The Alchemist's Apprentice
by Dave Duncan
Cover Artist: Jim Griffin
Review by Sam Lubell
Ace Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780441014798
Date: 06 March, 2007 List Price $14.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Article /
Once people thought that mystery stories could not be told in the fantasy genre. How could there be a mystery when a magic user could just look in a crystal ball and come up with the killer's identity? Then came Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy series (in the 1960s and 1970s) about a detective in an alternate world where magic worked. The trick to a fantasy mystery, Garrett had discovered, was to limit the magic and treat it like a forensic tool, much like all the science on the various CSI shows. That is what Dave Duncan does in The Alchemist's Apprentice, a fantasy-mystery set in Venice during the Renaissance. From official release/information:
Book Description: To the legendary clairvoyant Maestro Nostradamus, the future is forever in motion. But for young swordsman Alfeo Zeno, his apprentice and protector, the present is hard enough to contend with. His days are spent poring over astrology charts and making calculations, his nights learning arcane magic or transcribing Nostradamus's nebulous prophecies. Until one night, when the Council of Ten arrives to take the seer into custody.
It seems that a high-ranking friend of the prince died under mysterious circumstances after Nostradamus cast his horoscope, warning of danger-and rumors are swirling that the mystic poisoned the victim to enhance his own reputation. Alfeo is stunned when his master refuses to flee. Instead, Nostradamus charges Alfeo with the task of clearing his name. Now, Alfeo must unravel a web of magic and murder if he is to have any future of his own.
(Source: Ace Trade)