Paris is destroyed, but Nicholas Flamel faces a full brutal round of challenges in this installment of Michael Scott's popular fantasy series. Nicholas is growing weaker, and he knows that he must take Josh and Sophie Newman to London to gather what secrets they can from Gilgamesh the King. There are only two big problems: Gilgamesh is stark raving mad and their path is blocked by those dreaded flesh eaters, the Hooded Ones.
VOYA - Jan Chapman
The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel adventures continue in this latest series installment in which twins Josh and Sophie team up with the immortal magician Nicholas Flamel and his wife Perenelle to battle against the Dark Elders. The Dark Elders and their human servants, Dr. John Dee and Niccolo Machiavelli, are still in pursuit of two pages of a magic book now in Josh and Sophie's possession. These pages contain information that the Elders need to cast a Summoning, a spell that would unloose chaos and destruction upon the human world. In a desperate effort to obtain the pages, Dee and Machiavelli unleash a host of terrifying mythological monsters against the twins and Flamel. They are also waging war on another front against Flamel's wife Perenelle, who is still trapped on the island of Alcatraz. But Josh and Sophie are learning to master their growing power and hold their own against the mighty forces arrayed against them. This third installment continues the successful formula of fast-paced action and nonstop battles. The introduction of new monsters and diabolical enemies on practically every page gets to be a bit exhausting, but the plot manages to hold up nevertheless. One wishes that Scott had spent a bit more time on characterization rather than monster development, but that caveat is minor. Teens familiar with the previous two books or fans of adventure fantasies like Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series will eat this one up. Reviewer: Jan Chapman
Children's Literature - Amie Rose Rotruck
In the third volume of "The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel" we rejoin the twins, Sophie and Josh Newman, after the destruction of Paris. Dr. John Dee is still pursuing Nicholas Flamel and the twins in search of the last pages he needs for the "Final Summoning." Flamel's wife Perenelle is still trapped on Alcatrez, so she is of little help to Flamel and the twins. Sophie keeps finding more and more information and talent from the gifts given to her by the Witch of Endor, but it is not quite enough to allow them to defeat Dee. They finally track down Gilgamesh, one of few people who can teach the twins Water Magic, but will it be enough? The story alternates between the twins and Flamel, Perenelle, and the various villains such as Dee, Machiavelli, and Billy the Kid. People new to the series will have little trouble jumping into this magical revision of our world, and fans are sure to be thrilled with the latest adventures of their old friends as well as meeting some new enemies. Reviewer: Amie Rose Rotruck
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10–The third book takes up immediately where The Magician (Delacorte, 2008) left off, and the events described occur over the course of a week. Having fled a destroyed Paris, Nicolas Flamel and the twins are now in England with their every move being tracked by John Dee, the Dark Elders, and their denizens, who are now convinced that Sophie and Josh are the twins of legend. In the meantime, Flamel’s wife, Perenelle, the titular sorceress, is attempting to escape Alcatraz. Joined first by the knight Palamedes, and then by William Shakespeare, Flamel and the children try to stay ahead of their pursuers in an attempt to reach Stonehenge, where they hope to find a gate that will allow them to get to San Francisco. In the midst of evading pursuit, Josh finally gets the knowledge of an elemental power, Water Magic, from the insane Elder Gilgamesh, which, of course, conveniently becomes valuable. The chase and escape plots are rather thin and highlight the fact that this series feels bloated, and probably doesn’t need the six long volumes the author is planning to tell the story. The inclusion of historical characters such as Shakespeare and Billy the Kid seems primarily a gimmick, and these two characters in particular feel oddly anachronistic. This book is a must-read for fans of the series, but even they will tire if the author doesn’t get to the point with reasonable dispatch.–Tim Wadham, St. Louis County Library, MO
Weaving yet more figures from history and myth into the third of his six-volume fantasy, Scott whisks teenage twins Sophie and Josh to London, the stronghold of archnemesis John Dee, for an encounter with Gilgamesh-a half-senile street bum in this era but a master of Water Magic and the oldest human immortal of them all. The twins feel their ways into new powers in the course of a running battle toward (where else?) Stonehenge with the Horned God, the Wild Hunt and other foes. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, their guardian Flamel's gifted wife Pernelle survives clouds of poisonous insects and attacks from the octopus-legged Old Man of the Sea to escape from Alcatraz Island. Master yarnspinner that he is, Scott expertly cranks up the suspense while keeping his now-large cast in quick motion. He also continues to blur the line between the two sides, injecting notes of ambiguity that will leave readers wondering. Ending in a welter of revelations, reunions and unresolved plotlines, this page-turner promises plenty of action to come. (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
“[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
“I think I see them.”
The young man in the green parka standing directly beneath the huge circular clock in St. Pancras station took the phone away from his ear and checked a blurred image on the screen. The English Magician had sent the image: the picture was grainy, the colors washed and faded, and it looked liked it had been taken from an overhead security camera. It showed an older man with short gray hair, accompanied by two blond-haired teens, climbing onto a train.
Rising up on his toes, the young man swiveled his head, looking for the trio he’d glimpsed. For a moment, he thought he’d lost them in the milling crowd, but even if he had, they wouldn’t get far: one of his sisters was downstairs; another was in the street outside, watching the entrance.
Now, where had the old man and the teenagers gone?
Narrow, pinched nostrils opened wide as the young man sorted through the countless scents in the station. He identified and dismissed the mixed stink of too many humani, the myriad perfumes and deodorants, the gels and pastes, the greasy odor of fried food from the station’s restaurants, the richer aroma of coffee and the metallic oily tang of the train engines and carriages. He closed his eyes and tilted his head back.
The odors he was seeking were older, wilder, unnatural. . . .
Mint: just the merest suggestion.
Orange: no more than the vaguest hint.
Vanilla: little more than a trace.
Hidden behind small rectangular sunglasses, blue-black eyes opened wide and his head swiveled, following the gossamer threads of scent through the vast train station. He had them now!
The gray-haired older man, wearing black jeans and a scuffed leather jacket, was striding down the station concourse directly toward him. There was a small overnight case in his left hand. He was followed by the two teenagers, alike enough to be brother and sister. The boy was taller than the girl, and they were both wearing backpacks.
The young man snapped a quick picture with his cell phone camera and sent it to Dr. John Dee. Although he had nothing but contempt for the English Magician, there was no point in making an enemy of him. Dee was the agent of the most dangerous of all the Elders.
Pulling the hood of his parka over his head, he turned away as the trio drew level with him, and dialed his sister, who was waiting downstairs. “It’s definitely Flamel and the twins,” he murmured into the phone, speaking the ancient language that had eventually become Gaelic. “They’re heading in your direction. We’ll take them when they get onto the Euston Road.”
The young man in the hooded parka set off after the Alchemyst and the American twins. He moved easily through the early-afternoon crowd, looking like just another teenager, anonymous and unnoticed in his sloppy jeans, scuffed sneakers and overlarge coat, his head and face concealed by the hood, his eyes invisible behind the sunglasses.
Despite his form, the young man had never been remotely human. He and his sisters had first come to this land when it was still joined to the European continent, and for generations they had been worshipped as gods. He bitterly resented being ordered about by Dee–who was, after all, nothing more than a humani. But the English Magician had promised the hooded boy a delectable prize: Nicholas Flamel, the legendary Alchemyst. Dee’s instructions were clear; he and his sisters could have Flamel, but the twins must not be touched. The boy’s thin lips twisted. His sisters would take the boy and girl, while he would have the honor of killing Flamel. A coal-black tongue licked cracked dry lips. He and his sisters would feast for weeks. And, of course, they would keep the tastiest morsels for Mother.
Nicholas Flamel slowed, allowing Sophie and Josh to catch up with him. Forcing a smile, he pointed to the thirtyfoot- tall bronze statue of a couple embracing beneath the clock. “It’s called The Meeting Place,” he said loudly, and then added in a whisper, “We’re being followed.” Flamel grasped Josh’s arm with iron-hard fingers. “Don’t even think about turning around.”
“Who?” Sophie asked.
“What?” Josh said tightly. He was feeling nauseated; his newly Awakened senses were overwhelmed by the scents and sounds of the train station. The light was so sharp he wished he had a pair of sunglasses to shield his eyes.
“ ‘What?’ is the better question,” Nicholas said grimly. He raised a finger to point up to the clock, as if he were talking about it. “I’m not sure what it is,” he admitted. “Something ancient. I felt it the moment we stepped off the train.”
“Felt it?” Josh asked.
“A tingle, like an itch. My aura reacted to the aura of whoever–whatever–is here. When you have a little more control of your own auras, you’ll be able to do the same.” Tilting her head back, as if she were admiring the latticework of the metal-and-glass ceiling, Sophie slowly turned.
Crowds swirled around them. Most seemed to be locals, though there were plenty of tourists, many stopping to have their photographs taken in front of The Meeting Place or the huge clock. No one seemed to be paying them any particular attention.
“What can we do?” Josh asked. “I can boost Sophie’s powers. . . .”
“No,” Flamel snapped. “You can only use your powers as an absolute last resort. As soon as you activate your aura, it will alert every Elder, Next Generation and immortal within a ten-mile radius, and here, just about every immortal you encounter is allied to the Dark Elders. Also, in this land, it could awaken others, creatures best left sleeping.”
“But you said we’re being followed,” Sophie protested.
“That means Dee knows we’re here.”
Flamel urged the twins to the left, away from the statue, hurrying them toward the exit. “I would imagine there are watchers in every airport, seaport and railway station across Europe. Although Dee might have suspected that we were heading to London, the instant either of you activates your aura, he’ll know for certain.”
From the Hardcover edition.