Updated: Sep 14
"A story that transports one back in time - beautiful."
The Falconer's Apprentice, by Malve von Hassell, follows a young, coming of age boy, Andreas, who has been apprenticing as a falconer - a person who trains and hunts with falcons, hawks and other birds of prey. Andreas is an orphan, low-born in the culture of his times in 13th century Europe, during an intense period of unrest. One day, when his favorite young falcon scratches the face of a "royal" - all hell breaks loose and he is ordered to destroy the falcon. Andreas cannot bring himself to do it, and instead, plans their escape with a trader, and so the real adventure begins as they travel from northern Germany to other lands. Beautifully told, the story not only follows their journey, but one feels as if the author has transported us back in time, to a culture which although not modern by today's standards, reminds us that even then, in the 13th century, the Roman empire was already an historical fact, and their legacy, for one, were the incredible roads they built across Europe, which Andreas and the group travel. We sense his wonder as he meets new people and new cultures and forms alliances; and though simple as the cultures were at the time, the people were friendly because friendship and allies at that time were simply pure gold. The story keeps you reading to the very end, to find out where Andreas lands, and what happens to the falcon he loves more than anything or anyone. Recommended reading.
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About Malve von Hassell
Malve von Hassell is a freelance writer, researcher, and translator. She holds a Ph. D. in anthropology from the New School for Social Research. Working as an independent scholar, she published several books and journal articles, in particular, The Struggle for Eden: Community Gardens in New York City (Bergin & Garvey 2002) and Homesteading in New York City 1978-1993: The Divided Heart of Loisaida (Bergin & Garvey 1996). She has also edited her grandfather Ulrich von Hassell’s memoirs written in prison in 1944, Der Kreis schließt sich – Aufzeichnungen aus der Haft 1944 (Propylaen Verlag 1994). She has taught at Queens College, Baruch College, Pace University, and Suffolk County Community College, while continuing her work as a translator and writer. She has published a children’s picture book, Letters from the Tooth Fairy (Mill City Press, 2012), with a new edition published 2020, and her translation and annotation of a German children’s classic by Tamara Ramsay, Rennefarre: Dott’s Wonderful Travels and Adventures (Two Harbors Press, 2012). The Falconer’s Apprentice (namelos editions, 2015) was her first historical fiction novel for young adults. Her most recent releases are Alina: A Song for the Telling (BHC Press, 2020), set in Jerusalem in the time of the crusades, and The Amber Crane (Odyssey Books, 2021), set in Germany in 1645 and 1945. Currently, she is working on a biographical work about a woman coming of age in Nazi Germany.