton in this fever dream of a fantasy. Richly textured, terrifying, and somehow timely, Barbara Barnett’s time-jumping tale will keep readers up well past their bedtime. Highly recommended!”  —Jay Bonansinga, New York Times–bestselling author of The Walking Dead: Search and Destroy and Self Storage
  • “Looking for a new narrative world lovingly furnished with the craft and care of an older time? This book feels like Holmes.” —Jane Espenson, writer/producer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, and Once Upon a Time
  • “Myth, medicine, and immortality, braided together like the border of an illuminated manuscript.” —Doris Egan, screenwriter, novelist, and writer and co-executive producer of House
  • “Part medical drama, part thriller, and completely absorbing. Barnett explores the dark side of one of humanity’s oldest obsessions–the quest for immortality–and tells a great story about greed, unintended consequences, and ultimately love.” —John VanZile, author of The Legend of Arkatak
  • “An irresistible blend of fairy folklore, science, and suspense that’s sure to keep you reading late into the night.” —Shanna Swendson, author of Enchanted, Inc.
  • “A wonderfully entertaining and richly textured novel–truly ‘high concept.’ Deft evocation of characters and a wonderfully authentic use of language” —Mark Spencer, author of A Haunted Love Story: The Ghosts of the Allen House
  • “Has something for every fiction fan – sci-fi, horror, romance, and fantasy – but the story interweaves the genres so deftly that the reader is focused on the story – and what a story it is! Barbara’s gift for credible, era-specific dialogue and detail is wonderful, as is her pacing and the story’s pay-off.”  —Denise Dorman, WriteBrain Media


Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, an Internet magazine of pop culture, politics and more, for which she has also contributed nearly 1,000 essays, reviews, and interviews over the past decade. Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show. She has won several awards for her writing, spanning from technical writing achievement to her writing on spirituality and religion. Barbara has a degree from the University of Illinois in biology/chemistry and has worked as a microbiologist. She is president of the Midwest Writers Association.

Always a pop-culture and sci-fi geek, Barbara was raised on a steady diet of TV (and TV dinners), but she always found her way to the tragic antiheroes and misunderstood champions, whether on TV, in the movies or in literature. (In other words, Spock, not Kirk; Han Solo, not Luke Skywalker!) It was inevitable that she would have to someday create one of her own.

She is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA’s HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as “The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture,” “The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes,” “The Hidden History of Science Fiction,” and “Our Passion for Disaster (Movies).”

A life-long resident of the Chicago area, she lives with her husband Phil not far from the beautiful Lake Michigan coast of Chicago’s North Shore that serves as the modern-day setting for The Apothecary’s Curse. She is the proud mother of Shoshanna (Mike) and Adam, and the loving savta of Ari.

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7 thoughts on “Barbara Barnett, Medicine and Magic

  1. This book sounds fascinating.

    I also enjoyed Barbara Barnett’s story · “43 Responses to “In Memory of Dr. Alexandra Nako” in Daily Science Fiction earlier this year a whole lot and put it on my Hugo longlist.

  2. @Cora – Strangely enough, “43 Responses” is actually by a different Barbara Barnett–who is me. So it was a bit of a surprise when I saw a fantasy novel being released by someone with my name. 🙂 But I’m so glad you enjoyed “43 Responses”!

  3. @bbarnett
    Thanks for the clarification. So there are two Barbara Barnetts writing SFF. That’s certainly something.

    Also thanks for writing “43 responses”. It’s a great story.

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