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Publisher's Summary

A young man’s destined quest becomes a dance with the devil in a mesmerizing retelling of the Faust legend by the bestselling author of the Hangman’s Daughter series.

It’s the fifteenth century and only heretics are curious about the universe.

Germany, 1494. Born under a rare alignment of the stars, Johann Georg Gerlach, "the lucky one" to his mother - is fated for greatness. But Johann’s studies and wonder at the sky have made him suspect. Especially in wake of the child disappearances that have left the God-fearing locals trembling and his one true love trapped in terrified catatonia. Her only words: "I have seen the devil..."

Banished from Knittlingen as cursed, Johann crosses paths with Tonio del Moravia. The traveling fortune-teller and master of the arcane arts recognizes something extraordinary in the wanderer. Taking Johann under his wing, Tonio promises a new world of knowledge and sensations. But with it comes a sinister web of deception and a chilling prophecy.

The stars are set to align again. Now Johann must draw on the skills of his apprenticeship to solve the dark mystery that grips his village in fear and the deepening mystery of his own destiny.

©2018 Oliver Pötzsch and Ullstein Buchverlage GmbH (P)2020 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved. Translation © 2020 by Lisa Reinhardt

What listeners say about The Master's Apprentice

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Profile Image for Joseph Capell
  • Joseph Capell
  • 29-08-2020

well researched, well told retelling of a classic

This book is a well researched, well told retelling of a classic story by Marlow and Goethe which almost has the status of an archetypal myth.
Potzsch spins this narrative to make the reader or listener feel like he/she is in pre or early Reformation Germany (Martin Luther's 95 theses on the door in Wittenberg was 1517 as the official start) You can hear the dissatisfaction that eventually lead to fundamental changes in the complaints of the burgers and travlers in his story.
The story is told well. It weaves a number of interesting variations from the mainline story and makes a rich tapestry of backstories of the main figures. We feel Faust's conflicts starting with his early interactions with the devil and the major changes in his life.
The travel to many different towns and cities gives a vivid picture of late Mediaeval middle Europe, down to the names of the various gates, the market places and even the changing nature of the knightly class at that time.
The translation was well done. Reinhardt doesn't try to teach you German in her rendition.
The narrator, Hillgartner did a yeoman's job of many distinct character voices.
This is a good read/listen for readers who are interested in a good story, fascinated by this era and this location and the collector of classical myths with a universal theme (man's encounter and fascination with the devil).

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  • Belladoni
  • 11-06-2020

Satanic

I was intriqued with the initial story, where a gifted but abused teenage boy who lost the mother and brother who loved and protected him and was kicked out of his home and then, out of economic desperation became the apprentice of a travelling magician/astrologer, palmreading scholar. However, the author took it too far for my enjoyment when he introduced kidnapping and torturing children into the mix. He didn't go into a lot of gorey detail but for me it was still a creepy turn off and imo not necessary to the story. There's an unlying theme about a cult that wished to undermine the repressive stronghold the catholic church held on their society, torturing free-thinkers and anyone who seemed to oppose their beliefs. Unfortunately, their solution was another kind of curelty---seeking satanic power through fear and sadistic rituals. Ick! They could have gone for secular humanism, but they didn't think of that! I will say, there is redemption in the end. Not exactly HEA, but some redemption. There's quite a bit of suspence and the story was well-written and well-narrated, Creepy factor too high for my taste, but others may like it.

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  • Selu
  • 28-06-2021

Engrossing

Very good yarn, I especially enjoyed the historical sources and explanations afterwards. Three More Words

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  • MissCindy
  • 23-05-2021

Really dark...well written, but really dark...

I don’t know how Mr P was able to sleep while crafting this story. Loved all the Hangman’s Daughter stories but this one is very different. I don’t know if I can read any more in this series even though it is an engaging story. Read at your own risk. But thanks for one more finely written story, Mr P.

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  • Outside1
  • 30-03-2021

Trite, hackneyed, and just poor.

If I asked my grandma who is 87 years old to write a story for me, and if she could see well enough, hold her pencil tight enough, sit in a chair long enough, and remain lucid for occasional moments, I'm sure her story would be better than this one.

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  • IrishB17
  • 11-11-2020

Very engaging

This is a good book. I had a dilemma with it though. I couldn’t listen fast enough to hear all I wanted but couldn’t keep listening because I had to get some sleep! I have loved all I’ve read about Dr. Faust and I did enjoy this retelling as well. I would say it could have been somewhat shorter, but I can’t tell you anything I’d say to cut. Liked the historical info that added a lot of explanation to the why’s on some decisions narrator was excellent. I could always tell who was speaking. Characters were well defined and descriptions gave me vivid pictures to add to the story. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone interested in the Faust legends, but I would tell them to be disciplined about their reading times.

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  • Cmwnk
  • 12-07-2020

Excellent retell of German folklore

I enjoyed this story very much. Pötzsch is a wonderful story teller and does his research. I thought the narrator’s voice and style were excellent!

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  • Vicki Joseph
  • 30-06-2020

Masterful work!

Love this book, as I do all of the author's books! Great and powerful story!

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  • James Metz
  • 24-06-2020

Masterful storytelling

So many plot turns yet the character Faustus remains true as the North star. A story both heart rending and tenderly beautiful.

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  • Leslie
  • 09-06-2020

twists and turns wonderfully dark to light

I always enjoy this author's works and look for answers a pation for them to be released. This work did not disappoint me by any stretch of the imaginaton.

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  • Sarunas
  • 18-08-2020

couldn't stop thinking, what's next...

brilliant book. Love this author. as good as hangman's daughter all 7 books. highly recommended.

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  • Erika
  • 07-06-2021

Fantastic retelling of a great classic

I really loved this book. Oliver Pötzsch is one of my favourite contemporary writers and spins a great yarn. This book, although it is described as a retelling of the Faust Legend, retains the literary and linguistic style of Oliver Pötzsch. This is a translation from the original German language edition and whilst I have not yet read or listened to that original language version, the translator Lisa Reinhardt has done a great job in invoking the atmosphere and feel of the book. I trust that the translation is accurate and have no reason to doubt. Malcolm Hillgartner was a great choice for narrator and he paced his reading perfectly, not too fast or slow. Malcolm Hillgartner gave the right voice to each character and I found his own accent as narrator easy on the ear and relaxing. I will certainly now select the next book.

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  • Stevie G
  • 02-01-2021

Masterly re-telling

After reading all of Oliver Pötzsch's Hangman's Daughter books, I was bereft as I'd come to the end of the series to date. Pötzsch is such a brilliant story-teller I just wanted to read more of his work. I had seen the Master's Apprentice title but couldn't imagine it would live up to the Hangman books. I was amazed to see that it did and it is on par with it. The story is told masterfully and I was hanging on every twist and turn of this tale. I've pre-ordered the next book in the series and can't wait to listen to that!

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