The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #1)

The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #1)

4.3 1387
by Michael Scott
     
 

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Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on 28 September 1330. Nearly seven hundred years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest Alchemyst of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life. The records show that he died in 1418. But his tomb is empty and Nicholas Flamel lives. The secret of eternal life is hidden within the book he protects - the Book… See more details below

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Overview

Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on 28 September 1330. Nearly seven hundred years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest Alchemyst of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life. The records show that he died in 1418. But his tomb is empty and Nicholas Flamel lives. The secret of eternal life is hidden within the book he protects - the Book of Abraham the Mage. It's the most powerful book that has ever existed. In the wrong hands, it will destroy the world. And that's exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals it. Humankind won't know what's happening until it's too late. And if the prophecy is right, Sophie and Josh Newman are the only ones with the power to save the world as we know it. Sometimes legends are true. And Sophie and Josh Newman are about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Twin 15-year-old siblings Sophie and Josh Newman take summer jobs in San Francisco across the street from one another: she at a coffee shop, he at a bookstore owned by Nick and Perry Fleming. In the vey first chapter, armed goons garbed in black with "dead-looking skin and... marble eyes" (actually Golems) storm the bookshop, take Perry hostage and swipe a rare Book (but not before Josh snatches its two most important pages). The stolen volume is the Codex, an ancient text of magical wisdom. Nick Fleming is really Nicholas Flamel, the 14th-century alchemist who could turn base metal into gold, and make a potion that ensures immortality. Sophie and Josh learn that they are mentioned in the Codex's prophecies: "The two that are one will come either to save or to destroy the world." Mayhem ensues, as Irish author Scott draws on a wide knowledge of world mythology to stage a battle between the Dark Elders and their hired gun—Dr. John Dee—against the forces of good, led by Flamel and the twins (Sophie's powers are "awakened" by the goddess Hekate, who'd been living in an elaborate treehouse north of San Francisco). Not only do they need the Codex back to stop Dee and company, but the immortality potion must be brewed afresh every month. Time is running out, literally, for the Flamels. Proceeding at a breakneck pace, and populated by the likes of werewolves and vampires, the novel ends on a precipice, presumably to be picked up in volume two. Ages 12-up. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
Fifteen-year-old twins Josh and Sophie Newman are spending the summer in San Francisco with their aunt while their parents are away on yet another archaeological dig. Because they have moved so often and their parents are wrapped up in their teaching and field work, Josh and Sophie have come to rely almost exclusively on one another. This summer, they are working just across the street from each other, Josh in a bookstore and Sophie in a tea shop, trying save enough money to buy a car. One day, a black limousine pulls up in front of the bookstore and several very large men in heavy overcoats emerge. The men are seriously overdressed for the summer weather, thinks Sophie, who is watching all this from the tea shop. Suddenly, events and windows explode: the wife of the bookstore owner is kidnapped by the men from the car, an ancient metal-bound book is stolen, and Sophie and Josh must run for their lives with the bookstore owner, Nick Fleming. Incredibly, Fleming reveals that he is the famous alchemist, Nicholas Flamel. He and his kidnapped wife were born more than 500 years ago, and he was the guardian of the book that just got stolen, The Book of Abraham the Mage. Not only does the book hold the key to the survival of the human race, but Flamel believes the twins appear in its prophecies and that the thief, his arch-enemy John Dee, will stop at nothing to get his hands on them. For two children raised by scientists, the adventures that follow go from bizarre to unbelievable. They partner or battle with creatures they never imagined really existed outside of legends or computer games. Filled with a wild cast of characters, some historically-based and some based on the myths ofmany different cultures, this is a non-stop adventure that will appeal to any reader with an interest in fantasy. In this engaging tale, Michael Scott, a prolific Irish author of children's and young adult books that frequently unite elements of myth and modern times, leaves the reader eager for more.
VOYA - Jan Chapman
Nicholas Flamel is a legend. Seven hundred years ago, he was the greatest alchemist of his day because he possessed a secret formula guaranteeing him immortality. The formula is hidden in the Book of Abraham the Mage, an ancient book of magic that Flamel is sworn to protect. The book is also coveted by his most feared enemy, the evil sorcerer Dr. John Dee. Dee has forged an alliance with the Dark Elders, members of a race of godlike beings that roamed the earth long before humans. With the book in their possession, they can return the Dark Elders to power and enslave the human race. But Flamel has a secret weapon in teenaged twins Sophie and Josh, who have untapped powers that might be the only hope for the human race. This crackerjack fantasy presents a wonderful array of magical creatures: mud golems, were-creatures, and a delightfully punk female vampire warrior named Scathach. The plot zings along at a satisfying pace with enough battles and magic to satisfy the most jaded teen fantasy fans. Yet it is not just a plot-driven fantasy-Sophie and Josh are fully realized characters who engage the reader with their struggle to comprehend the terrible implications of their newfound powers. Teens who enjoy fantasy, particularly fantasy that is not burdened with endless characters and plot lines, will devour this entertaining new offering to the genre.
KLIATT - Lesley Farmer
Bookseller Nicholas Flamel looks pretty good for his nearly 700 years. He owns the Book of Abraham the Mage. Filled with formulas to transform and heal, including changing ordinary metal into gold, it had instructions on how to stay alive perpetually. To keep his cover and not arouse suspicion, Flamel has worked over the centuries as a teacher, an officer, an alchemist, even a thief. Unfortunately, he still has troubles in contemporary San Francisco: his wife Perenelle has been kidnapped by his nemesis Dr. Dee, and golems have destroyed his bookstore to steal the magic-filled Codex. An unlikely pair of teenaged twins gets involved in this crisis. Josh works part-time with Nick, whom he considers a second father, and his sister Sophie works across the street as a barista. Sophie witnesses the attack, and Josh rips two pages out of the book as the golems wrestle him for it. That gesture saves the day, but the lives of Josh and Nick are now in constant danger. Furthermore, without the Book, Nick and his kidnapped wife start to age: a year each day. The twins know nothing about Nick's past or powers. Neither do the two realize that they are mentioned in the Book. Sophie has a silver aura, and Josh has a gold one; the Book states, "one will save the world and the other will destroy it." In order to help Nick, his wife and comrades, the twins are to be "awakened" to their full potential. Nick is astounded when he witnesses Sophie being transformed so that all her senses are heightened to include the world that most people do not realize: the world of spirits and other magic. Before he can be transformed too, Dee and his legions attack in full force. Although Nick's band escapes, Dee intendsto "awaken" Josh himself, to help destroy the world. Who will survive? This fantasy tale explores the issues of good and evil, which can be deceiving to the eye, as well as trust and loyalty. Some of the non-human characters are a bit hard to decipher, but the action-packed story carries the reader along willingly. The ending is just-for-the-moment with a clear sense that another volume (or two) is forthcoming. Many ends remain to be developed and tied. There's a potential movie here.
School Library Journal

Gr 6-9
Medieval alchemist Nicholas Flamel resides in modern day San Francisco as an antique bookseller, but his quiet life is turned upside down when the evil sorcerer, John Dee, arrives with his golem henchmen to abduct Flamel's wife and to steal a powerful tome, the Book of Abraham the M age. Teen twins Sophie and Josh, caught in the magical crossfire, accompany Flamel and are introduced to a mystical world of adventure neither can imagine. Michael Scott's novel (Delacorte, 2007) comes to life in this audio presentation. Narrator Denis O'Hare expertly shifts between exotic accents and conveys the urgency in the many action scenes. This title will have wide appeal to fans of fantasy literature and those interested in Medieval history, and it has enough action to hold the interest of reluctant readers. A few pop culture references will date it. Listeners will be enthralled.
—Ryan HenryCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
This first in a planned series borrows characters from history, legend and mythology, but is set in modern time. The juxtaposition of our reality with magic and myth is riveting if one is willing to overlook one tiny glitch in the design. History's greatest alchemist, Nicholas Flamel, has been guardian of a magical book, The Codex, for eons. The Codex contains the secret of eternal youth and keeps the ancient, dark "Elder Race" from world dominion; representing the Elders is a devious human, Dee. Caught in the middle of the age-old struggle are teen twins Sophie and Josh. They are accidental participants in Dee's attempt to steal the Codex and destroy Flamel and his wife (but if they have been mixing this formula for eons, why do they need the recipe?) It gradually becomes clear, though, that Sophie and Josh hold potentially great powers and play an essential role in fulfilling a prophecy foretold in the Codex. The lines between good and evil blur when Sophie's magical powers are awakened, but Josh's are not. The story moves breathlessly fast, with riotous confrontations featuring beasts, Egyptian gods, witches and the walking dead. By the last page of this exhilarating journey, it's delightfully clear that the ending is merely the beginning. (Fiction. 11-15)
From the Publisher
Praise for The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series:
 
A New York Times Bestseller
A USA Today Bestseller
An Indie Next List Selection
A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
An IRA Young Adult Choice Book
An IRA Children’s Choice Winner
 
[STAR] “[A] riveting fantasy . . . fabulous read.” —School Library Journal, Starred
 
[STAR] “Readers will be swept up.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred
 
“Fans of adventure fantasies like Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series will eat this one up.” —VOYA
 
“An exciting and impeccably thought-out fantasy, well-suited for those left in the lurch by Harry Potter’s recent exeunt.” —Booklist

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375843174
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
05/22/2007
Series:
Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Series , #1
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
18,060
Lexile:
890L (what's this?)
File size:
4 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

“OK—answer me this: why would anyone want to wear an overcoat in San Francisco in the middle of summer?” Sophie Newman pressed her fingers against the Bluetooth earpiece as she spoke.

On the other side of the continent, her fashion-conscious friend Elle inquired matter-of-factly, “What sort of coat?”

Wiping her hands on the cloth tucked into her apron strings, Sophie moved out from behind the counter of the empty coffee shop and stepped up to the window, watching men emerge from the car across the street. “Heavy black wool overcoats. They’re even wearing black gloves and hats. And sunglasses.” She pressed her face against the glass. “Even for this city, that’s just a little too weird.”

“Maybe they’re undertakers?” Elle suggested, her voice popping and clicking on the cell phone. Sophie could hear something loud and dismal playing in the background— Lacrimosa maybe, or Amorphis. Elle had never quite got over her Goth phase.

“Maybe,” Sophie answered, sounding unconvinced. She’d been chatting on the phone with her friend when, a few moments earlier, she’d spotted the unusual-looking car. It was long and sleek and looked as if it belonged in an old black-and-white movie. As it drove past the window, sunlight reflected off the blacked-out windows, briefly illuminating the interior of the coffee shop in warm yellow-gold light, blinding Sophie. Blinking away the black spots dancing before her eyes, she watched as the car turned at the bottom of the hill and slowly returned. Without signaling, it pulled over directly in front of The Small Book Shop, right across the street.

“Maybe they’re Mafia,” Elle suggested dramatically. “My dad knows someone in the Mafia. But he drives a Prius,” she added.

“This is most definitely not a Prius,” Sophie said, looking again at the car and the two large men standing on the street bundled up in their heavy overcoats, gloves and hats, their eyes hidden behind overlarge sunglasses.

“Maybe they’re just cold,” Elle suggested. “Doesn’t it get cool in San Francisco?”

Sophie Newman glanced at the clock and thermometer on the wall over the counter behind her. “It’s two-fifteen here . . . and eighty-one degrees,” she said. “Trust me, they’re not cold. They must be dying. Wait,” she said, interrupting herself, “something’s happening.”

The rear door opened and another man, even larger than the first two, climbed stiffly out of the car. As he closed the door, sunlight briefly touched his face and Sophie caught a glimpse of pale, unhealthy-looking gray-white skin. She adjusted the volume on the earpiece. “OK. You should see what just climbed out of the car. A huge guy with gray skin. Gray. That might explain it; maybe they have some type of skin condition.”

“I saw a National Geographic documentary about people who can’t go out in the sun . . . ,” Elle began, but Sophie was no longer listening to her.

A fourth figure stepped out of the car.

He was a small, rather dapper-looking man, dressed in a neat charcoal-gray three-piece suit that looked vaguely old-fashioned but that she could tell had been tailor-made for him. His iron gray hair was pulled back from an angular face into a tight ponytail, while a neat triangular beard, mostly black but flecked with gray, concealed his mouth and chin. He moved away from the car and stepped under the striped awning that covered the trays of books outside the shop. When he picked up a brightly colored paperback and turned it over in his hands, Sophie noticed that he was wearing gray gloves. A pearl button at the wrist winked in the light.

“They’re going into the bookshop,” she said into her earpiece.

“Is Josh still working there?” Elle immediately asked.

Sophie ignored the sudden interest in her friend’s voice. The fact that her best friend liked her twin brother was just a little too weird. “Yeah. I’m going to call him to see what’s up. I’ll call you right back.” She hung up, pulled out the earpiece and absently rubbed her hot ear as she stared, fascinated, at the small man. There was something about him . . . something odd. Maybe he was a fashion designer, she thought, or a movie producer, or maybe he was an author—she’d noticed that some authors liked to dress up in peculiar outfits. She’d give him a few minutes to get into the shop, then she’d call her twin for a report.

Sophie was about to turn away when the gray man suddenly spun around and seemed to stare directly at her. As he stood under the awning, his face was in shadow, and yet for just the briefest instant, his eyes looked as if they were glowing.

Sophie knew—just knew—that there was no possible way for the small gray man to see her: she was standing on the opposite side of the street behind a pane of glass that was bright with reflected early-afternoon sunlight. She would be invisible in the gloom behind the glass.

And yet . . .

And yet in that single moment when their eyes met, Sophie felt the tiny hairs on the back of her hands and along her forearms tingle and felt a puff of cold air touch the back of her neck. She rolled her shoulders, turning her head slightly from side to side, strands of her long blond hair curling across her cheek. The contact lasted only a second before the small man looked away, but Sophie got the impression that he had looked directly at her.

In the instant before the gray man and his three overdressed companions disappeared into the bookshop, Sophie decided that she did not like him.

G G G

Peppermint.

And rotten eggs.

“That is just vile.” Josh Newman stood in the center of the bookstore’s cellar and breathed deeply. Where were those smells coming from? He looked around at the shelves stacked high with books and wondered if something had crawled in behind them and died. What else would account for such a foul stink? The tiny cramped cellar always smelled dry and musty, the air heavy with the odors of parched curling paper, mingled with the richer aroma of old leather bindings and dusty cobwebs. He loved the smell; he always thought it was warm and comforting, like the scents of cinnamon and spices that he associated with Christmas.

Peppermint.

Sharp and clean, the smell cut through the close cellar atmosphere. It was the odor of new toothpaste or those herbal teas his sister served in the coffee shop across the road. It sliced though the heavier smells of leather and paper, and was so strong that it made his sinuses tingle; he felt as if he was going to sneeze at any moment. He quickly pulled out his iPod earbuds. Sneezing with headphones on was not a good idea: made your ears pop.

Eggs.

Foul and stinking—he recognized the sulfurous odor of rotten eggs. It blanketed the clear odor of mint . . . and it was disgusting. He could feel the stench coating his tongue and lips, and his scalp began to itch as if something were crawling through it. Josh ran his fingers through his shaggy blond hair and shuddered. The drains must be backing up.

Leaving the earbuds dangling over his shoulders, he checked the book list in his hand, then looked at the shelves again: The Complete Works of Charles Dickens, twenty-seven volumes, red leather binding. Now where was he going to find that?

Josh had been working in the bookshop for nearly two months and still didn’t have the faintest idea where anything was. There was no filing system . . . or rather, there was a system, but it was known only to Nick and Perry Fleming, the owners of The Small Book Shop. Nick or his wife could put their hands on any book in either the shop upstairs or the cellar in a matter of minutes.

A wave of peppermint, immediately followed by rotten eggs, filled the air again; Josh coughed and felt his eyes water. This was impossible! Stuffing the book list into one pocket of his jeans and the headphones into the other, he maneuvered his way through the piled books and stacks of boxes, heading for the stairs. He couldn’t spend another minute down there with the smell. He rubbed the heels of his palms against his eyes, which were now stinging furiously. Grabbing the stair rail, he pulled himself up. He needed a breath of fresh air or he was going to throw up—but, strangely, the closer he came to the top of the stairs, the stronger the odors became.

He popped his head out of the cellar door and looked around.

And in that instant, Josh Newman realized that the world would never be the same again.

From the Hardcover edition.

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