for The Apprentice's Masterpiece by Melanie Little
It's the Spanish Inquisition, and agents of oppression grow deadly for two teens.
"But there are times
when peace just becomes
a broken mouthful.
A word that no tongue in the world
- From The Apprentice's Masterpiece
"... like a young person's Kite Runner, a tale ... that both educates and enlightens in a time when we could all use a little more understanding of one another."-- Calgary Herald
"The brief narrative poems are small gems of insight and emotion... and resonate with contemporary connections."-- VOYA
"This riveting story is peopled by flesh-and-blood characters and replete with ... historical detail."-- School Library Journal
ALA/YALSA 2009 Best Books for Young Adults nominee
White Ravens 2008, International Youth Library, Munich
Fifteenth-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 extensive research, Little creates memorable characters, captures the turbulent events of the period, and emblazons horrific images on readers' minds. It is the work of a master.