Slightly overbalanced by dense, lush descriptions, Duncan's elaborate sequel to 2007's The Alchemist's Apprenticefinds footing in intricate plots and conspiracies. Able swordsman Alfeo Zeno, a brash young noble serving as Nostradamus's apprentice, provides a firsthand account of murder and romance in an alternate 16th-century Venice. This time the mystery centers around coded messages from an enemy agent, with Nostradamus and Zeno aiming first to crack the code and then to find the spy through a combination of magic and Holmesian investigation and deduction. Zeno's chatty narration breathes life into the city as he describes its political and social structure. The level of detail occasionally stifles the flow of Duncan's prose, an effect offset by the energy of the twisting plot. The only snag is the somewhat superfluous element of the fantastic, which adds little to this tale of interpersonal intrigue. (Mar.)Copyright 2007Reed Business Information
The Alchemist's Code (Venice Trilogy Series #2)by Dave Duncan
On the trail of a foreign spy, Maestro Nostradamus and his apprentice, the swordsman Alfeo Zeno, are up against occult forces that could mean the end of both master and apprentice.See more details below
On the trail of a foreign spy, Maestro Nostradamus and his apprentice, the swordsman Alfeo Zeno, are up against occult forces that could mean the end of both master and apprentice.
The prophet and clairvoyant Nostradamus occasionally accepts commissions to use his psychic talents to find runaway daughters and other tragedies of the nobles. When Venice's Council of Ten hires him to find a spy, however, he must call upon the skills of Alfeo Zeno, his noble-born apprentice and master swordsman, little knowing that he is sending Zeno to almost certain death. This sequel to The Alchemist's Apprentice continues Duncan's fantasy "biography" of the legendary prophet, focusing as well on his young apprentice, who represents the liveliness and richness of the Italian Renaissance. This should appeal to fans of historical fantasy and belongs in most libraries.
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