VOYA - Jan Chapman
Twin magicians-in-training Josh and Sophie Newman return in this sequel to The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel (Delacorte, 2007/VOYA June 2007). After fleeing California at the conclusion of the first book, they end up in Paris, accompanied by their allies, the immortal magician Nicholas Flamel, and vampire/warrior-extraordinaire Scatty. In hot pursuit of Flamel and the twins is the sinister Dr. John Dee, aided by some powerful new allies. Although Sophie's magical powers have been awakened, Josh has not had a chance to arouse his own powers, leading to his growing jealousy of Sophie. This conflict brings him closer to Dee, who hopes to unleash Josh's powers and then manipulate him into working against Flamel. Add a scattering of plot twists and turns, some horrifying otherworld monsters, and an all-out battle between good and the result has the makings of a highly entertaining fantasy. To his credit, the author successfully weaves together the many plot threads that go into this intricate and skillfully written fantasy. Although the novel is essentially plot driven, the book's characters are well developed and engaging. The addition of historical figures in the story, such as Niccolo Machiavelli and Joan of Arc, add an appealing intrigue to the book. Teens who like fast-paced fantasies with lots of action, like Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl books or Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series are sure to enjoy this new addition to the genre. Reviewer: Jan Chapman
School Library Journal
Flamel and company return in this fast-paced follow-up to The Alchemyst (Delacorte, 2007). The immortal human Nicholas Flamel; Scathach, the veggie vampire warrior; and the mortal twins of legend, Josh and Sophie, are still on the run from the malicious Dr. John Dee. Flamel retains two of the pages of the legendary Book of Abraham, and Dee will do anything to get them. After hopping a ley line to Paris, our heroes barely escape the machinations of Dee's partner in crime, Niccolò Machiavelli. While finding shelter with fellow immortals (Joan of Arc turns out to be a particularly helpful ally), Josh attempts to deal with the fact that his twin sister is now incredibly powerful. Having had her powers "awakened," Sophie's new abilities make him surprisingly jealous-a fact that Dee may find useful. Scott tapers down the sheer breadth of gods, goddesses, legends, and myths already introduced in his first novel, which is a bit of a relief. Even though the plot moves forward at breakneck speed, the author is careful not to lose sight of his characters' struggles or inner demons. Fans of the previous novel will certainly find much to love, root for, and fear in this successful second installment.-Elizabeth Bird, New York Public Library
The headlong magical adventure begun in The Alchemyst (2007) shifts from California to Paris. There the gifted but untrained twins Josh and Sophie meet a further array of immortal friends and foes-"human, inhuman, and abhuman"-from history and legend, including but not limited to Joan of Arc, Niccolo Machiavelli, valkyries, the giant reptilian Nidhogg and all of the gargoyles and grotesques of Notre Dame brought to life. Though Scott's efforts to blur the line between Bad Guys and Good seem occasionally labored (particularly Josh's stubborn suspicions about Flamel's motives in the face of continual evidence to the contrary), readers will be swept up by a plot that moves smartly along, leaving a wide trail of destruction and well-timed revelations. Uncharacteristic in a middle volume, things are looking up at the end for the twins: Sophie has learned Fire Magic, Josh's powers are Awakened at last (though at an ominously unspecified price) and back in California Flamel's brilliant wife Pernelle has escaped imprisonment. Stay tuned. (Fantasy. 11-13)
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
Read an Excerpt
The charity auction hadn’t started until well after midnight, when the gala dinner had ended. It was almost four in the morning and the auction was only now drawing to a close. A digital display behind the celebrity auctioneer—an actor who had played James Bond on-screen for many years—showed the running total at more than one million euro.
“Lot number two hundred and ten: a pair of early- nineteenth-century Japanese Kabuki masks.”
A ripple of excitement ran through the crowded room. Inlaid with chips of solid jade, the Kabuki masks were the highlight of the auction and were expected to fetch in excess of half a million euro.
At the back of the room the tall, thin man with the fuzz of close-cropped snow white hair was prepared to pay twice that.
Niccolò Machiavelli stood apart from the rest of the crowd, arms lightly folded across his chest, careful not to wrinkle his Savile Row–tailored black silk tuxedo. Stone gray eyes swept over the other bidders, analyzing and assessing them. There were really only five others he needed to look out for: two private collectors like himself, a minor European royal, a once-famous American movie actor and a Canadian antiques dealer. The remainder of the audience were tired, had spent their budget or were unwilling to bid on the vaguely disturbing-looking masks.
Machiavelli loved all types of masks. He had been collecting them for a very long time, and he wanted this particular pair to complete his collection of Japanese theater costumes. These masks had last come up for sale in 1898 in Vienna, and he had then been outbid by a Romanov prince. Machiavelli had patiently bided his time; the masks would come back on the market again when the Prince and his descendents died. Machiavelli knew he would still be around to buy them; it was one of the many advantages of being immortal.
“Shall we start the bidding at one hundred thousand euro?”
Machiavelli looked up, caught the auctioneer’s attention and nodded.
The auctioneer had been expecting his bid and nodded in return. “I am bid one hundred thousand euro by Monsieur Machiavelli. Always one of this charity’s most generous supporters and sponsors.”
A smattering of applause ran around the room, and several people turned to look at him and raise their glasses. Niccolò acknowledged them with a polite smile.
“Do I have one hundred and ten?” the auctioneer asked.
One of the private collectors raised his hand slightly.
“One-twenty?” The auctioneer looked back to Machiavelli, who immediately nodded.
Within the next three minutes, a flurry of bids brought the price up to two hundred and fifty thousand euro. There were only three serious bidders left: Machiavelli, the American actor and the Canadian.
Machiavelli’s thin lips twisted into a rare smile; his patience was about to be rewarded, and finally the masks would be his. Then the smile faded as he felt the cell phone in his back pocket buzz silently. For an instant he was tempted to ignore it; he’d given his staff strict instructions that he was not to be disturbed unless it was absolutely critical. He also knew they were so terrified of him that they would not phone unless it was an emergency. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the ultraslim phone and glanced down.
A picture of a sword pulsed gently on the large LCD screen.
Machiavelli’s smile vanished. In that second he knew he was not going to be able to buy the Kabuki masks this century. Turning on his heel, he strode out of the room and pressed the phone to his ear. Behind him, he could hear the auctioneer’s hammer hit the lectern “Sold. For two hundred and sixty thousand euro . . .”
“I’m here,” Machiavelli said, reverting to the Italian of his youth.
The line crackled and an English-accented voice responded in the same language, using a dialect that had not been heard in Europe for more than four hundred years. “I need your help.”
The man on the other end of the line didn’t identify himself, nor did he need to; Machiavelli knew it was the immortal magician and necromancer Dr. John Dee, one of the most powerful and dangerous men in the world.
Niccolò Machiavelli strode out of the small hotel into the broad cobbled square of the Place du Tertre and stopped to breathe in the chill night air. “What can I do for you?” he asked cautiously. He detested Dee and knew the feeling was mutual, but they both served the Dark Elders, and that meant they had been forced to work together down through the centuries. Machiavelli was also slightly envious that Dee was younger than he—and looked it. Machiavelli had been born in Florence in 1469, which made him fifty-eight years older than the English Magician. History recorded that he had died in the same year that Dee had been born, 1527.
“Flamel is back in Paris.”
Machiavelli straightened. “When?”
“Just now. He got there through a leygate. I’ve no idea where it comes out. He’s got Scathach with him. . . .”
Machiavelli’s lips curled into an ugly grimace. The last time he’d encountered the Warrior, she’d pushed him through a door. It had been closed at the time, and he’d spent weeks picking splinters from his chest and shoulders.
“There are two humani children with him. Americans,” Dee said, his voice echoing and fading on the transatlantic line. “Twins,” he added.
“Say again?” Machiavelli asked.
“Twins,” Dee added, “with pure gold and silver auras. You know what that means,” he snapped.
“Yes,” Machiavelli muttered. It meant trouble. Then the tiniest of smiles curled his thin lips. It could also mean opportunity.
Static crackled and then Dee’s voice continued. “The girl’s powers were Awakened by Hekate before the Goddess and her Shadowrealm were destroyed.”
“Untrained, the girl is no threat,” Machiavelli murmured, quickly assessing the situation. He took a breath and added, “Except perhaps to herself and those around her.”
“Flamel took the girl to Ojai. There, the Witch of Endor instructed her in the Magic of Air.”
“No doubt you tried to stop them?” There was a hint of amusement in Machiavelli’s voice.
“Tried. And failed,” Dee admitted bitterly. “The girl has some knowledge but is without skill.”
“What do you want me to do?” Machiavelli asked carefully, although he already had a very good idea.
“Find Flamel and the twins,” Dee demanded. “Capture them. Kill Scathach if you can. I’m just leaving Ojai. But it’s going to take me fourteen or fifteen hours to get to Paris.”
“What happened to the leygate?” Machiavelli wondered aloud. If a leygate connected Ojai and Paris, then why didn’t Dee . . . ?
“Destroyed by the Witch of Endor,” Dee raged, “and she nearly killed me, too. I was lucky to escape with a few cuts and scratches,” he added, and then ended the call without saying good-bye.
Niccolò Machiavelli closed his phone carefully and tapped it against his bottom lip. Somehow he doubted that Dee had been lucky—if the Witch of Endor had wanted him dead, then even the legendary Dr. Dee would not have escaped. Machiavelli turned and walked across the square to where his driver was patiently waiting with the car. If Flamel, Scathach and the American twins had come to Paris via a leygate, then there were only a few places in the city where they could have emerged. It should be relatively easy to find and capture them.
And if he could capture them tonight, then he would have plenty of time to work on them before Dee arrived.
Machiavelli smiled; he’d only need a few hours, and in that time they would tell him everything they knew. Half a millennium on this earth had taught him how to be very persuasive indeed.
From the Hardcover edition.