Alchemy’s Apprentice series by Jeffrey Quyle (#1-4)
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Overview: Jeff Quyle has lived most of his life in the Midwest, with brief spans of time spent living in Arizona and Canterbury, England. He is an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction, US and British history, and the Aubry/Maturin Napoleonic naval war adventure novels written by Patrick O’Brian. The first books he remembers are the "Lucky Starr" science fiction stories of Paul French (a pseudonym of Isaac Asimov), and he spent his youth reading Asimov, Tolkien, Heinlein, and others.
The Gorgon’s Blood Solution (#1): Being an apprentice to a successful alchemist has its challenges, but Marco thought he knew how to manage his time so that he could enjoy life with his friends on the street. But when a stranger offers him an unusual coin, he begins to understand alchemy a little better, and suddenly thinks that it could be a way to make a living after all. Marco’s problem is that fate doesn’t plan for his life to fit that plan, at least not at Algornia’s shop in the Lion City. An evil force is rising, and sending its destructive energy out to scour kingdoms and cities for some unknown purpose. Marco becomes an inadvertent pawn in the machinations of the evil, when he is caught up in the violence and drama of a Corsair raid, and taken away from everything – the Lion City, Algornia’s shop, even Constance the model. There are undreamt of allies and friends and opportunities though, and escape is possible. Starting over a new life is not quite as easy however, as Fate starts to hunt Marco down, demanding that he live up to the challenges that are thrown his way, as a champion begins to emerge to face the brunt force of evil. The Gorgon’s Blood Solution is the first volume in Alchemy’s Apprentice, a new fantasy series by Jeffrey Quyle.
The Echidna’s Scale (#2): Book Two in the Alchemy’s Apprentice Series. Marco is about to enter the stage of great happiness in life, he thinks. He has been given a castle and a noble title by the Duke of Barcelon, and he has the most beautiful woman in the world as his beloved fiancee. They have a wedding planned for the upcoming spring, and they are happy together. He has his alchemy to dabble in and work on. Life could not be better. But a pair of serious accidents forces him and Mirra’s brother Glaze to travel to the Isle of Ophiuchus. And even though he is miraculously healed at the temple atop the island, he is given a commandment by the spirit of the island – he is sent on a deadly and arduous quest to recover a scale from the mythical monster, the Echidna, though he doesn’t even know where the monster is, or even what it is. He and Glaze and their unwilling new companion, Porenn, the acolyte of the island who Marco has met before, begin on their way to find out how to proceed with his quest. But before they even finish the first stage of the journey, they find complications and difficulties that will thwart Marco’s plans for a straightforward journey. A long dangerous trip, through the wintertime mountains, will test Marco and his companions. And he’ll be forced to travel with watchdogs who keep an eye on him, and tempt him to stray at the same time. Even finding success brings surprising twists in Marco’s plans, and by the end of the his story, Marco won’t know what his future holds, except another journey.
Scarlet From Gold (#3): A boy without memories- only a compulsion to find an unknown lady who is hundreds of miles away: that is the beginning of Marco’s adventures in “Scarlet from Gold” the third book in the Alchemy’s Apprentice series. Marco lands at a small port and knows he has to travel a great distance to find Folence. But his journey is made easier, and the nature of the journey is changed, when a group of pilgrims take him under their wing and travel with Marco to Compostela, the great holy site that sits astride the road Marco is bound upon. The journey proves entertaining, thoughtful, and unexpectedly enlightening. When he completes the trip, after passing through an unhappy encounter with Mirra, Marco reaches his goal and recovers his memories, only to discover that another extraordinary challenge awaits him, and he’ll be accompanied by a supernatural companion as he attempts to return to the underworld while still alive! Marco returns to scenes of past adventures, meets old friends, and undergoes new challenges as he moves along the trail of discovery that will lead him towards the conclusion of the Alchemy’s Apprentice series in the final book in the series, “The Southern Trail.”
The Southern Trail (#4): Marco continues to serve the needs and directions of Lady Iasco in the fourth and final book of the Alchemy’s Apprentice series. Marco fights in the battle of Athens to begin the story in "The Southern Trail" but the heart of the story is the long journey that follows afterwards, as Marco tries to understand, interpret, and follow the expectations of Lady Iasco as the battle against the evil of Docleatae switches gears, descending from the grand battles of armies and sorcerers to the more intimate and intimidating clashes of personalities, events, and localities in which Marco can survive only by sublimating his powers to his wits. The journey takes Marco and his surprising new companions to the perilous center of power in Docleatae, where he finds that love and friendship can blossom even in the most intimidating environment. The deadly choices that Marco is forced to make culminate in a shocking climax that will mesmerize readers of Marco’s adventures!