Review Blog

Aug 22 2013

The apprentices by Maile Meloy

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The apprentices by Maile Meloy
Text, 2013. ISBN 9781922147141.
Recommended. The apprentices like all good sequels begins virtually where The Apothecary left off.
Janie Scott is back at school in America regaining her memories of Benjamin Burrows and experimenting on a way to convert salt sea water into water. Her roommate's father, an evil industrialist tries to get Janie to work for him and when that fails; he plots to disgrace and kidnap her.
Benjamin meanwhile is in French Indochina trying to assist the poor, the sick and the injured. He becomes aware that Janie is in danger and contrives to get to America. Janie is captured by the megalomaniac tycoon Magnusson and taken to an Island of Malaya, while Benjamin is captured by cargo cultist on a Pacific Island.
All the action contrives to keep the two young friends apart, and they rely on the Apothecary, Pip and Jin Lo using all their resources to rescue Janie and prevent nuclear disaster.
The path of true love is never smooth and on his journey Benjamin is aware that he has a rival in America who cares for Janie as much as he does. Janie too, is considering her feelings and wondering if she and Benjamin have a future.
Maile Meloy has created a cast of wonderful characters and matinee villains, and a story with a twist of magic and an interesting Cold War setting. It is easy to see her continue to write them within a variety of exotic settings with a Cold War background. As her characters and readership grow older we can move from the Eisenhower period to the glamorous Kennedy Presidency.
There is a lot to like about this book and it works on many levels. Plot and character drive this novel and it should have wide and cross genre appeal.
Michael Jongen

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