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Brimstone (Earth Air Fire and Water Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Alan Skinner
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99

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Book Description

Jenny Swift doesn’t feel special.
But she is.
Which is why, not long before her 15th birthday, she finds herself taken from her home by a great alchemist.
To become his apprentice. A young girl. An outsider.
A nobody.
Who may one day become a very great somebody. If she survives the murder, deceit and and betrayal in her new home.
Brimstone, the first book in the Earth, Air, Fire and Water series, is a thrilling adventure for lovers of classic literature.

Kirkus Indie Review

A young girl’s life changes dramatically when she becomes the apprentice to one of the most famed alchemists of her time.
Jenny Swift, only 14 years old, is taken from her parents and her sheltered upbringing in lush Queerwood to become apprentice to the famed alchemist Richard Antrobus. But when her newfound master is attacked as they embark upon their journey into nearby Vale, Jenny soon realizes that this isn’t just another apprenticeship. Upon her arrival in Vale, the young apprentice is thrust into a world unlike any she’s ever known—a mysterious stranger gives her an antique brass astrolabe, and she is attacked by a vicious stranger and subsequently saved by Rayker, who works for Duke Emeric. She then meets her roommate, the flighty, well-off, yet well-meaning Emily. Jenny, who is already an accomplished healer, soon learns the basics of alchemy in Antrobus’ study nestled deep within the castle. Her first real test comes when she must defend herself against violent outlaws who will stop at nothing to gain the secrets hidden deep within Antrobus’ study. When her master is kidnapped, it is up to Jenny to save him and protect the secrets he’s worked his entire life to collect. What results is a story of deceit, murder and the quest to decipher the secrets of an ancient manuscript that contains the deepest secrets of alchemy.
Skinner handles the characters and ensuing plot twists with gusto, yet at times there are so many characters that the reader has to stop for a moment to place them. As the first installment in Skinner’s Earth, Air, Fire and Water series ... the author approaches the genre in an original way, focusing on the principles of early science and historically accurate—yet fictional—settings, characters and plots.
A worthy read, perfect for the young adult, fantasy loving set; true devotees will anxiously await the next installment in this original series.

NZ Herald on Sunday
"Perfect!"

Bookiemonster
'All this makes for a lot of fun. There's action, there's humour, there's a little romance, there's even a little gore. FUN!'


Editorial Reviews

Review

"A worthy read, perfect for the young adult, fantasy loving set; true devotees will anxiously await the next installment in this original series." Kirkus Indie Review


"Gripping. Enchanting. Unique."  Sophie Kean,  Goodreads

"Brimstone's uniqueness comes from combining the very best fantasy elements with relateable real-life issues; including racism, poverty, alternate culture, friendship, and most poigniently, the loss and duty of growing up... This was a book that left me constantly wanting more!" Elly Pugh, The Book Depository

The book had a slightly slow beginning, ... but the plot thickens & entwines your focus completely. The plot twists in unexpected ways, betrayal and unsuspecting characters play major parts in the story line. ... Compared to usual books aimed at young people ... this book is a unique & welcome change." M Hindle, Amazon UK review

"A wonderfully refreshing and original read after so many recent teenage books recycling story lines. Right from the first page I have been engrossed in Brimstone. It took me a small matter of hours to finish it as I literally couldn't put it down! ... a true page turner... I'll be buying the sequel!" Hayley, Amazon UK review

From the Back Cover

One  day changes a young  girl's life forever  ...

Befor she has even  turned fifteen, Jenny  Swift  is taken from her loving  home  by a man  she has never  met.  Richard Antrobus is the greatest alchemist in the  world  and  he has chosen her  - untried and  an outsider? as his apprentice. Taken to the  great city state of Vale, Jenny  is immediately faced  with  murder, intrigue and  betrayal. To save the  lives of those  she cares for, Jenny  has to discover  skills she never  imagined she possessed.

To survive,  she has to discover  a courage  few possess.

Brimstone is the  first  book  in the  Earth, Air, Fire and  Water series.  A tale  of bravery, intelligence and  high  adventure, it re?creates a time  long past  - a time  when  politics and  murder went  hand?in?hand; a time  when  men  of science  believed the secret  of the  universe was within reach;  a time  when  a young girl turned the  world  upside down.

Product Details

  • File Size: 442 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0060738W4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #905,904 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brimstone - the powers within November 1, 2010
By Carolyn
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Within each of us are powers to do great things. Jenny is a 15 year old girl from times gone by (and perhaps only ever imagined). She is on the threshhold of discovering just who she will become as she experiences danger, betrayal and murder. The characters in 'Brimstone' are masterful depictions of depth and colour who thrust and parry towards their destinies, not least of whom is Jenny. With love, courage and extraordinary ability as an apprentice alchemist, Jenny tackles this unfolding story of adventure, mystery and science.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brimstone - The Essence of Life December 4, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Observing how perfectly the beginning and end of Brimstone frames the story within is paramount to understanding the brilliance of this creation.

First and foremost, Brimstone is a story - the story of Jenny Swift embarking on her apprenticeship as an alchemist. It is a beautifully crafted and thoroughly enjoyable adventure. The settings are so masterfully described that the world simply unfolds around us as we go. The characters are so skilfully fashioned that we know them from the moment we meet them but we understand them more deeply as the tale goes on.

Yet the brilliance of Brimstone is how it subtly connects us to that which can't be told, only felt; that which is beyond the words and emotions of the story. This calmly sits within us all the way through the book as demonstrated by our soft smiles of contentment but nowhere is it more striking than at the beginning and end. Appropriately framing the story within and stated with perfect simplicity are the deepest and most complex moments of the human experience that travel gently to our core and connect us to the very essence of life - and that is the story of Brimstone; the story of the search for the essence of life.

And what a search! The story is no less wonderful than the superbly crafted world and characters. There is adventure, mystery, danger, romance, hopes and disappointments. As Jenny is forced to reconcile her purpose and place in the world, she gets caught in the middle of an age-old search for the philosopher's stone. From innocent beginnings she soon finds herself in a world full power struggles, murder and deceit.

Brimstone is nothing short of outstanding!!!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kept Me Up Half The Night! March 30, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I almost passed right by Alan Skinner's Brimstone (Earth Air Fire and Water), but then something made me take a second look. I was very glad that I did. This is not a heavy read. It doesn't have a complicated plot with many convolutions, though the tale revolves around a nice little mystery. It is, however, an easy-to-read short novel of a "beginner's fantasy" sort, perfectly suitable for Young Adults as well as Grandmas. As an added plus, the historical bits about alchemists and alchemy is right on the money.

Great read, one I'll read again down the road. I'll be watching for more from this author.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book moves deceptively fast: there were times when Jenny (the protagonist) is frustrated by the lack of action, then you find out it's only been a day. The plot is interesting, though I wouldn't call it mind blowing or anything. It is also very straight forward read; there's only one plot and zero side story.

Jenny is quite naive, having grown up far away from everyone except her parents. This innocence pops up throughout the book and unfortunately does nothing for the "heroine." For instance, she decides not to lock the front door of her master's house because there are people home. Just because you live in the forest doesn't mean you shouldn't lock your door (I grew up in the ghetto, but this really irked me). Then, after repeatedly being told that all alchemists keep secrets, she goes and blabs it right away. No hesitation to what she was doing. Luckily this worked to her benefit, but seriously?!

Lastly what bothered me was not being able to figure out where the heck this is set. The author mentions familiar places (Venice/Venetian, etc) but then goes on to make up a majority of the other names. Confusing, to say the least.

Interesting plot that could have been better executed. Jenny learns alchemy quickly and independently in the face of a tough situation, however as a person she doesn't grow all that much. Yes, she is no longer angry for being taken from her family, but she does not speak up about her concerns (even though, to me, it was very obvious who the villain was), fails to listen to sage advice, and altogether lacks some common sense.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written May 25, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was hooked by page three. The idea that each person was given a job/career regardless of their own desires kept me reading. Then, the intriguing story line took over and I was completely engrossed. Excellent storytelling, writing and creative imagination.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but needs some polish March 21, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really liked the story of Jenny Swift. The character was reasonably well developed and the plots worked well enough. The only things of note that need improvement are some grammatical errors and character perspectives that were jarring. In the first chapter the perspective kept switching between Antrobus and Jenny. There were several other spots where the writer was writing from the perspective of say Jenny, then switched briefly to what another character was thinking or feeling and then switched back. To me that is very jarring. Better to pick one perspective and stay with it. Other than that I liked the story and would read any additional stories about these characters.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking forward to sequel.
Enjoyable read for adult fantasy fans as well as young adults. I will be looking forward to the next book!
Published 20 days ago by Kirsten Wahlstrom
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Story!
I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Started off slightly slow, in the time of "magic", of a country girl who is taken to the "city" for her apprenticeship. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Carol & Keith Edholm
5.0 out of 5 stars good read
The story is well written, good twists and turns, the young girl that the story centers on learns to grow and thrive in a new environment.
Published 5 months ago by Christina L Baxter-Perry
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good
The beginning was a little confusing, but as I kept reading it became more clear. It was a good book. It was a mystery. Right up my alley.
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Hooked!
A surprisingly good fast read. Wasn't sure if I would like it, but I couldn't put it down once I started. Wish there was a sequel!
Published 8 months ago by Mary L. Field
4.0 out of 5 stars Brimstone
A wonderfully refreshing and original read after so many recent teenage books recycling story lines. Right from the first page I have been engrossed in Brimstone. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Merissa (Archaeolibrarian)
4.0 out of 5 stars Brimstone (Earth, Air, Fire and Water)
I was surprised how quickly I got hooked into the story. Brimstone has a medieval setting. If you don't like reading about life during the middle ages, you may not like this... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars 3.8 - Good - With polishing, it could be great.
Although I do do not fall under the category of a YA (those days have long since passed), I decided to check this book out. Read more
Published 10 months ago by justme
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad, Not Great
This was a tolerable story about a girl who is chosen to become an alchemist and becomes embroiled in city politics. It's a simple read with a straightforward plot. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Angela Perry
3.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy worth the read
We all need heroes and villains to believe in. Heroes make us believe in truth, justice and honor. Villains reveal the evil and despair in the world. This book has plenty of both. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Dargrace
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More About the Author

Having absolutely no talent with either money or business, Alan Skinner naturally spent the last decade of his salaried professional life working for a global investment bank, in the course of which he undoubtedly did his bit for the re-distribution of wealth and adding some ballast to the super-tanker known as the financial sector. Entirely of his own volition, he left his job as a senior executive with a global Swiss bank and took up something somewhat more pernicious and infinitely more subversive: writing. His first three books are all teenage and young adult novels - something that came as a bit of a surprise to him, as adult fiction had always seemed to come more naturally. In addition, there is the complete but unpublished Buckle and the Pirate, an early reader picture storybook illustrated by the brilliant Serena Riglietti (illustrator of Italian editions of Harry Potter).

Alan, however, doesn't consider himself to be an ex-banker, or ex-teacher, or ex-theatre director or any of the very many jobs he's had. He considers himself to be a writer who got side-tracked by all those other things for nearly 40 years. In other words, a normal human being with a normal human capacity for having plans all too easily hijacked.

When Alan left banking in 2008, he founded Sibling Press, which published all his books, thus saving him from the unnecessary pain of rejection. This was in the mistaken belief that rejection by publishers was the worst thing that could happen to a writer. He has since learned - by observing the careers of these writers, naturally - that there is an altogether more painful and absolute rejection possible. Initially he saw the publishing company as a backup in case he failed to earn a living writing. Recently, though, he has closed Sibling Press in order to concentrate on writing.

Alan was also the founder of Sibling Revelry, a company formed specifically to produce a game he designed, the beautiful film game Cinematique, which received a red-carpet launch at Hamley's in London in 2005.

Born in Boston, Alan and his six siblings migrated to Australia in 1964, by coincidence, at exactly the same time as his parents did likewise. In 1991, he moved (without siblings or parents) back to Boston for a year, then to London (his spiritual and preferred home) where he established a consultancy in the City, offering advice to firms such as Barings, Legal and General, Lotus Corporation and Lloyds of London. He stayed in London until 2000, when an offer from Credit Suisse drew him to Switzerland. From 2000-2005 he lived and worked in Zurich, and then again from 2008-2010, before returning to Melbourne to spend a few years with his family. He plans to return to the UK permanently as soon as he can.

Rights to Alan's book have been sold to Spain, Brazil and Vietnam.

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