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The Alchemist's Apprentice | [Dave Duncan]

The Alchemist's Apprentice

When the Council of 10 takes the seer Nostradamus into custody, suspecting him of poisoning a friend of the prince, his young apprentice must unravel a web of magic and murder if he is to have any future of his own.
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Publisher's Summary

For the legendary Nostradamus, the future is a mystical vortex forever in motion. But for his young apprentice and protector, Alfeo Zeno, the present is spent poring over astrology charts, making calculations, learning arcane magic, and transcribing Nostradamus's nebulous prophecies.

Then the Council of 10 arrives to take the seer into custody. A friend of the prince has died after Nostradamus cast him an ominous horoscope. Some say the mystic poisoned the victim to enhance his own reputation.

Now Alfeo must clear his master's name. From the heights of power, passion, and deceit to the very darkest realms of the netherworld, Alfeo must unravel a web of magic and murder if he is to have any future of his own.

Listen to the second book, The Alchemist's Code.

©2007 Dave Duncan; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"The occult is a grace note in this cynical whodunit, juicy with period detail." (Entertainment Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (182 )
5 star
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3.9 (66 )
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4.2 (67 )
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Performance
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  •  
    M Kruse Tucson, AZ United States 07-12-08
    M Kruse Tucson, AZ United States 07-12-08 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
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    815
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    "Excellent Book."

    I have always loved the writings of Dave Duncan. His characters are rich with personality and life, and his stories are always captivating. He has done it again with "The Alchemist's Apprentice." This time he has wove his characters into an engaging mystery rivaled only by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Pennsylvania 03-03-09
    Amazon Customer Pennsylvania 03-03-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    40
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    224
    7
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    2
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    Overall
    "Nero Wolfe in a previous life"

    Clever, fun little tale, with parallels to Nero Wolfe (Rex Stout) throughout. If you like Archie and Nero, you'll also very much enjoy this clever mystery in a historical setting. I'm looking forward to the next one, now that I'm more at home in ancient Venice.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cyndie Lincoln, CA, United States 07-26-10
    Cyndie Lincoln, CA, United States 07-26-10 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    50
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    177
    26
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    1
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    Overall
    "Pleasantly suprised"

    I've found this entire series very enjoyable. The narrator does an excellent job and really makes the series come to life.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Madison, SD, USA 07-07-09
    Susan Madison, SD, USA 07-07-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
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    0
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    Overall
    "Just Couldn't Finish"

    The book may be great and really well written, however, the narration was so monotonous I simply could not focus on the story. I could almost hear the narrator turn the page to finish a sentence.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Coral Mississauga, ON, Canada 07-26-13
    Coral Mississauga, ON, Canada 07-26-13 Member Since 2004

    I hold a BA in History from York University of Toronto; a 3yr Diploma in Computer Networking from Sheridan College in Oakville Ontario. I have been "reading" audio books sinces the late 80s and a member of Audible back to 2004. What a really like is a good long story preferable over 30 hours. :)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Vince with a Dash of Magic"

    I keep finding myself going back to these books when I what cheer story. They are well written with good and likable characters. There is an air of the romance that the 19th century placed on the medieval age. A smoothing of the horrors of the time into dashing and exciting. There is really very little magic - more the style of a murder mystery. If your too broke to visit Italy close your eyes and enjoy Venice without the smell or damp.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BL 02-05-10
    BL 02-05-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    1
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    "Great read"

    I love this series, the look into the past and what it may have been like. Victor Bevine does a great narration.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allison Portland, OR, USA 09-16-08
    Allison Portland, OR, USA 09-16-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
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    398
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    "A Poorly-written Tale"

    Duncan was going for witty and clever, but sadly his main character fell remarkably flat. He came out cliche and annoying, like the author was trying to hard. And the mystery wasn't set up as well as it could have been; the truth of the crime that is brought to life is disappointing, and in some respects, never fully explained.

    The narrator was disappointing as well. While his reading is clear and crisp, it leaves the listner feeling cold and unmoved. He sounds too much like he's READING from a script, not telling a story. His words are so carefully ennuciated, the emotion is leached out of it. It makes it very hard to become immersed in the tale. Maybe I expect too much, but after listening to Davina Porter, it's hard to accept anything less.

    I did not enjoy this book, but found myself listening only because I wanted to know, ultimately, who had committed the crime. As a result, I never felt fascinated or thrilled by the mystery, but rather disgruntled and feeling as though I had been hijacked and dragged through the story unwillingly.

    9 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frances Rotorua, New Zealand 12-01-12
    Frances Rotorua, New Zealand 12-01-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very disappointing"
    What would have made The Alchemist's Apprentice better?

    The Narrator was boring and so was the story; I didn't even listen to the end. The only positive thing I can say is it put me to sleep.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Dave Duncan again?

    No!


    What didn’t you like about Victor Bevine’s performance?

    His voice rarely changed. It was like listening to a robot reading.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment, plus I felt cheated and angry with myself for wasting my money.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Trefan Calgary, Canada 01-20-12
    T. Trefan Calgary, Canada 01-20-12 Member Since 2008

    Compulsively Reading

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Way too convoluted"

    I'm a huge fan of Dave Duncan, but this book is way beyond convoluted. For most of the story the reader is left in the dark and then in the final 1.5 hrs the mystery is solved by a long long long long long lecture given by the Master Nostradamus. After 45 mins I was so lost that I just gave up and listened to the book just to finish it.

    I much prefer Dave's fantasy novels to this mystery novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Genoa, IL, United States 04-05-11
    Jeff Genoa, IL, United States 04-05-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    9
    6
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    0
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    Overall
    "Not one of Duncan's best"

    I am hit or miss on Dave Duncan's works and found myself bored with this book. Far too much about the time period and locale versus plot and characters. I am not going on with this series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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