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Albert is a bright boy—a quality much despised in Ithaca, New York—a gritty town at the edge of the frontier. Desperate to belong, he fails repeatedly to prove himself worth his salt, until a captivating stranger offers a new future—that of a respectable scholar in New York City. His new mentor, however, is Edward Rulloff, an accomplished physician, lawyer, linguist fluent in 27 languages—and serial killer. 


Soon caught up in an epic test of loyalty and betrayal, Albert must wrestle with the meaning of justice, and decide for himself whether Rulloff is a genius or a madman—all while trying to survive his thrilling, shameful, and dangerous adventures. 


Based on the true story that riveted the 19th-century world, this novel won the 2022 IRDA Historical Fiction Award, was an Eric Hoffer Finalist, and was awarded an Indie BRAG Medallion. A must-read for anyone who enjoys Erik Larson, Lindsay Faye or Robert McCammon.

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"Grabbed Me On Page One"

Lolly WinstonNew York Times bestselling author

“THE PRISONER'S APPRENTICE ... swept me up into a rich tapestried world of mystery and intrigue that kept me turning page after page well into the night. Cheyenne Richards writes with such clarity and beauty that this novel cartwheels along, raising questions, and opening up a world that is sure to delight book clubs.”

"Completely Riveting Storytelling"

Ellen SussmanNew York Times bestselling author

“This novel marks the debut of a gifted new writer. In THE PRISONER'S APPRENTICE, Cheyenne Richards tells the astonishing story of a young boy who befriends a brilliant murderer in 1846. She writes with a fresh voice that is both energetic and engaging. The story is part thriller, part psychological study — and completely riveting storytelling.”

"Darkly Poetic Novel"

Indie Reader

"THE PRISONER’S APPRENTICE, by Cheyenne Richards, is the perfect book for fans of psychological dramas. This true crime story involves an 1800’s genius serial killer and his young mentee. This darkly poetic novel will captivate readers from beginning to end with a compelling plot and rich, in-depth characterizations."

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About the Author

Cheyenne Richards loves everything on the planet except Swiss cheese. As much a paradox as her characters, she’s a polka-dot-loving tomboy and a Palo Alto native drawn to the past as much as the future. 

She's lived in California, Australia, Singapore, and most recently Mexico aboard a small sailboat named Pristine. Cheyenne is also the great-great-grand-niece of Edward Rulloff.

The Prisoner’s Apprentice is her first novel.

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