The Cooke Agency

Melanie Little
The Apprentice’s Masterpiece

The Apprentice's Masterpiece by Melanie LittleFourteenth-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 our minds. It is the work of a master of the written word.

2009 Canadian Library Association Young Adult Honour Book
White Raven Collection, International Youth Library, Munich
YALSA 2009 Best Books for Young Adults Nomination
2008 Middle East Outreach Council’s Middle East Book Award for Youth Literature
2009 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY), Multicultural Fiction (Children’s), Gold award
2009 Nautilus Book Awards, Silver Award Winner
2008 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Historical Fiction category finalist
2008 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Young Adult Fiction category finalist
Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens List

“[A] sophisticated, unbending novel ... moments of lyric expression shine out like small jewels.” —Toronto Star

“The subject and the history are enthralling...” —Booklist

“The brief narrative poems are small gems of insight and emotion ... and resonate with contemporary connections.” —Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

“This riveting story is peopled by flesh-and-blood characters...” —School Library Journal

Length: 116 pp
Setting: Spain
Period: Middle ages, historical

World rights, Annick Press
German rights, Hanser Verlag

For all other rights contact The Cooke Agency.

Melanie Little
Photo Credit: Peter Norman
  A former figure skater, Melanie Little has lived in Timmins, Montreal, Toronto, Los Angeles, and Vancouver, and currently resides in Ottawa. She has worked as a tour guide, teacher, museum guard, bartender, dance instructor, stage manager, concierge, and tulip promoter. Her short story collection, Confidence, was chosen as one of the Globe and Mail’s top 100 books of 2003. 

  • Confidence