Authors: Maile Meloy
G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS
An imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group.
Published by The Penguin Group.
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.).
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England.
Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd).
Penguin Group (Australia), 707 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3008, Australia
(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd).
Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India.
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand
(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd).
Penguin Books South Africa, Rosebank Office Park, 181 Jan Smuts Avenue,
Parktown North 2193, South Africa.
Penguin China, B7 Jiaming Center, 27 East Third Ring Road North,
Chaoyang District, Beijing 100020, China.
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England.
Copyright © 2013 by Maile Meloy. Illustrations © 2013 by Ian Schoenherr.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission in writing from the publisher, G. P. Putnam’s Sons,
an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, 345 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014.
G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Reg. U.S. Pat & Tm. Off. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy
of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility
for author or third-party websites or their content.
Published simultaneously in Canada.
Design by Ryan Thomann.
The art was done in ink and acrylic paint on Strathmore Aquarius II paper.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Meloy, Maile. The apprentices / Maile Meloy; [illustrated by Ian Schoenherr].
Summary: “Two years after parting, Benjamin and Janie reunite via
magical communication to prevent a global catastrophe”—Provided by publisher.
[1. Alchemy—Fiction. 2. Magic—Fiction. 3. Adventure and adventurers—Fiction. 4. Voyages and travels—Fiction. 5. Southeast Asia—History—1945—Fiction.] I. Schoenherr, Ian, illustrator. II. Title.
PZ7.M516354App 2013 [Fic]—dc23 2012048715
For Gwendolyn, Scarlett, and Sawyer
1. the action or state of being moved apart
2. the process of sorting and then extracting a specified substance for use or rejection
he space between the stone library of Grayson Academy and the red brick science building created a ferocious wind tunnel, in any decent wind. Janie Scott ducked her head and leaned forward into the blast, on her way to dinner with her roommate’s parents in the town of Grayson, across the street from the school. It was November of 1954, and a cold autumn in New Hampshire. Janie wore a warm wool peacoat, but the wind cut through her clothes. It made its way under and over the wraps of her scarf. It found the vulnerable gap between the peacoat’s sleeve and her glove, where her wrist lay bare.
She had found the coat in her closet in London, when she was still at St. Beden’s School, and it had a strange combination of smells: seawater, smoked meat, and something sweet that Janie couldn’t identify. A girl from school named Sarah Pennington had said the coat belonged to her. But then she had taken one sniff, raised her eyebrows, and said that Janie could keep it.
Sarah Pennington also said that Janie and a boy named
Benjamin Burrows had borrowed a necklace from her, with a little gold heart pendant. Sarah said they had melted the necklace down, and were supposed to bring it back whole, as some kind of science experiment. Janie had no memory of borrowing anything from Sarah, but it seemed doubtful that she could bring a melted necklace back. Three weeks of her life had been erased from her mind, and she had lost so many important facts and experiences that she wouldn’t have listed the coat or the necklace among the ones that mattered.
But Benjamin Burrows—that name had nagged at her. Sarah Pennington said he had sandy-colored hair, and was stubborn and defiant. Janie had concentrated, feeling the memory like something deep underwater, so deep it was lost in darkness. Before she went to sleep each night, she willed the memory to come up to the surface. After months of struggle, she thought she knew the shape of Benjamin and the sound of his voice. She couldn’t remember exact conversations, but she had a sense of him. Fragments started to come back, things he had said. She began to remember a flight over water. A plunge into bitter cold. The fear that Benjamin was dead.
Then a parcel arrived at her parents’ London flat, wrapped in brown paper: a diary in Janie’s own handwriting, with a note from Benjamin saying that he thought it was safe for her to read it now. The diary entries explained what she had lost, and some of her memories came back flooding and whole. Some came in scraps and wisps that vanished when she tried to focus on them.
Now she was sixteen, and had recovered most of her memories—or thought she had. It was hard to know.
She had been on a journey by boat to Nova Zembla, an island off the northwestern coast of Russia, with Benjamin Burrows and his father. Benjamin’s father wasn’t an ordinary apothecary who sold medicine. He was trying to make the world safe from nuclear war. He had a book called the Pharmacopoeia with hundreds of years of secrets in it: alchemical secrets, elixirs made from plants, and ways of altering matter and transforming the human body.
Using the Pharmacopoeia, Janie and Benjamin and their friend Pip had become invisible—
invisible—as they tried to rescue the apothecary from his enemies. They had become birds: Benjamin a skylark, Pip a swallow, and Janie an American robin. They had found the apothecary’s colleagues: a beautiful Chinese chemist named Jin Lo and an exiled Hungarian count named Vilmos Hadik de Galántha. Together, they had stopped a Soviet nuclear test that would have killed or sickened the people who lived in Nova Zembla, and the reindeer and fish that kept them alive.
Janie’s trusted Latin teacher, Mr. Danby, had turned out to be a Soviet spy. He had taken Janie prisoner in Nova Zembla, with the help of an East German agent they knew only as the Scar. Benjamin had become a bird again to try to rescue her. But it was dangerous, too soon for his body to repeat the transformation, and he couldn’t keep his shape. She had watched him plunge sickeningly from the sky into the Barents Sea. A
man in a kayak rescued them both from the freezing water and took them back to Benjamin’s father.
In the meantime, not surprisingly, Janie had fallen in love with Benjamin.
But then something happened that she couldn’t quite forgive: Benjamin and his father had erased her memory with a glass of drugged champagne. The apothecary said that Janie was only fourteen and had to stay with her parents, in school. So, fine: Benjamin and his father got to be mysterious, magical peacekeepers, while Janie had to memorize French verbs and eat institutional English food. Was this a fair arrangement?