The Mapmaker's Apprentice, by Peter Cooper

The monks were gone. Three creatures stood in their place, twisted and hunched, skin pale green in the light of the cave mouth, tongues as red as blood as they leered and grimaced and brandished heavy iron swords at the travellers.
‘Rock-demons!’ Koto yelled, and lunged forward.

Now that they are free of their cruel masters, Dillen, Koto and Tajni are ready to pursue their dreams. For Dillen, this means seeking an apprenticeship as a mapmaker. But when he visits the mapmakers house to see if he will be chosen as an apprentice, Dillen finds that competition for the position is fierce. The mapmaker decides to set a challenge for the candidates: to travel to a watch tower and read what is written on its walls. Soon Dillen is travelling across the land, with Koto and Tajni by his side, on a journey filled with danger. The tower guards a mountain pass which is closed to travellers because of the presence of a fearsome beast terrorising those who dare to make the journey. But this will be only one of the challenges the trio have to face if they are to complete the quest – and do it before any of the other candidates.

The Mapmaker’s Apprentice is the second in the Tales of the Blue Jade series, and picks up soon after the first left off. The three friends once again must work together, each drawing on their talents and overcoming their fears as they face new challenges and old foes. The twists and turns of the journey are well paced with development of individual characters and their relationships, creating a satisfying whole.

Best read as a follow on from the first book, but could be read on its own.

The Mapmaker's Apprentice (Tales of the Blue Jade)

The Mapmaker’s Apprentice (Tales of the Blue Jade), by Peter Coper
Omnibus Books, 2012
ISBN 9781862919303

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