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.
"The occult is a grace note in this cynical whodunit, juicy with period detail." (Entertainment Weekly)
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.
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.
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.
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. :)
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.
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.
highly recommended if you like adventure and excitement. You get an authentic feel for Venice at the time, and if there ever were a Nostradamus then probably he was a lot like this Nostradamus.
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