The Apprentice

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    “Get up, Moyer! Old man Koenig’s lookin’ for you.”

    Enoch Moyer wakes to his apprenticeship at a dry goods store in the city of Lewistown, Pennsylvania in 1880. Cut off from a high school education, the fatherless fourteen-year-old must live and work for a four-year term in the competitive world of Victorian business.

     Every man’s hand is against his neighbor among rugged individuals in this diverse industrial town. Between a harsh master and a jealous senior apprentice, Enoch’s spirit is crushed until the boy bargains to gain the master’s respect and disarm his rival.

     Eager for friends and advancement, Enoch enrolls in the community’s apprentice association, helping a friend join as the first African-American. The town’s apprentices bond in loyal friendship to challenge their town’s conventions.

     Enoch faces the issues of Victorian America, such as industrial pollution and cultural diversity. A mysterious blind vagrant wanders the streets, injured Civil War veterans struggle to survive, and radical tramps seize the railroad junction. Strife tears at rich and poor, urban and rural, black and white, and among Protestants, Catholics, and Jews.

      Enoch uncovers an anti-Semitic plot to drive out his master’s family. He and his friends foil the crime to save his master and arrest the offenders. At the ensuing trial Enoch learns the hard lessons of justice and prompts the court to punish the real criminals.

Bill Allison