THE JEWEL OF LIFE by Anna Kirwan-Vogel


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 11 - 14
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 Old Crowe the apothecary/alchemist is fortunate in his new apprentice: young Duffy may be an unprepossessing orphan, but he displays both a lively curiosity and an unsuspected talent for magic. Within days, Duffy travels to other worlds, brings back a precious cockatrice feather, and--with Crowe explaining how alchemical substances should be interpreted not just in physical terms but also in a psychological and spiritual sense--creates the Philosopher's Stone itself. While townspeople, frightened by an eclipse, burn down Crowe's shop, Duffy reclaims the Stone after a magic battle with a dragon and uses it to bring the old man back to life. Since this spare, fluidly written story is symbol-driven, plot and characters are sculpted in bas-relief and are predictable in both appearance and behavior. Still, the author knows her herbal and alchemical lore and creates vivid, scary monsters. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-15-200750-4
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1991


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