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The Alchemaster's Apprentice [Paperback]

Walter Moers , John Brownjohn
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
Price: 12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 Oct 2010

Malaisea, the unhealthiest town in the whole of Zamonia, is home to Echo the Crat, a multi-talented creature resembling a cat in appearance but capable of speaking any language under the sun, human or animal. When his mistress dies, Echo finds himself out on the street. Dying of starvation, he is compelled to sign a contract with Ghoolion the Alchemaster, Malaisea's evil alchemist-in-chief.

This fateful document gives Ghoolion the right to kill Echo at the next full moon and render him down for his fat, with which he hopes to brew an alchemical concoction that will make him immortal. In return, he promises to regale the little Crat with the most exquisite gastronomic delicacies until his time is up. But Ghoolion has reckoned without Echo's talent for survival and his ability to make new friends. These include the Leathermice, the Cogitating Eggs, the Golden Squirrel, the Cooked Ghost, Theodore T. Theodore the one-eyed Tuwituwu, and, above all, Izanuela Anazazi, the last Uggly in Malaisea.

Walter Moers's magnificent translation of Optimus Yarnspinner's novel introduces us to yet another of Zamonia's hotbeds of adventure: Malaisea, a place where sick is healthy, up is down, right is wrong, and Ghoolion the Alchemaster reigns supreme - until Echo crosses his path.

Frequently Bought Together

The Alchemaster's Apprentice + The City Of Dreaming Books (Zamonia 3) + Rumo (Zamonia 2)
Price For All Three: 33.87

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (7 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099526328
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099526322
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 15.4 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 104,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"This follows the pattern familiar to Moers fans of old... There are short stories galore hidden here... for me they're top notch" (

"Another fascinating fantasy... Moers has created an absolutely charming world populated by lovable characters, and the well-paced stories he tells about it are informed by fairy-tale morality" (Booklist)

"Elegantly written...Secrets are revealed, old bodies unearthed and strange allies made in this entrancing tale of darkness, determined survival and incredibly luxurious cuisine" (Publisher's Weekly)

"Moers' creative mind is like J.K. Rowling's on ecstasy" (Detroit News)

Book Description

The latest fantastical tale from the author of the international bestseller The 13.5 Lives of Captain Bluebear.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Up is down and ugly is beautiful. 27 Nov 2009
Not including the yet untranslated 'Ensel und Krete', The Alchemaster's Apprentice is the fourth novel set in Moers' wonderful world of Zamonia. Fans of the series will already have a good idea what to expect, but both long time fans and new readers may be surprised with this latest adventure.

I'm sure you've read the synopsis here on Amazon, and so have an idea of the plot. What makes The Alchemaster's Apprentice stand out against the other books in the series, is that this adventure is entirely localized. Where Bluebear ventured across the whole of Zamonia, Rumo fought his way into hell - literally, and Optimus Yarnspinner got lost in the labyrinth beneath the city of Bookholm, Echo - the protagonist in this story - remains largely in one location for the whole of the novel.

That's not to say that each page isn't filled with wonderful environments, dungeons, secrets and everything Zamonia fans have come to expect from Moers' unique creative mind, but what really drives this story forward is the characters. In particular, it's the relationship between Echo and Ghoolion the Alchemaster. What made this novel feel a bit more sophisticated than Moers' other work is the evolving relationship between an inquisitive Crat and an inhuman tyrant. Through Echo we see Ghoolion begin as a lonely, sadistic dictator, but through gaining a single friend, his 'human' side begins, very gradually, to shine.

But how can you be friends with someone who you've agreed to let murder you at the next full moon? And inversely, having made a single, close friend, can you really go through with your plan to kill them after only one short month?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not his best 16 Oct 2009
Of course for someone like Walter Moers, saying that this book is not his best is a tad unfair; its still far better than anything Joanne Rowling could churn out and hence the four star rating. Nevertheless this book pales alongside his other Zamonia books, and has the feel of a footnote as opposed to an entire book; Whilst Captain BlueBear, Rumo and the City of Dreaming Books wholly engross the reader and suceed in creating an entirely new world, this seems to rest on the laurels of those former creations. Entertaining and certainly page turning, but for anyone yet to discover the oeuvre of Moers this is definitely one to leave toward the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Having read all Walter Moers previous books I waited with much anticipation for this new adventure.
As a stand-alone book, and for those new to Moers, this is an enjoyable yarn that creates a fantastic image of a fantastical land. Where Moers previous efforts have succeeded though is in taking the reader on a journey across many, many different cities and landscapes to meet multitudes of colourful and interesting characters. The Alchemasters Apprentice is hampered by it's inability to escape the confines of Maleasia. Also, I felt that there were opportunites to present a far more satisfying ending (in keeping with the theme of the book) rather than the safe but 'seasoning free' finale.
However, this book only suffers in comparison to Moers other work and is still a page turning, thouroughly enjoyable, individual piece.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Alchemaster's Apprentice 15 Oct 2013
The Alchemaster's Apprentice is chronologically the fifth of Walter Moers' [or should that be Optimus Yarnspinner's?] fantastical Zamonia novels although it is only the fourth to be translated into English [there still being no publication date for an English version of Ensel und Krete].

Malaisea, the least healthy place in Zamonia, is a city dominated by the Alchemaster Ghoolion, a sort of wizard-of-all-trades whose main passions in life are alchemy, taxidermy, controlling the Ugglies [Malaisea's home-grown variety of witches], spreading intriguing diseases among the unfortunate inhabitants of the city [intestinal acne anyone?] and committing to canvas any natural disasters that particularly appeal to him. Into Ghoolion's favourably miserable life comes Echo the Crat, a multi-lingual, dual-livered creature best resembling a cat. Following the death of his mysteriously relevant mistress, Echo had been begging and starving on the diseased streets of the city.

Echo strikes a deal with Ghoolion; rather than lingering for a few more days before painfully expiring of starvation, Echo agrees to be fed royally for a month on the condition that, when that period expires, he will allow Ghoolion to sacrifice him and use his fat for some nefarious alchemistic purpose. However, while Echo enjoys a good feed as much as the next Crat, he has no desire to become a magical ingredient and so enlists the help of his friends [the Leathermice, the Cogitating Eggs, the Golden Squirrel, the Cooked Ghost and Izanuela Anazazi, the last free Uggly in Malaisea] to aid him in escaping from his terminal obligations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars For me the best book of this author 7 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the first book that I read of Moers and I loved it. The fantastic recipes are the part that I really enjoyed more. I really advise to read it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Birthday present
Just what my daughter wanted to add to her collection of Walter Moer - cant wait for the next one to be published.
Published 23 months ago by Ms. Dj Tokat
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
What an amazing book,would recommend it to anyone who fancies a completely different reading experience,what an imagination this guy has,BRILLIANT
Published on 22 Mar 2012 by scally
5.0 out of 5 stars Another perfected fantasy from Moers
Moers' localised fantasy detailing the life of Echo the Crat in Malaisea, a diseased town, and his ordeals with the dreadful Alchemaster Succubius Ghoolion. Read more
Published on 6 Sep 2011 by Genius 95
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too
Echo is a unique creature; on the surface, he seems to be a talking cat. But, there's more to him than just the ability to talk. Read more
Published on 16 Feb 2011 by TeensReadToo
5.0 out of 5 stars The Alchemasters Apprentice
Another fantastic story from Walter Moers. Any one who has enjoyed his previous books will love this and if you haven't read any of his previous book it's as good a place to start... Read more
Published on 27 Nov 2010 by Aitch
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too
Echo is a unique creature; on the surface, he seems to be a talking cat. But, there's more to him than just the ability to talk. Read more
Published on 1 July 2010 by TeensReadToo
5.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliant book
Another brilliant book (and amazing translation) that adds to the others with another wide, weird and thoroughly enjoyable array of characters and creatures. Read more
Published on 27 May 2010 by M. P. Royal
5.0 out of 5 stars Both Hero and plot are trapped in one place but Moer's imagination...
What an amazing read! I've read all of Moer's Zamonia set novels and I've nearly finished this one but I've got to say, some of the reviewers on this page are missing the point a... Read more
Published on 23 Feb 2010 by J. Payne
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not brilliant
I think this book suffers in comparison to Walter Moer's other books. If you haven't read those, read the 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear, Rumo and the City of Dreaming Books... Read more
Published on 7 Jan 2010 by Ms. N. Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, warped, and unique as ever
You have to love or hate this type of book - word play, text play, and surreal characters abound. Good clean fun for all ages.
Published on 3 Nov 2009 by Kristin
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