Joachim's Magic


Young Adult - Adventure
218 Pages
Reviewed on 05/15/2016
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Author Biography

After meeting a young man on Roanoke Island, N.C. who posed as Joachim Gans, I was inspired to research and write about this metallurgist, maligned for being a Jew. His story is fascinating and very little is known about him. He was tried for saying "What need hath God for a Son, is He not Almighty?" Eventually he was released and returned to his native Bohemia. His relationship with his young apprentice is like father and son, teaching his loyal follower how to survive in a cruel and heartless world. I am a published author of 6 young adult historical novels. Heretic is the sequel to Joachim's Magic, in which he is part of the early 1585 expedition to the New World.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite

Joachim's Magic by M.L. Stainer is a young adult novel set during that early period of American history when the colonists were arriving from England to settle the New World. Joachim's Magic is primarily about the life and story of Reis Courtney, a young boy in his early teens, and the master to whom he is apprenticed, Joachim Gans. The story starts off with a glimpse into the hard life of an apprentice as they learn the trade. Reis’ lot is better than some of his contemporaries who work under laborious and, at times, abusive conditions. Joachim is a strict but fair teacher, a famous metallurgist, and also the first known Jew in the New World. As they start on a mining expedition in search of gold, silver, and copper in present day Virginia and North Carolina, they encounter many perils including the Indians who fight against them. When they get kidnapped by the Indian chief, Pemisapan, Joachim has to weigh the odds, decide if the time has come to use “magic,” and find the best outcome for all.

Joachim's Magic by M.L. Stainer is an engaging read and I was immediately drawn into it from page one. Although the book is fiction, the setting and some of the characters are taken from real life people. The book moves at a good pace and, along with having all the elements of a good adventure story, it also imparts some life lessons along the way. Reis’ character is very well portrayed as a young but mature boy who comes into his own on his path to manhood. All in all, this is a great adventure and I would recommend it to readers of all ages.