The Chymical Wedding by Lindsay Clarke
Soon after moving to the secluded Norfolk village of Munding, Alex Darken has a disturbing encounter with the ageing poet Edward Nesbit and his young lover Laura. They are obsessively researching the lives of Sir Henry Agnew and his daughter Louisa who lived in Munding in the nineteenth century and were deeply engaged in alchemical practices. By recovering the lost secret of the hermetic mysteries, Edward and Laura hope to find an alternative to the destructive materialism of the post-industrial world. Once drawn into their fervent quest for knowledge, Alex finds himself entangled in a passionate and intense intrigue that reaches across two centuries. A beautifully written, ambitious and captivating novel, which takes a profound look at issues of nature, human existence and forgotten knowledge, "The Chymical Wedding", which won the 1989 Whitbread Prize for Best Novel, is already considered a classic for its stylistic prowess and philosophical resonances.