ANTOINE LAVOISIER--who lived at the zenith of the Enlightenment and died at the hands of the Revolution--was himself a revolutionary. Closely followed by the burgeoning international scientific community, he competed with the best minds of his time of be the first to explain how chemical processes really work. Aided by a large fortune and his accomplished wife, he employed the most ingenious and expensive technology of his time in a series of innovative experiments that forever buried medieval alchemy and established a chemical language still in use today. Yet his personal triumph was short-lived, and the glory his achievement brought France could not protect him from the ravages of the Terror. Madison Smartt Bell, building on his celebrated trilogy about the eighteenth-century Haitian uprisings, dramatically re-creates this turbulent era of reason and revolution, and the works of a man who so thoroughly exemplified its spirit.