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The Alchemist's Code (The Alchemist #2)

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  376 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
The legendary Maestro Nostradamus may be able to glimpse the ever-changing future, but even he cannot see the danger that is about to envelop him and his daring apprentice Alfeo when Nostradamus is hired to find a foreign spy by Venice's ruling Council of Ten. The only clues they can offer him are the spy's intercepted messages, encoded in a seemingly unbreakable cipher. ...more
Paperback, 308 pages
Published March 4th 2008 by Ace (The Berkley Publishing Group)
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M.D.
May 14, 2008 M.D. rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
This is the second of Dave Duncan's Nostradamus books, and a totally enjoyable read. Although the pivotal character is Nostradamus, the main protagonist is his apprentice, Alfeo Zeno, who carries out his master's investigations and gets in trouble in the process. The setting, Venice in the fifteenth century, rife with political machinations and the constant threat of the Inquisition adds to the charm of the story.

In this book, Alfeo must help uncover a spy who uses a complex encryption model to
...more
Tim Hicks
Dec 08, 2016 Tim Hicks rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, historical
A good sequel and a good read. This one continues the story but brings different aspects into play so it isn't just another go-round on the same wheel.

For one thing, Alfeo actually uses some magic, which of course gets him in trouble; but then, everything he does gets him in trouble.

It's becoming clearer after two books that this book is as much about political manouevring as it is about magic or sleuthing.

In my review of #1, I mentioned the parallels with Nero Wolfe. This time, there's even
...more
Holly
Feb 06, 2009 Holly rated it it was amazing
"The Alchemist's Code" is the fantastic sequel to "The Alchemist's Apprentice." Alfeo Zeno, apprentice to the philosopher and astrologer Nostradamus, is about to become entangled in another mystery. It begins when he runs into an old acquaintance at the theater. It continues when Nostradamus is hired to find the missing daughter of a wealthy noble family (for an outrageous fee), and gets complicated when it turns out that that missing daughter ran off with Alfeo's childhood acquaintance, Danese ...more
Andrew Gronosky
Aug 11, 2013 Andrew Gronosky rated it liked it
The second novel in Duncan's Alchemist trilogy of historical fantasy, The Alchemist's Code is equally well-crafted, and slightly more satisfying, than the first installment.

The intrigue and pageantry of Renaissance Venice are captivating. The window it opens into that world is enough to make the novel worth reading. The plot is a little more sophisticated than that of The Alchemist's Apprentice. This time, the authentic-seeming magic that Duncan so thoroughly researched and artfully portrays act
...more
Kristen
Aug 04, 2012 Kristen rated it liked it
This was an entertaining look at Venice and it's intricate and dangerous political wrangling during the time of the doges.

Alfeo Zeno is apprentice to Nostradamus, now a crotchety octegenarian who does what he likes and damn the consequences. Unfortunately, when a murder takes place with the corpse being left in the doorway of the home where Nostradamus and Alfeo live, questions are asked, and many powerful people - including the leader of the Inquisition, who already suspects Nostradamus of dark
...more
Sean Randall
Oct 18, 2014 Sean Randall rated it really liked it
It was spring half a decade ago when, of the Alchemists Apprentice, I wrote: "whilst an enjoyable enough read, there was nevertheless a feeling of something missing and I'm probably going to put the continuing parts of the series deep in my haystack, which I may or may not get through one day."
That day has come, and I picked up Alchemists code yesterday evening.

Whilst I still believe almost every other work of Duncan's is better in many ways, I cannot but help enjoy the style and observational
...more
D.w.
May 16, 2014 D.w. rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
This is the second tale in the saga of Sier Alfeo Zeno, the apprentice to Nostradamus. And a worthy telling it is.

Duncan provides a lead in where the answers are buried to the riddle that we are soon presented with. And then he weaves in the historical background of the complex government of the Venice.

It is fascinating stuff and dealt with masterly, though into this fantasy and the paranormal come into play in such a way that we wonder is it necessary at all, or is the sleuthing enough to stan
...more
Morgan
Jul 02, 2013 Morgan rated it really liked it
This was a great read, much better than the first one. I picked it up hoping for more of what I liked and less of what I didn't, and the book did not disappoint.

The writing style is brilliant. There is some mystery and a murder, but I wouldn't call it a whodunnit. There is a little more action, more magic, and a lot more Vasco. I don't think we are ever given a concrete reason why Alfeo and Vasco hate each other, but it does make their interactions so much fun to watch.

My only complaint is the u
...more
Bob Sharp
Feb 22, 2016 Bob Sharp rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
I had not read any of Dave Duncan's work before, but I thoroughly enjoyed these three books. It's obvious he has spent a large amount of time familiarizing himself with the time period these books are set in and I really like his style of writing.

I enjoyed that these weren't the standard fantasy tropes, this was more Sherlock Holmes than Lord of the Rings. It all meshed very well together I thought and I look forward to reading more of Duncan's work.
Katie
Jun 21, 2015 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I'm definitely enjoying this series. Thankfully, I see there's a third.

Once again Nostradamus & his apprentice, Alfeo, must solve a murder. This time, it's intertwined with treason, and their progress is hampered by demonic forces. Will they be forced to use some black magic of their own & put themselves at risk of being burned for witchcraft? Ohhhh...wouldn't you just love to know.

I'm going to be looking into Duncan's other works.
Cindy
Aug 21, 2013 Cindy rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
I love stories set in Venice since then I can imagine that I'm in Venice. This is a good sequel to The Alchemist's Apprentice. I love Nostradamus and Alfeo and Violetta so was glad to read more of their adventures!!
Cal
Mar 04, 2016 Cal rated it really liked it
Much better than the first book in the trilogy. The interaction between Alfeo and Vasco is well done. The author presents a very interesting look at the political structure and different classes between nobles and others. This series is very "small" in scope compared to Pandemia.
Mf
Dec 03, 2009 Mf rated it really liked it
Not as good as Alchemist's Apprentice. It's more about the mystery, with less about the people (or at least, having met the same characters in one book, they're not really growing in this one).
Willowwind
Oct 01, 2009 Willowwind rated it really liked it
I actually read this one first. More tongue in cheek magic with the intricatices of La Serenissima politics as well
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