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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.

Critic Reviews

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    41
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    7

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    14
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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • DoktorK
  • Tucson, AZ United States
  • 07-12-08

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.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Susan
  • Madison, SD, USA
  • 07-07-09

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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • BL
  • 02-05-10

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

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Allison
  • Portland, OR, USA
  • 09-16-08

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Roger Zelazny meets Rex Stout

I have thoroughly enjoyed the Nero Wolfe mysteries as told by Archie Goodwin as well as everything written by Mr Zelazny. This book follows the pattern of the Wolfe mysteries with the added fun of some magic.

The book seemed to start out slowly, but in retrospect I now see how it cleverly immersed me into the story and had me fully hooked before I felt the hook in my mouth. I also enjoyed Victor’s well paced narrative performance.

One negative for me is the that, because I don’t speak Italian nor Latin, those parts of the book were lost on me. I do hope the text at least has footnotes to translate those phrases, sentences, and words.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Archie Goodwin in Venice

A decent mystery in the style of Nero Wolfe mysteries, set in early modern Venice

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Different

Not my usual style of read. I initially struggled with it but am glad I persevered. It was enjoyable and I recommend it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rob
  • 01-24-18

Like being there!

Where does The Alchemist's Apprentice rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Up near the top. A great story, well told, it captures what Venice might have been like in the past. Good characters with great research of the subject.

Who was your favorite character and why?

All the characters are well drawn but the Alchemist himself must win for me. He is so on top of things! The Apprentice is great too.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I enjoyed the whole book! However the final revelation of the ‘who done it’ is always good.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It is just so RIGHT, spot on. It is now like an old friend I visit regularly. Makes me smile...

Any additional comments?

Yes, I only wish there were more books in this series, 3 is not enough.