Up to 10 holds can now be placed on titles system-wide. See for further details.

Record Details

Catalog Search

Sostenuto : science & sorcery, religion & resurrection, politics & prognistication, philosophy & art

Image of item

First trade paperback original edition ; First edition.

Alex is a quiet, elderly Brit with a sardonic wit and a devastating secret. By day, Alex labors as the groundskeeper and gardener at the estate of Pennsylvania socialite Martha Mattson, set high in the hills of the Appalachian plateau, and site of the once-powerful, but now defunct Mattson Anthracite Mineworks. Unbeknownst to Martha, Alex’s extreme age and experience serve more than the ironweed and topiary—he practices in the ancient arts of Alchemy and the mystical pursuit of the Great Knowledge. Alex is troubled by the larger forces at play in the ruthless lives of ordinary men, and he wonders if others like himself still exist elsewhere in the world, steeped in the ancient disciplines, and laboring against the chaotic forces of human ignorance and greed. He yearns for a forbidden confidant; a soft heart and sharp wit for plots and plans and commiseration. He pines for an assistant with whom he might share the burdens and wisdom of thirty generations of service and self-sacrifice. But the price of his longevity is loneliness, and Alex has grown weary of the work. It is sometimes brutal, and sometimes benevolent, but it is never inconsequential, and it is never dull. Alchemy is like that—but solitude is getting to be a real pain in places where the sun don’t shine. The world changes one hot August morning as a hand-lettered scrap of parchment arrives unceremoniously in his mailbox. Three ornate letters—S O S—lead Alex, Martha, and her butler JJ on a death-defying journey of self-discovery, awakening, and truly excellent wine that Methuselah himself could never have foreseen. Celestial mechanics, Greek mythology, and coal mining culture conspire with wine, women, and song to disrupt the morning meditation, the politics of Pennsylvania, and the fate of the entire planet.

Available copies

  • 1 of 1 copy available at OWWL.

Current holds

0 current holds with 1 total copy.
Location Call Number /
Shelving Location
Barcode Status /
Due Date
Palmyra Community Library ORN PB (Text)
Adult Fiction

Additional Resources