The Apprentices by Leon Garfield, is a collection of 12 well-crafted, engrossing stories, peppered with humour, thrilling adventure and chilling encounters. These twelve classic tales cover a range of apprentice trades in 18th-century London, from the pawnbroker to the chemist, the midwife to the undertaker. They reveal both the light and shade of life in a big city. As he illuminates the way, the lamplighter reveals the horrors of the darkest street corners, while the mirror-maker is haunted by images of death. On a happier note, the wig-maker's apprentice is overcome by love and cannot bear to trick the blind girl into giving away her beautiful hair. And the chemist's apprentice finds there's more to the love spell of the dumb cake than his scientific mind wants to believe.
Leon Garfield (1921-1996) was born in Brighton, England. He is the author of a large number of highly acclaimed novels, set in the England of Charles Dickens' times. But unlike Dickens' novels, Garfield's stories are not depressing. Some of his books have been serialised for television, including Devil-in-the-Fog, and Jack Holborn. Black Jack was made into a full-length feature film, and was joint winner of the International Jury Award at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival. The famous film director, John Huston, made his last screen appearance in 1987 in the film of Mr Corbett's Ghost. Garfield has also adapted Shakespeare's plays for young children, re-telling them as short stories.
(An apprentice is a young person who learns a particular trade by working under a master, usually for a small salary, food and lodgings.)