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The Alchemist’s Apprentice

By Jeremy Dronfield

Madagascar Rhodes was probably the most famous author in the world.

His magical, heart-warming novel, ‘The Alchemist’s Apprentice’ (about the adventures of a young Jewish girl in Malta during World War II) enchanted millions of readers. And yet, strangely, you’ve never heard of him. Or his amazing book. In fact, it’s as if Madagascar Rhodes never existed.

To unravel the tangled threads of reality and – what? Fantasy? Dreams? Plain old-fashioned fabrication? – you have to go back to the beginning. To a rather odd New Year’s Eve party in 1996. Or earlier, to a chance encounter with a ghostly girl in a sunny English garden. Or perhaps it all really began when an unsuccessful novelist called Roderick Bent embarked on a routine train journey from King’s Cross and found himself travelling into an inexplicable nightmare …

The Alchemist’s Apprentice is a tragi-comic novel about love, loyalty and the power of imagination, in which the line between the universe of fiction and the world of reality disappears.

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