PUBLISHERS OF LITERARY FICTION SINCE 1983
Cover illustration: Lise Weisgerber
Balthazar Van Claes is a respected Flemish merchant, rich in material goods and the love of his wife, family and friends. In 1809, a chance meeting with an impoverished Polish adventurer introduces him to alchemy, and he begins his search for 'the Absolute'. Balzac's minute portrayal of obsession, which cost Balthazar everything, is complex, convincing and compelling. This is a study of science and love and thatstill chills today.
Balzac depicts more forcefully than anyone else ever has the way a whole life and a whole family can be destroyed when an individual is taken over by unbridled passion.