cover image The Alchemaster's Apprentice

The Alchemaster's Apprentice

Walter Moers, , trans. from the German by John Brownjohn. . Overlook, $25.95 (372pp) ISBN 978-1-59020-218-0

Moers's elegantly written fourth stand-alone comic fantasy set in Zamonia (after 2008's The City of Dreaming Books ) takes us to the city of Malaisea, where everyone is sick except for two characters: Echo, a Crat (a talking cat, more or less), and Ghoolion, an evil alchemist likely responsible for Malaisea's afflictions. Crat and alchemist cross paths when the starving Echo is offered a month of food, entertainment and alchemical secrets, after which Ghoolion will kill him to boil down his fat. Ghoolion proves a magically masterful chef, and Echo quickly becomes fascinated by Ghoolion's work, particularly the morphic meals that seem to transform Echo into different creatures. Secrets are revealed, old bodies unearthed and strange allies made in this entrancing tale of darkness, determined survival and incredibly luxurious cuisine. (Sept.)