The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss: Top Five Secret Societies!

Hi everyone! I’m here to kick off the blog tour for The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter. This book immediately grabbed my attention. Bad ass women, Check! Characters that are inspired by some of my favorite horror characters, Check! Solving murders, Check! Secret societies, Check!

Once I saw that the book featured a secret society, I knew what I wanted to pitch for a blog post. I’m fascinated by secret societies. I know a few people in one of the more well known secret societies and the fact they still won’t tell me anything kills me. I just wanna know! So below I’m going to talk about five of the better known secret societies and where you can see them in literature and the entertainment world.

My Top Five Secret Societies!

Skull & Bones – It’s an undergraduate senior secret society that was formed in 1832 at Yale University. Until 1991, the Skull and Bones were a male only secret society. “Tap Day”, held every spring since 1879, is when 15 men (and now  women) are chosen to become a member of the Skull and Bones. Those most likely to get tapped are students who are well connected and campus leaders. Some well-known members (past and present) are William Taft, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush and John Kerry. In entertainment, the Skull and Bones society is portrayed in The Skulls I, II, & III and in Gilmore Girls (Life & Death Birgade).

Freemasons – The Freemasons consist of a fraternal organizations that can trace back to the stonemasons and the 14th century. There are different levels within the freemason structure, Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master Mason and two main groups that are recognized, Regular and Continental (allows women) Freemasonry. The tradition (Regular) freemason lodge does not allow women, bans religious and political conversation, and requires that every member believe in a supreme being. It is estimated that there are around six million members worldwide. The first Freemason Lodge in America was formed in 1715 in Pennsylvania. Fourteen US Presidents were Freemasons as well as, Ben Franklin, Paul Revere, & John Hancock. You can find references to the Freemasons in National Treasure and Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series. It is said that the Freemason’s work is all over DC & US government buildings.

Illuminati – On May 1, 1776, the Illuminatenorder (Order of Illuminati) was formed by Adam Weishaupt in Germany and was originally named the Perfectibilists (Covenant of Perfectibility). The main goals of this new secret society were to oppose obscurantism, religious influence over public life, superstition, and the abuses of state power. The Illuminati were based on the Freemasons, and had three levels for members to be ranked, Novice, Minerval, and Illuminated Minerval. Weishaupt favored members who were rich, docile, willing to learn and between the ages of 18-30. While the Illuminati did spread, they eventually declined due to internal dissention and the banning of secret societies in 1785 by Karl Theodor. Many theorize that the Illuminati are responsible for major historical events such as the French Revolution, Battle of Waterloo & the assassination of JFK. You can find the Illuminati mentioned in Angels & Demons by Dan Brown and War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

Sons of Liberty – Formed in 1765 to protect the rights of the American colonists, the Sons of Liberty also fought against taxation by the British government. One of their biggest accomplishments was in battling the Stamp Act of 1765. They fought to get the act repealed and then disbanded shortly after. Their motto, “No taxation without representation” is still widely known today. Many prominent men of early American society were members, including Sam Adams, Patrick Henry, Paul Revere, and John Hancock. Most notably, the Sons of Liberty were mentioned in the hit Broadway play Hamilton. In the song Yorktown, Hercules Mulligan sings, “I am runnin’ with the Sons of Liberty and I am lovin’ it.”

Knights Templar – One of the oldest secret societies, the Knights Templar was founded in 1119 and is said to be active from 1129-1312. The Knights Templar were skilled fighting units in the Crusades and were a widely popular charity throughout Christendom. Members, who didn’t fight, managed the economical infrastructure and developed early forms of banking. When the Holy Land was lost and the secrecy of the society caused distrust, the order declined. King Philip of France, used this distrust and decline to his advantage, arrested members in France, and burned them at the stake. The Freemason’s seemed to have taken a note from the Knights Templar, in that they also have three ranks, the noble knights, the non-noble sergeants, and the chaplains. They also had Grand Masters, who held the position for life. The Templars funded many building projects across Europe, many of which are still standing (Temple Bar & Temple Underground station in London). Like many of the societies mentioned above, the Knights Templar were mentioned in the Da Vinci Code & National Treasure. There are also rumors and theories that the Templars were in possession of or charged with protecting the Holy Grail and Ark of the Covenant.


Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders—and the bigger mystery of their own origins.

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.

LINKS: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 6.00.29 PMABOUT THEODORA GOSS:

Theodora Goss’s publications include the short story collection In the Forest of Forgetting (2006); Interfictions (2007), a short story anthology coedited with Delia Sherman; Voices from Fairyland (2008), a poetry anthology with critical essays and a selection of her own poems; and The Thorn and the Blossom (2012), a two-sided novella in an accordion format. She has been a finalist for the Nebula, Crawford, Locus, and Mythopoeic Awards, and on the Tiptree Award Honor List. She has won the World Fantasy and Rhysling Awards.

LINKS: Website | Twitter

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:
6/26: TV, Books, & More … Oh My! – Top 10 Secret Societies
6/27: Resch Reads and Reviews – Makeup Looks
6/28: Wandering Bark Books – Guest Post
6/29: In Wonderland – Q&A
6/30: Avid Reader – Review 

Week 2:
7/3: Books Are Love – Q&A
7/4: Reading Is Better With Cupcakes – Review
7/5: Just Commonly – Review
7/6: Miranda’s Book Blog – Guest Post
7/7: The Book Return – Review


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