The Alchemyst:
The Secrets of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel
Michael Scott

Delacorte Press
Hardcover/304 pages
ISBN: 978-0-385-73357-1
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". . . groundbreaking, must-read fantasy."

Banished into the mists of fantasy and legend, The Dark Elder Gods have come back to reclaim their world. This time they have help.

Fraternal twins Josh and Sophie Newman gave up an archaeological dig in Utah with their parents to stay in San Francisco with their aunt in order to save enough money to buy a car. They know they will be bored, but having their own car is worth it.

Josh works for Nick and Perry Fleming in an antique bookshop across from The Coffee Cup where Sophie works. On an ordinary summer day, their lives change as a small dark man in a limousine emerges in the company of three strange men wearing heavy overcoats in the heat. The air is suddenly filled with the smell of mint and rotten eggs. Josh emerges from the basement into a battle of what looks like magic that destroys the quiet and dusty shop.

Across the street, Sophie and Perry Fleming watch as the windows of the bookshop explode in a shower of glass. Perry recognizes the strange figures in heavy overcoats as Golems, men made of mud and clay. She looses her black hair from its intricate braid as she rushes to the rescue. Sophie runs after her, afraid for her brother. The small dark man captures Perry and Sophie. Josh finds himself on the run with Nick Fleming. They have only two pages, two very important pages, of a book that could unleash dread powers into the world, a book that predicts the coming of twins with unbelievable power: one to save and one to destroy the world. Everything they thought they knew, about the world and about themselves, is about to change, and they are running out of time.

Dipping into ancient and not so ancient mythology, Michael Scott creates an epic tale in The Alchemyst, the first in a new fantasy series that gets off to an exciting start. Mingling philosophy, history, and legend, Scott walks a fine line between the implausible and the realistic without straying into old and well-traveled territory. The Alchemyst is just the right blend of fantasy without veering into the ridiculous. This story is fresh and new. There are familiar elements: prophecies, arcane books, young people unaware of powerful gifts, and a struggle between dark and light. But that is where the similarities end.

Scott’s characters are well-grounded and believable, even when they venture off the paved modern roads and into shadowy realms where logic and electricity don’t work. Good and evil are not so clearly defined, and it is anybody’s guess which side will – and should – win in the end. The Alchemyst is groundbreaking, must-read fantasy.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell