Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Featured YA Book: The Apprentice's Masterpiece by Melanie Little

Share |
Featured YA Book: The Apprentice's Masterpiece by Melanie Little

Annick Press, 2008

The Apprentice's Masterpiece: A Story of Medieval Spain (Annick Press, 2008) by Melanie Little is a story in verse about two teens living in Fourteenth-century Spain during the Inquisition. The Quill & Quire calls it "...a riveting read."

About the book: Fourteenth-century Spain is a richly multicultural society in which Jews, Muslims, and Christians coexist. But under the zealous Christian Queen Isabella, the country abruptly becomes one of the most murderously intolerant places on Earth.

It is in this atmosphere that the Benvenistes, a family of scribes, attempt to eke out a living. The family has a secret—they are conversos: Jews who converted to Christianity. Now, with neighbors and friends turned into spies, fear hangs in the air.

One day a young man is delivered to their door. His name is Amir, and he wears the robe and red patch of a Muslim. Fifteen-year-old Ramon Benveniste broods over Amir’s easy acceptance into the family.

Startling and dramatic events overtake the household, and the family is torn apart. One boy becomes enslaved, the other takes up service for the Inquisitors. Finally, their paths cross again in a stunningly haunting scene.

Melanie Little has crafted a brilliant and elegantly written story in verse about one of the most politically complex and troubling times in human history—the Spanish Inquisition. Drawing on intensive research, Little creates memorable characters, potently captures the turbulent events of the period, and emblazons horrific images on readers’ minds. It is the work of a master.

Melanie Little is an award-winning short-story writer, essayist, and book reviewer. Canada’s national newspaper has raved she “could very well become the Alice Munro of our generation.” The Apprentice's Masterpiece is her first novel and her fist book for young people. She lives in Calgary, Alberta.

From the catalogue. Visit the Annick Press website to for teaching activities and to look inside The Apprentice's Masterpiece.