The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #1)by Michael Scott
Nicholas Flamel appeared in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter—but did you know he really lived? And he might still be alive today! Discover the truth in Michael Scott’s New York Times bestselling series the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel with The Alchemyst, book one.
The truth: Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on September 28, 1330.
The legend: Nicholas Flamel discovered the secret of eternal life.
The records show that he died in 1418.
But his tomb is empty.
Nicholas Flamel lives. But only because he has been making the elixir of life for centuries.
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. 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.
“[A] A riveting fantasy…While there is plenty here to send readers rushing to their encyclopedias…those who read the book at face value will simply be caught up in the enthralling story. A fabulous read.”—SLJ, Starred
Read the whole series!
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
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.
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
“[A] riveting fantasy . . . fabulous read.” —School Library Journal, Starred
“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
Read an Excerpt
“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
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.
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.
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.
Meet the Author
Michael Scott is the New York Times bestselling author of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, an authority on mythology and folklore, and one of Ireland’s most successful authors. A master of fantasy, science fiction, horror, and folklore, Michael has been hailed by the Irish Times as “the King of Fantasy in these isles.” The Alchemyst is the first book in the Nicholas Flamel series. Look for book two, The Magician; book three, The Sorceress; book four, The Necromancer; book five, The Warlock; and book six, The Enchantress, all available from Delacorte Press. You can follow Michael Scott on Twitter @flameauthor and visit him at DillonScott.com.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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My girlfriend knew I was a HUGE Harry Potter fan and she saw these books online. She decided to buy the three books that were out for me. I began to read The Alchemyst and must admit, at first I was a little turned off and not sure I wanted to finish the book. It was dwelling a lot on pop culture like the new batman movies and cell phone and lap tops. Knowing my girlfriend would be disappointed should I not read all the books, I pressed on. Once the story started unfolding I got more and more into it and realized the pop culture references began to symbolize the link to the real world and became pretty important. The book became fast paced and really interesting. Scott does a great job connecting all sorts of real mythology and legends from around the world and brings them in as this connected universe. I spent a ton of time looking up characters, monsters and locations online just to see if the things they mentioned were real (well... really myths and legends). The Alchemyst is probably the least enjoyable in the series, but thats not bad, it just leads into some even more fast paced and epic stories that are the sequels. Scott's stories(just like JK Rowling did with the HP series) become more and more complex and well written, they just get better and better. I can't wait to read the remaining books as well as see the upcoming film adaptations.
I never thought that any book could ever be as nail-biting as this one. The Alchemyst is a little bit boring in the beginning, but it drags you in deep. Once you pick up this book, you can't stop reading. I have always admired fantasies, like Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, this book beats all of them put together. I hope all you read this love it as much as I did. And check out the sequel The Magician!
I accidentally got this book, but decided to try it out anyway. The first few pages of this book are absolutely horrendous. The storytelling is stiff and the action scene in the beginning is about as interesting as watching grass grow. It gets better though. Much better. Rather quickly, the rigid storytelling smooths out and the pages begin to flow. Sprinkled throughout the book are plenty of gods and goddesses (mainly goddesses) that I've never heard of before. And by the end of the book I was very glad that I read it. The only cons are a dull and rather stiff beginning, a gaping plot hole (that will probably be addressed), an irritating main character (*cough* Josh *cough*), and the fact that the book, during the first hundred pages or so, tries too hard to pander to teenagers. Other than that I would really recommend it. If you are looking to start a new series, then try this book out. Believe me; it gets better!
Two twins can change the world, but little do they realize their whole lives are about to change when Dr. Dee walks into the bookstore where Josh works. Sophie, who works across the street, senses something suspicious after watching the strange man.
After a magical fight that involves both siblings, they discover Josh's boss isn't exactly who he's claiming to be.
He is in fact the famous Nicolas Flamel, whose tomb lies empty. He and his wife have been on the run to escape Dr. Dee's clutches and hide a magical book, which holds more secrets than anyone imagines. When Dr Dee captures Nicholas's wife and part of the book, Nicholas reacts quickly. Since the twins have already been exposed, he allows them to accompany him as he sets forth to recover both Perry and the book.
Michael Scott pens the first novel in a new series with action-packed adventure and fantasy. Harry Potter fans will, of course, recognize the name Nicholas Flamel, but that's where the similarities between the two stories end. THE ALCHEMYST delivers a fresh spin on magic that is sure to please.
I read the review here. Then I started reading the first few chapters at the store before I bought it because I am quite a picky reader. It is very well written. Best of all, it drew me in right away. I got the book and finished reading in 3 days.
The author managed to tie historical events, both historical and mythical figures, and real places in a creative way around the fictional teenage characters, Sophia and Josh. In addition to the rich characters, the places mentioned in the book allow my imagination to go wild with a sense of realism. The author writes well without too wordy but yet managed to include all the necessary details and vivid descriptions - which is difficult to achieve in any good fictional writing.
In terms of the richness of the characters and the fictional settings, I'd placed this book (this series) between Harry Potter and LOTR.
I finished the 2nd book in the series, "The Magician" in 2 weeks (part time reading). I can't wait for the next book and the subsequent ones to be released.
- A 30-Yr-Old-Grown-Up who Likes Good Fictions + All-Time Michael Crichton's + Some Amy Tan's
When I started to read these books I bought it at the airport thinking that it would keep me till I landed and it did!! I do have to say it just doesn't ease it's way in to the climax like most other books that I have read. THIS BOOK just threw me into the mix. It took mythology and other things I already knew about and put it into a great story, I was stuck on the series and kept reading up till two in the morning seeing what would happen next. The book brings a lot of mythology and other things into the story and that is what makes it very exciting.
I love this book. but I have to admit that the first few chapters were boring but later on in the story, I got hooked to it and got so addicted. Trust me, once you start reading on to the book, you will get so hooked, that you wont be able to put the book down.So if you haven't read this book yet, go out there and buy it. also, when you finish the book, I assure you that you will be begging for the next book in the series. If you are wondering the next book in the series is The Magician. I haven't read The Magician yet, but I cant wait to buy it, read it, then see if it is as good as the first book. The Alchemist is the best book I have ever read in my entire life (so far).
This book enticed me to read the series and I am on edge just like with the Harry Potter series I strongly suggest you read this book!
The plot was exciting as well as th fantasy in this. It has gods from every culture like mars
This book uses mythology, but in a 21st century setting using ipods, cell phones, etc. The main characters are Sophie and Josh Newman. I recommend this book to anyone who likes action and adventure.
This book is much more sophisticated than Harry Potter. The story is great and delves into mythology, horror and science fiction. The author does an excellent job of describing the shadow relms and mythical creatures and relating them to the present. Read or listen to this book (the audio version is amazing) and you will want to read the next 2 books to see how it all works out for Sophie and Josh.
The book was good, but certain parts were very frustrating to read. I'm not exactly the target audience (28) but I kept focusing on inconsistencies that made this difficult to push through.
There was a lot of extraneous detail provided that just didn't really seem pertinent to certain situations. It seems like the author talked about laptops/cell phones way too much, like he was trying too hard to connect with the younger generation. Pacing is thrown way off periodically, with long discussions or people doing stupid things when they should be frantically running for their lives etc. Josh says a LOT of really stupid, lame jokes at the wrong times. Somehow, when they are "grabbing their things" Josh is able to take the time to pull out his computer and do a bunch of internet searches. And Altavista? No one uses that anymore.
The brother/sister thing is creepy. They touch each other WAY too much. It's just gross. They're always holding hands and touching shoulders... it just seems a little too much. Maybe some kids are like that, but wow. Also, Josh is a football jock who is also a video gamer / computer expert? Seems like he's a little too specialized in too many areas to be realistic.
There are inconsistencies that I would think an editor who read the book ONCE would catch. Scathach tells the kids to not go outside, because dangerous things are out there. Stay in your room. Well, the kids go outside and then "realize that there were dangerous things out there", Umm, it just hurts my head sometimes.
I'm still trying to push through the book. It seems to get better as it goes on (I'm 3/5 through or so), like the editor skipped over the first half. I guess sometimes successful authors just need to push material out and the quality isn't checked enough.
Again, I'm not quite the right target audience, so some may not notice the same things I do. However, certain components of the story seem quite juvenile while other seems quite adult, so I'm not really sure where to place this.
Really great book couldn't put it down.
Very interesting if you like the Harry Potter series and the Septimus Heap series :)
I love the concept of Alchemy, and was immediately drawn to this book. I expected a lot - and they were smashed. Very well done book, and I love how richly the author incorporated mythology, history and present day culture. Literally the only gripe I would have about this is the science behind it - because often the author would describe something scientific, but a bit inaccurately. I think this is justified, because the author did not want to make things overly scientific. Despite that minor gripe, I was able to suspend my disbelief simply from the superb writing from Scott. I would highly recommend this book.
Only 5 pages and you're already hooked within seconds! It's a must!
Look ive read a lot and i mean A TON ive read the whole percy jackson series in a week. I read this book in a day its so good. Its an AMAZING book
I've read three of this series and greatly enjoyed each one. I love the characters and all the mythology.
Michael Scott has created a magical fantasy world that is filled with characters that are interesting, well-developed, and extremely engaging. He's blended reality with myth in such a skillful way that the story captivates the readers from beginning to end. You will be reading this almost greedily, turning page after page to see what happens next. There isn't a dull moment in this book. If you enjoy history, mythology, fantasy, science-fiction, then you are in for a treat.
I though this book was amazing. it was really fast paced and you never got bored. This book is really good if you like a fast paced action sdventure or if you like aceint gods/ goddeses. it seemed this book just keep getting more interesting and didnt even slow down on the last page.
Where to begin. At first I wasn't sure if I would like this book. I don't think I have ever loved a book so much! I saw, felt, heard, smelt, and even tasted everything the characters did. At the end of the book I was actually crying because I didn't have the next book at my side, like I normally do when i'm close to finishing a book. Anyone who loves a good action, adventure, and suspenseful book, will love this book!
Great book! I read the entire series and loved how all of the details came together
I totally reccomend this book. I have it at home. Its wonderful. I luv it. At the library booksale i wasnt sure but then i couldnt keep my nose out of it and you wont be able to either.
Its the best book ever that talks about magic and myths (rick riodion and micheal scott are neck and neck now)
This series brings magic, myth and history to life, literally, in the new tradition of Rowling, Riordan amd company, in a fresh way that keeps you reading from book one to six!