The Alchemist's Apprentice (Venice Trilogy Series #1)

The Alchemist's Apprentice (Venice Trilogy Series #1)

3.7 8
by Dave Duncan
     
 

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For Nostradamus, the future is forever in motion. But for his young apprentice, Alfeo Zeno, the present is a bore-until a friend of the prince dies after Nostradamus casts him an ominous horoscope.

Some say the mystic poisoned the victim to enhance his own reputation-and Nostradamus charges Alfeo with clearing his name. Now Alfeo must unravel a web of magic…  See more details below

Overview

For Nostradamus, the future is forever in motion. But for his young apprentice, Alfeo Zeno, the present is a bore-until a friend of the prince dies after Nostradamus casts him an ominous horoscope.

Some say the mystic poisoned the victim to enhance his own reputation-and Nostradamus charges Alfeo with clearing his name. Now Alfeo must unravel a web of magic and murder if he is to have a future of his own.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Blending elements of historical fiction, alternate reality, and amateur-sleuth mystery, Dave Duncan's latest fantasy revolves around an obscure historical figure, Filippo Nostradamus -- the alleged nephew of legendary prognosticator Michel de Nostredame (The Prophecies, The Almanacs, et al.). In the decadent Renaissance-era city of Venice, the ornery old Nostradamus is implicated in a murder after an elderly procurator is poisoned during a private party Nostradamus attended. As he recently predicted the victim's demise, rumors abound about Nostradamus' involvement -- perhaps the renowned alchemist and clairvoyant killed the nobleman to heighten his own reputation. With the help of his trusted apprentice Alfeo Zeno, Nostradamus must somehow prove his innocence before the all-powerful Council of Ten bring him in for questioning -- an inquisition that will undoubtedly include torture and certain death…

Fans of Duncan's previous fantasy works (The Jaguar Knights, Impossible Odds, et al.) should thoroughly enjoy this historical whodunit, the first installment of a projected series featuring Nostradamus and Zeno. Although categorized as a fantasy, The Alchemist's Apprentice is more properly a conventional historical mystery with minor fantastical elements. Nostradamus and Zeno are reminiscent of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson -- except that the Venetian duo utilize prophecies, astrological horoscopes, Tarot card readings, and the occasional demon summoning, as well as Holmesian deduction, to solve complicated cases. Paul Goat Allen

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101208700
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/26/2008
Series:
Venice Trilogy Series , #1
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
682,464
File size:
313 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Dave Duncan has lived all his adult life in Western Canada, having enjoyed a long career as a petroleum geologist before taking up writing. Since discovering that imaginary worlds are more satisfying than the real one, he has published more than 30 novels.

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Alchemist's Apprentice (Venice Trilogy Series #1) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You'll like this one if you are into 'who done it' with a few twists and turns. I thought it a fun read. You also get a tour of Venice way back when and probably hasn't changed all that much from today...This book is worth the time you spend reading it.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Venice while the torrential down pours rivals that of Noah¿s, clairvoyant alchemist and astrologer Maestro Nostradamus sends his noble apprentice Alfeo Zeno out in the rain to pick up immediately needed items. By the time the soaked to the bone marrow Alfeo returns to Ca¿ Barbolano he finds darkness awaits him. He knows that means Nostradamus must have foretold something, which he finds in the poor scribble of the clairvoyant. Alfeo scribes the rarely quite lucid quatrain. Nostradamus has predicted the poisonous homicide of Procurator Bertucci Orseolo, who dies at a dinner party. Republic official Raffaino Sciara, Chief Secretary to the Council of Ten, insists that in order for his prophesy to come true, Nostradamus killed the Procurator. Alfeo thinks the officious model for the Grim Reaper, Sciara, is using the seer to further his ambition. Refusing to flee the city, Nostradamus assigns his apprentice to uncover the truth. Alfeo, accompanied by his courtesan Violetta, investigates the murder of Orseolo. --- THE ALCHEMIST¿S APPRENTICE is a fun lighthearted historical occult mystery that brings to life the latter half of sixteenth century Venice through mostly the pseudo scientist practitioners and the political leaders of the era. Interestingly in spite of Nostradamus¿ presence, Alfeo is the ascending star as the whodunit supersedes the fantasy and social-governmental elements. Fans will enjoy Dave Duncan¿s fine amateur sleuth fantasy tale. --- Harriet Klausner
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