OUT NOW – The Artful Apprentice (Schooled in Magic 19)

27 Apr

Every magician who wants to be great goes through an apprenticeship, through a period of training under a master who will — hopefully — raise them to mastery themselves. Now, for Emily, the time has come to begin her long-awaited apprenticeship with Void. She must master her powers or risk being destroyed by them.

But as Void introduces her to levels and layers of magic she never even knew existed, she finds herself fighting desperately to keep up, to defeat challenge after challenge to prove her worth to study under him … perhaps, even, to survive a training course that has killed other — lesser — magicians.

And, when Void sends her to a kingdom she’s never visited, on a mysterious mission she has to figure out for herself, she finds herself facing a choice that could destroy her …

… Or unleash a nightmare that could destroy an entire kingdom.

Read a FREE SAMPLE, then download from the links on this page.

59 Responses to “OUT NOW – The Artful Apprentice (Schooled in Magic 19)”

  1. Iyke O April 27, 2020 at 5:11 pm #

    Bought it!!!!! So excited

  2. G April 27, 2020 at 5:27 pm #

    Wonderful Book! But who’s learning more from who? Emily’s learning from Void, true, but Void is plundering Emily’s mind of all her secrets under the guise of teaching her soul magic and is probably utilizing subtle magic to encourage her to talk about her secrets…And after Void asked about who else knows about the battery, I don’t know about the safety of Cat, Jade, and Lady Barb…Void likes to tie up loss ends…

  3. stephen April 27, 2020 at 5:49 pm #

    Got a cup of rosy lee some nibbles, windows open with no noise outside
    A new sim book to read. Today i can forget about this scary world i live in .thank you

  4. rwahrens April 27, 2020 at 5:57 pm #

    Read that sucker in a single sitting last night. Didn’t go to bed till after 1 am. Could NOT put it down! What a tale! This one was a winner.

    Of course, in a sense, it’s terrible to devour a book that took such hard work to produce in a single night. But…DAMN, it was worth it!

    • Kaesha May 3, 2020 at 5:14 am #

      I second this! Such a great addition!

  5. Ethir Nandor April 27, 2020 at 6:46 pm #

    Oh yes!. Amazon, here I come!.

  6. William Ameling April 27, 2020 at 7:53 pm #

    I posted my initial comments in the Knife’s Edge snippet.
    I have been checking very regularly, i.e. several (many) times a day for The Artful Apprentice (TAA) and it did not become available on my Amazon.com account until just after local time midnight last night, i.e. Eastern Daylight Savings Time (USA), which is about 14 hours ago as I write this comment.
    It took me about 7 hours to read and finish it. I had to switch Kindles in the middle of reading it because my battery charge ran out. I was trying not to read it too fast, because then you miss things.
    There are several things that I realized during the story, that I do not want to SPOIL for you, so I will only hint at them here.
    First, Emily has enough information to know who Void’s family is, she has heard the same story before from someone else. It seemed familiar to her but she did not remember it yet, but she will remember it. It answers a lot of questions. SIM readers ought to recognize it.
    Second, I am fairly sure who Nanette is now. I was suspecting it even before a certain event in the Book, that confirmed it to me, as well as the very end of the Book which added confirmation in my mind.

    Emiliy’s solution to the problem of the mission she is on, draws on a number of things from her past, that any reader should recognize. Again I do not want to SPOIL them for you. As typical of other SIM Books what you think you see in the cover picture is misleading you about what to expect. I was wondering how Chris was going to make an interesting story out of Emily studying as an Apprentice. He (or Void) did that by sending her on a real mission that also tested her and taught her.

    Also the Chrishanger.net web site has been down for the last week or so, but it came back up last night as well. I actually found TAA on Amazon.com first, before checking again to see if the Web Site was back up.

    • G April 27, 2020 at 9:43 pm #

      Agree on Void’s family identified for readers of Trial by Fire, but I think Chris is deliberately setting up tension on whether Void’s good or bad–the next two books could go either way…

    • Theredscare 77 April 28, 2020 at 11:52 am #

      I agree with you first point. We as readers should know who void is related to now. As to your second point. Do you believe “nanette” is also an alias? I know you wanted to keep spoilers out but I would love to hear your theory more throughly. At the very least could you elaborate on what event in the book you are alluding to?

      • William Ameling April 29, 2020 at 12:15 am #

        When a certain SOMEONE saw the Death Viper on Emily’s wrist as a Death Viper and not as the usual Bracelet, she reacted VERY strongly to seeing it. I think she reacted so strongly because she had lost her hand and arm to it before. It also fits with the previous patterns of that character being near Emily, in a way that Emily does recognize as threatening.

        Also VOID TOLD Emily that he would be testing her in many ways to recognize threats and attempts to manipulate her, read her mind, etc.

        Emily should sit down and think through what that really means about anything and ANYONE in her environment.

        Also take a look at the Epilogue and just before that when Void was talking to Emily. How did Nanette know about Simon as a possible tool against Emily and where to find him? The simplest answer is the most likely one.

      • William Ameling April 29, 2020 at 12:30 am #

        typo: does NOT recognize as being threatening.

    • SPINDOC April 28, 2020 at 2:30 pm #

      Not looking to spoil, but the way Void implemented the last test was good for Emily. Even though an open ended quest might seem unfair at first, it gave Emily the freedom to do it her way and not tainted by what Void thinks she should do.

      • William Ameling April 29, 2020 at 12:26 am #

        But it also shows how little VOID values the lives of the people who DIED in order to train Emily, instead of dealing with the matter himself or giving Emily more information at the start. One of those lives was an Arbiter, who is a person who is an important servant to the White Council, as well as various members of the Royal family, and all the lives lost in riots/disruptions of the Capital City.

      • William Ameling April 29, 2020 at 12:33 am #

        typo in my other response: in a way that Emily does NOT recognize as threatening.

      • SPINDOC April 29, 2020 at 12:25 pm #

        I have to disagree William, you remember how Void dealt with that village? Wiped out to the last man. I doubt he would be gentler here. I feel that his version of the cure would have sparked a 3 faction civil war.

        Sure the Arbiter died, a small price to pay. I don’t think even Lady Barb could have done better. She would have solved the problem earlier but which faction would she have chosen for regency? Picking ANY would have started the war, maybe not straight away but it would have started.

      • gbarbay00 May 1, 2020 at 4:38 am #

        I agree. Not only did it allow Emily to spread her wings and show her talents, but it also prevented a much larger tragedy. Void says he only cares for the big picture threats to the Allied Lands, and has no interest in petty, local politics.

        From his viewpoint the problem was one person. His solution would have likely been to go in, take care of that one person and go on his merry way. The events that happened would still have happened, most everyone who died would still have done so. Without Emily there, more people would have died, much more. So, intentionally or not, Void’s test was likely the best solution that could have been hoped for.

  7. William Ameling April 27, 2020 at 10:14 pm #

    Lin, won once. Nanette lost once, versus Emily, third time around will decide it for good.

  8. William Ameling April 27, 2020 at 10:25 pm #

    There have been many suggestions about Void and his family. Even the correct one has been made IIRC, as well as about his brother and Void, hidden amongst the wrong suggestions.

  9. William Ameling April 27, 2020 at 10:28 pm #

    Nanette is another of the tests on Emily.

  10. Warren The Ape April 27, 2020 at 10:51 pm #


  11. Warren The Ape April 27, 2020 at 10:55 pm #

    FYI, it isn’t showing up here yet: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F7Q8LDF

    Nor when I search for ‘nuttal apprentice’ on Amazon does it show up. (You’ve used ‘apprentice’ in your book titles a lot btw).

    Dunno if that is just a search engine indexing thing or not or you have to do some Amazon seller mojo to fix that.

    • William Ameling April 27, 2020 at 11:27 pm #

      I found it by searching for Christopher Nuttall on Amazon.com, then choosing the Schooled in Magic option, which shows (mostly) the Books from the SIM Series, and The Artful Apprentice showed up for me after local midnight for me (and NOT any earlier, that seems to be the pattern (for me at least) for new releases on Amazon.com, they do not show up until after local midnight for your time zone on their release day).

  12. Joseph P Costa April 28, 2020 at 4:50 pm #

    Wow it was very difficult just to buy this new book which is only available for me from kindle.
    Ridiculous, Joe Costa

    • Neill B. April 28, 2020 at 8:17 pm #

      The town’s name is Zugzwang! Foreshadowing much? Very appropriate though.
      Another great read. Thanks Chris.

  13. Phoenix April 29, 2020 at 6:23 am #

    I think Emily just found a for the answer to the old headmaster of high top (can’t spell his name) question about when a child comes into her magic too early! But there could be a down side of that spell comes back out.

    • William Ameling April 29, 2020 at 7:17 pm #

      Aurelius (the same as her Death Viper) who was the Administrator of Mountain Top School of Magic, i.e. Book 5 School of Hard Knocks.

  14. William Ameling April 29, 2020 at 12:04 pm #

    Not only did Nanette find him, she found him very quickly, which meant that she found out about him as a tool against Emily, very quickly after he went into hiding. There is really only person who could have found that out and then found him that quickly.

  15. L April 29, 2020 at 12:56 pm #

    I loved the reference to Death Note 😃

    • Kaesha May 3, 2020 at 5:28 am #

      I noticed that as well, and was like “Chris, you watched this too!?” 🤦‍♀️ It’s a great show with great planning from Light that I shouldn’t be surprised lol. That made my day!

      • chrishanger May 14, 2020 at 10:29 pm #

        I preferred the manga – it’s the only manga I’ve been able to enjoy.


  16. Alexey April 29, 2020 at 5:18 pm #

    Excellent, love this book!

    I have a general question on SIM, not this specific volume.

    Emily made a nuke spell… wouldn’t it be much easiest and powerful to make an anti-matter bomb?

    Nuke relies on complex physics and has some critical mass requirement to make it work meaning its weakest possible blast is already way too strong for most purposes. Honestly, considering its complexity, there was little chance for Emily to pull it off on the first try.

    Anti-matter relies only on knowledge of its existence. It simply blows up the moment normal mass touches and even tiniest pieces are sufficient for a good blast – yet one can still regulate the amount and thus the size of explosion making it more accurate and practical. Still crazy dangerous, though.

    In RL anti-matter is totally unpractical considering the complexity of making it but this shouldn’t be too hard in magical world where conjuring and creation is a thing.

  17. William Ameling April 29, 2020 at 7:25 pm #

    She might have made a thermonuclear fusion bomb, which only requires special forms of hydrogen, which are also hard to isolate, rather than a fission bomb which requires a large enough mass of a rare isotope of Uranium which is also hard to isolate and then compress to trigger an explosion.

    I am not sure that she could make antimatter with magic.

    • Alexey April 29, 2020 at 8:25 pm #

      Well, there is no known observable essential difference between matter and anti-matter. They are supposedly fully symmetric… unless magic has very strong ties to matter… and I doubt that as it is more of an energy which is neutral on the matter / anti-matter spectrum.

      > She might have made a thermonuclear fusion bomb, which only requires special forms of hydrogen….

      You mean hydrogen bomb? IIRC it doesn’t require anything special besides common hydrogen and tons and tons of energy to trigger. In fact, it is normally triggered by exploding an atomic bomb. I highly doubt she made an H-bomb as those are far more devastating than nukes (atomic boms).

      You probably confused it with variants of atomic boms. One is based on rare isotope of uranium and the other is based on plutonium, the latter is produced via heavy-water (hard and rare to isolate water) plus common uranium.

      All of these are not easy to make – and I don’t think it is easy to make one even with magic unless one understands the underlying principles very well.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard April 29, 2020 at 8:56 pm #

        One thought.

        Emily wasn’t a real “science geek” in school (basically she got kidnaped during her high school years).

        About all she knew was that “atomic power” was possible and in her search for “more power” stumbled onto her “nuke spell”.

        IMO her “nuke spell” may not be a true “atomic bomb”. IE It does not actually “split atoms” but that’s how she thinks about it.

        Without know “how magic works” in the Nameless World and without knowing the wording of her spell, we do not know if it actually creates an atomic explosion.

      • Robert Kaliski April 30, 2020 at 4:41 pm #

        Emily’s spell may simply cause atoms to come apart and the resulting energy released is your blast. She wouldn’t need any radioactive material or machine if she imagined the atoms of a hillside flying apart. Magic in the nameless world is able to convert energy to other forms IE exploding fireballs. All matter is energy on the quantum level. Mages manipulate energy.

        Anti-matter would require conjuring. If a pencil is difficult imagine what power and knowledge would be needed for something as slippery as anti-matter. Having a pound of anti- matter just pop into existence at your feet would really ruin your day. I wouldn’t want to be the one trying to work out the spell first.

  18. Brian G April 29, 2020 at 10:25 pm #

    Really enjoyed the new book, but I must say that it was a little frustrating that Emily seems incapable of taking initiative. Most of everything she does is in reaction to others, and not action on her own part.

  19. Dani April 29, 2020 at 11:02 pm #

    Read it in one enjoyable sitting. It’s a return to what I consider the sweet spot of this series – 1 part character development, 1 part arc development, 4 parts current story, and 4 parts watching Emily learn.
    I thought (trying to avoid spoilers here) from what Aurelius said that his daughter’s condition was only a danger to her (and mundane bystanders).

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard April 29, 2020 at 11:04 pm #

      IMO This was much worse than his daughter’s condition.

  20. W April 29, 2020 at 11:57 pm #

    Thermonuclear FUSION Bomb is the so called Hydrogen Bomb. Trying to fuse pure hydrogen with no added neutrons, i.e. deuterium and tritium is very difficult. I think that most thermonuclear bombs may actually use lithium and deuterium/tritium. They require a nuclear fission bomb to to provide the compression and high temperatures of the fusionable gas. (I read both the Making of the Atom Bomb as well as it’s successor The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb that were published 40 or 50 years ago as unclassified books in the USA, they should be available in large public or university libraries. Unfortunately, I sold my copies of them to a used book store when I had to drastically down size my book collection seven years ago when I had to move). IIRC they surrounded the gas with a lot of plastic and then X Rays from the fission bomb made the plastic compress the fusionable gas to start the fusion reaction. (I have a Masters plus, i.e. 3rd year graduate level courses, i.e. PhD level, in Physics, so this makes sense to me. Everything I have said here is unclassified and available in the public domain).

    It is very difficult to scale up a fission bomb to really large yields because the fission isotopes have a tendency to explode/react on their own when the mass of the U235 or plutonium gets too large and too close to each other, and blows apart the material in the fission bomb before most of it has a chance to fission.That is why the plutonium bombs were actually compression bombs (the subcritical spherical mass of plutonium was surrounded by explosives that exploded and compressed the plutonium inwards to critical density), while the U235 bombs fired two masses of it at each other with explosive guns. I am talking about the early designs for them used in WW2 on Japan.

    It is easier (but still difficult) to scale up the fusion bombs to much higher yields. I think the biggest (fusion) bomb that was actually exploded back before the atmospheric test ban treaties, was on the order of 50 to 60 megatons by the Soviets/Russians. There were also fission/fusion/fission bombs, as well as the so called neutron bombs that produced large fluxes of neutrons designed to kill the crews of tanks and armored personnel carriers on the battle field (they were a big item of public controversy and debate back in the 1980s about whether they should be made and deployed to stop a possible Soviet ground attack on Europe).

  21. Fleeced April 30, 2020 at 10:37 am #

    Really enjoyed this book – love this series. Can’t wait for he next installment.

    I’d love to talk about my pet theories in detail on this forum, but don’t want to give spoilers (I could give spoiler warnings and the like, but it’s too easy to ruin it – and I want to encourage people to BUY THE BOOK instead).

    • Snarkorboojum May 1, 2020 at 4:21 am #

      Same thing here. Currently reading it for the second time. About spoilers: i think it is confirmed that Void is the brother of late grandmaster Hadstrubal.

  22. KOH May 3, 2020 at 4:38 am #

    Loved the book. I bought it from the Nook store, but now I’m wondering. I read that Barnes & Noble is having a hard time with the shutdown and all their stores closed, and that authors should try to get their money up front. Is this something you may need to worry about?

    • chrishanger May 14, 2020 at 10:28 pm #

      I’m not sure. It’s very up in the air.


  23. maltageorge May 3, 2020 at 11:36 pm #

    Great book. Emily has taken a quantum leap in ability. I have now read the book through completely three times I missed a lot the first time through. The third time I have appreciated Chris’s writing talent. Emily, as a character, has grown in every book. In this book, she has jumped to a very high level as a magical talent. I now worry for her as a person. Will her abilities isolate her as it obviously has Void?
    Great work Chris. I can’t wait for the next book

    • G May 5, 2020 at 2:50 am #

      It would be interesting if Chris could work in to the books a sub-plot showing how so-called powerful single male heirs of magical families react to her being suggested as a match and possibly introduced by Melissa or Barb…funny to, although I do hope she can still have some romantic life…

    • SnarkOrBoojum May 7, 2020 at 3:36 am #

      I don’t believe that is the case. First because of her reaction when Emily was hurt after teleportation experiment. And second because of her reaction to the snake. If it is indeed Nanette, than she must be afraid of snake but not surprised by it an she must known that Emily in control of it.
      What is your thought about Void is Hastrubal brother theory?

  24. PuffinMuffin May 4, 2020 at 12:23 pm #

    Putting the dragon on the cover was a bit of a giveaway. But I liked it.

  25. William Ameling May 5, 2020 at 10:05 am #

    But it totally mislead me, I thought the dragon was in Void’s Tower with Emily, not in the middle of a fight with her.

  26. William Ameling May 6, 2020 at 9:38 pm #

    Spoiler: I will be a little more direct, without saying the name: Who came with Emily from Void’s Tower along with her on her mission? That is who I think is Nanette’s current identity.

    • G May 6, 2020 at 11:17 pm #

      That implies that Nanette’s mysterious master has told Nanette his real name–instead of staying anonymous–and many in the White Council would be willing to forgive Nanette her crimes if she would help them nail Void–risky…

  27. Bart Molenaar May 8, 2020 at 5:04 am #

    I started reading this series almost a month ago and binge read through them all at almost 1 book a day. Couldn’t stop reading them… there are some pros for being in a lockdown 😉

    I do have a technical question… how does Emily takes the curvature of the nameless world into account when she doesn’t know the size of the world?

    • Joseph P Costa May 13, 2020 at 12:47 am #

      She does have a different solution but I do believe she takes curvature into account. It it brilliant. Read the book for how she does it. No more spoilers from me.

  28. Tipnin May 9, 2020 at 5:05 am #

    The one thing I enjoy about this book series is when Emily explains the free market and capitalism to the people in charge and how it completely goes over there head. As someone who recently moved out of California after years of being squeezed with fees and taxes those passages really resonate with me.

  29. William Ameling May 9, 2020 at 5:06 am #

    The question is whether EMILY will forgive VOID, or KILL HIM (and take his place as his heir, as the Lone Power of his Tower) for ALL that he has done to those she loves as well as to her. If things continue along this possible storyline about Nanette and her master (after she kills Nanette in their final fight). Of course, maybe Nanette’s master is not Void, but it looks like a serious possibility. One that I had resisted believing was possible.
    I suppose it is possible that Nanette kills Void before Emily fights Nanette to the death, but that seems somewhat unlikely.

  30. William Ameling May 9, 2020 at 5:28 am #

    Maybe Nanette resorts to Necromancy to defeat Void and then try to defeat Emily. It would certainly fit in with the rest of the series. Nanette knows nothing about how Emily has defeated so many Necromancers, and might resort to it as her only way to win against Void and Emily.

    It is certainly a better plot path than Emily killing Void. After due consideration of the idea, I hope that this how things play out over the next couple of Books.

    Maybe Nanette can guide or trick Simon into using Necromancy against Emily and or Void. Simon uses Necromancy to kill Void, is defeated by Emily, and then finally Emily fights Nanette, who might also use Necromancy against Emily.

    What do you think of that plot line for the next several books? Void might or might not be Nanette’s master in this plot line, although being being Nanette’s Master still seems more likely. Perhaps Nanette turns against Void (using Necromancy) when she realizes that Void favors Emily over Nanette at the end of Emily’s training.

    There are are various possible paths, but I think that Necromancy lies along all of them.

  31. William Ameling May 9, 2020 at 5:33 am #

    Simon as a Necromancer seems particularly likely to me as a tool of Nanette.

  32. William Ameling May 9, 2020 at 5:51 am #

    The real question for me is whether Void will still be alive when it is all done. Probably not, but maybe he retires and leaves it all to Emily to take care while he ONLY studies magic for the rest of his life.

  33. Boobah May 21, 2020 at 12:33 am #

    Is Emily a special kind of stupid? Void says: “I don’t want to solve this my way; I want to see what you can come up with. In fact, I’m not even going to tell you the problem, just drop you into the situation, because I want this to be all you.”

    Emily’s reaction on discovering the problem: “Clearly, this is actually an overt test of character, and he wants me to show I can kick puppies for a good cause!”

    I blame Barb.

  34. Andreas May 25, 2020 at 12:05 pm #

    I really like your SIM-Books, but one thing, which seems to get stronger and more 4-wall-breaking or killing my suspension of disbelief as the series continues to go on, are the pop-cultural things she mentioned from old earth. Like she mentions and even cites Game of Thrones. Come on. She was a teenage girl who was abduceted in 2013/14? She is now for over 6 years in the nameless world. Often times, when she makes a pop cultural reference to the real world, it just takes me out of the novel, because than it pops into my mind “Would Emily really would have thought that?” – it feels more of an author insert than something the character would really cite. I think the rest of the book is really great but this are just some little things that take me right out of the story because they feel to me out of character.

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