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Children's Fiction General

Graverobber's Apprentice

by (author) Allan Stratton

Initial publish date
Jan 2013
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2013
    List Price

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Hans doesn’t know who he is or where he came from. When he was a baby, he washed ashore in a wooden box and was adopted by the conniving grave robber Knobbe the Bent. Now fate has thrown him together with Angela von Schwanenberg, a young countess fleeing for her life from the evil Archduke Arnulf and his dreaded Necromancer. Together, these friends go on a daring quest to discover Hans’s true identity and save Angela’s parents from the archduke.

Join Hans and Angela on their grand adventure as they ride through the depths of the great forest, sled down a mountain in a coffin and sneak along the secret passageways of the archduke’s palace. The Grave Robber’s Apprentice is a world of highwaymen, hermits and dancing bears—and of a boy separated from his family by the sea.

In this world anything is possible with luck and imagination—even for a grave robber’s apprentice.

About the author


Allan Stratton
est l'auteur de renommée internationale du roman Le secret de Chanda, un livre sur la liste d'honneur Michael L.
Printz. Son adaptation cinématographique, Life Above All, a
remporté le prix François Chalais au Festival de Cannes. Son dernier roman
thriller pour jeunes adultes, Les chiens, a gagné le prix Red
Maple de l'Association canadienne des bibliothèques et a été mis en
nomination pour le prix Arthur Ellis et le prix Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz.
Allan habite à Toronto, en Ontario.


Allan Stratton is an acclaimed playwright and author, who began his career acting at the Stratford Festival and regional theaters across Canada. His plays include "Nurse Jane Goes to Hawaii" and "Rexy!," winner of a Chalmers Award, the Dora Mavor Moore Award and the Canadian Author's Association Award. Leslie's Journal is Allan's first novel for teens. Allan now lives in Toronto with his partner, a dog, three cats and any number of fish.

Allan Stratton's profile page

Librarian Reviews

The Grave Robber’s Apprentice

Hans has a mysterious past. Adopted as a baby when Knobbe the Bent, the grave robber, found him washed ashore in a wooden box, he has no idea what his true origins are. When the evil Archduke Arnulf chooses Countess Angela Gabriela von Schwanenberg to be the next in a long line of child brides who die on their wedding day, she is forced to flee. Fate brings her together with Hans, and the two of them set off on a dangerous quest to uncover the truth about Hans’ past and to save Angela from unimaginable horrors.

Allan Stratton, renowned young adult author, makes his middlegrade debut with this rip-roaring fantasy adventure. Containing all of the elements of a successful fairy tale, the novel will hook readers from the start.

Hans, the grave robber’s apprentice, is obviously more than what he appears to be, and hints about his identity are sprinkled liberally throughout the text. He is kind, loyal and courageous, has graces above his station, and, of course, a strange birthmark on his shoulder. Angela has an active imagination and a penchant for drama, and she too is courageous, resourceful and intelligent. Both are extremely likeable, and their relationship is completely believable.

The writing is clever and funny, and the book moves along swiftly. While it does contain many fantasy elements, the novel’s biggest strength is that ultimately the villains are defeated with a combination of ingenuity and dramatic flare.

Whether as a read alone or a read aloud, this wholly enjoyable novel is bound to become a popular choice with young readers and will take its place amongst other beloved children’s classics.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Spring 2012. Volume 35 No. 2.

The Grave Robber’s Apprentice

Having been brought together by strange circumstances, Hans and Angela set off on a dangerous quest to save Angela’s parents from the evil Archduke. On their way they receive help from highwaymen, hermits and a circus family. When Hans learns the truth about his past, things change drastically for him and Angela, but they must still find a way to restore power to the rightful ruler of the Archduchy of Waldland.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Spring, 2012.

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