The Alchemist's Apprentice

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Red Fox, 2003 - Alchemy - 198 pages
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The Alchemist's Apprentice tells the rags-to-riches story of Jack, the blacksmith's boy. Jack's quest leads him on a quixotic set of travels which have a rollicking 'Tom Jones' feel to them. Eventually after both hardship and luxury, Jack finds himself with the enigmatic alchemist, Barnstable, dabbling in alchemy until finally he holds in his hand the precious and long awaited nugget but by that time, of course, it is too late. For the marvels of life cannot be bought.

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About the author (2003)

Kate Thompson is one of the most exciting authors writing for young people today. A born storyteller, her work is highly original and she is thought provoking in her ideas. She has travelled widely in the USA and India and studied law in London. After living in County Clare, she moved to Kinvara in County Galway and there, she discovered her passion for playing the fiddle. She is now an accomplished player and also has a great interest in restoring instruments.

Kate is the only author to win the Children's Books Ireland Bisto Book of the Year award four times - in 2002 for The Beguilers, in 2003 for The Alchemist's Apprentice, in 2004 for Annan Water and in 2006 for The New Policeman.

The New Policeman also won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2005, the Whitbread Book Award Children's category 2005, the Children's Book of the Year in the Irish Book Awards in March 2006 and has been longlisted for the Carnegie Medal.

In 2008 Kate was again shortlisted for the Children's Books Ireland Bisto Award for her book, The Last of the High Kings, a beautiful and haunting story that delves deep into the magic of Irish myth and folklore.

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