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Sands, Kevin.
New York : Aladdin, 2015
IL 5-8, RL 5.0

(3 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

“I found it. “Master Benedict said he wasn’t the least bit surprised. According to him, there were several times over the past three years when he was sure I’d finally discovered it. Yet it wasn’t until the day before my 14th birthday that it came to me so clearly, I thought God himself had whispered it in my ear. “My master believes occasions like this should be remembered. So, as he ordered, I’ve written down my formula. My master suggested the title. The Stupidest Idea in the Universe By Christopher Rowe, Apprentice to Master Benedict Blackthorn, Apothecary Method of manufacture: Snoop through your master’s private notes. Find a recipe, its words locked behind a secret code, and decipher it. Next, steal the needed ingredients from your master’s stores. Finally— and this is the most important step— go to your best friend, a boy of stout character and poor judgment equal to your own, and speak these words: Let’s build a canon.” Christopher Rowe rather enjoys his life as an Apothecary’s apprentice, uncovering the mysteries of different items and chemicals, and finding plenty of mischief along the way. But when a series of murders across the city strikes too close to home, Christopher is drawn into a world of cults and puzzles, and must use all his training to solve his master’s secrets… and possibly save the world. 
(Booktalk by Great Stone Face Award Committee, 2017)

Booktalk #2

Following a series of murders, an apothecary’s apprentice must solve puzzles and decipher codes in pursuit of a secret that could destroy the world in this suspenseful debut novel. “Tell no one what I’ve given you.” Until he got that cryptic warning, Christopher Rowe was happy, learning how to solve complex codes and puzzles and creating powerful medicines, potions, and weapons as an apprentice to Master Benedict Blackthorn—with maybe an explosion or two along the way. But when a mysterious cult begins to prey on London’s apothecaries, the trail of murders grows closer and closer to Blackthorn’s shop. With time running out, Christopher must use every skill he’s learned to discover the key to a terrible secret with the power to tear the world apart. (Vermont DCF Book Award 2017)

Booktalk #3

Christopher is an apprentice to a master apothecary in the 1600’s. When his master and several other apothecaries die mysteriously at the hands of a strange cult, Christopher uses all his skills to unravel a series of codes. Christopher and his best friend must use the answers to discover what is happening before the cult can take over. (Louisiana Young Readers, 2018)

SUBJECTS:   Apprentices -- Fiction.
                        Friendship -- Fiction.
                        Great Britain -- History -- Charles II, 1660-1685 -- Fiction.
                        Historical fiction.
                        London -- History -- 17th century -- Fiction.
                        Paranormal fiction.
                        Pharmacists -- Fiction.
                        Secret societies -- Fiction.

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