Detail of Geheime Figuren der Rosenkreuzer  (Public Domain Image)
With the Adepts
An Adventure Among the Rosicrucians
by Franz Hartmann
Franz Hartmann was a 19th century Bavarian physician, theosophist and writer. He emigrated to the United States, and became an American citizen, practicing medicine in the then-frontier areas of the Midwest, including Missouri and Texas. He became interested in Spiritualism, and joined the Theosophists in 1883 at their enclave in Madras, India, a refuge similar in spirit to the one he pictures in this book. He became somewhat disillusioned with Blavatsky, however, and returned to Europe two years later. He remained skeptical of her methods, and in his later years tended toward western rather than eastern esotericism. Personally, however Hartmann remained on good terms with Blavatsky, and was the first to translate The Secret Doctrine into German.
This, the third of Hartmann's books, and the first with a fictional setting, begins with a journey in the Alps. The narrator meets a mysterious dwarf. The dwarf takes him to an Adept who resides in a hidden Rosicrucian colony high in the mountains. This Adept proceeds to expound for a hundred and fifty pages on the Rosicrucian way, including Alchemy, Elementals and the acquisition of psychic powers. There is a demonstration of the transmutation of silver into gold using a red powder. The narrator also meets some of other residents, including two mysterious women who have vivid memories of their past lives, and the doppelganger of the Adept, who sends the narrator on a hallucinogenic night journey to the Indian ocean where he consorts with water spirits.
On the whole, the book is a very straightforward read, unlike some of the other Rosicrucian tales; this is because the framing story is simply a fictional setting in which to examine the ideas, rather than a dense allegory. This book serves as a very compact introduction to this eternally fascinating subject of the 'invisible college'.