Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Kiwi Reviews The Apothecary

A great review of Maile Meloy’s The Apothecary - all the way from New Zealand:
This is a stunning new book about magic aimed at Intermediate junior secondary students with reading ages 12-15 years.

Set in the era of the early Cold War in the year 1952 when McCarthyism was starting to take root in America and nuclear testing was starting with first the Americans then the Soviets and later the British. Spying was rife.

Into the story comes an American girl Janie whose parents are script writers for a new British series on Robin Hood. She goes to a private English school and comes in contact with Ben, the son of an apothecary or pharmacist in modern lingo. The father has a powerful book called the Pharmacopoeia which contains magic potions that can transform humans into birds, make people tell the truth and even vanish.

Soviet spies want the Pharmacopoeia and Janie and Ben are caught in a spy action story that ends up at the Soviet testing site of Nova Zemblya. To tell you any more would ruin it, but just imagine if it was possible to negate the effects of radiation with a potion made from plants.

I loved this novel as it was so original. I would describe it as an historical Science fiction adventure fantasy. Is that possible? Read it and find out.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Apothecary Discussion Guide

This bit of ephemera featuring my jacket painting for The Apothecary recently found its way to me. Its a “Discussion Guide” for the book which includes some details about the book and 19 “Discussion and Comprehension Questions” as well as list of “Extensive Activities” and tips on “How to Start Your Own Book Club”. Now, if I could just figure out how to get more of these flyers...