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The Enchantress (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 22, 2012

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Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Exclusive: Michael Scott on Nicholas Flamel and The Codex

At the heart of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel is the ancient book, The Codex, the Book of Abraham. The story begins with the theft of the pages from the book and, as the story progresses, it becomes clear that not only have the Flamels and Doctor John Dee fought over the book for centuries, but that the entire adventure really began centuries ago, when Nicholas bought the book from a mysterious one-handed stranger.

Fantasy fiction is filled with magical books and scrolls, most famously, The Necronomicon in the works of H.P. Lovecraft. The extraordinary and shamefully neglected Clark Ashton Smith created The Book of Eibon, while Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan, used the Unaussprechlichen Kulten when he wrote about the Cthulhu Mythos. These are all fictional books--but the Book of Abraham is different. It really existed.

Like everyone else in the series (with the exception of the twins), Nicholas Flamel was a real man and we know quite a bit about him. He was a poor bookseller and a scrivener. He would have bought and sold manuscripts and also made a little extra money writing letters for people who could neither read nor write. In his own diaries, he tells how he bought a 21-page metal-bound book from a mysterious stranger. We even know the price he paid for the book: two florens, and Nicholas leave us a very clear description of it. "It was not made of paper or parchment, as other books are, but of admirable rinds (as it seemed to me) of young trees."

Nicholas goes on to give a very detailed description of each page. The book was written in a language he could not understand, so he and Perenelle, his wife, set out on a journey across Europe looking for someone who could help them translate the mysterious text. According to Flamel's own account, in the south of Spain he met a man called Master Canches who helped him begin the process of translation. Canches explained that this book contained the secret of alchemy and that if Nicholas and Perenelle were prepared to spend the rest of their lives studying it, then it would reveal wonders to them.

What is clear is that by the time the poor bookseller and his wife returned to Paris, they had become phenomenally wealthy. The Flamels put their money to good use and established churches, hospitals and schools and were so well known and beloved in Paris that there are streets named after them both. The streets exist to this day.

The original of the Book of Abraham is now missing--Cardinal Richelieu is supposed to have had a copy, and in the Flamel's will there is a suggestion that it passed to a nephew, but Nicholas made copies, and these still exist.

Legend has it that The Codex was a book of alchemical formulae--a sort of chemistry text book. And of course it reputedly contained the great secret of alchemy: how to create a lapis philosophorum--a philosopher's stone (which was more of a white or red powder or sometimes a purple glass, rather than a stone). This powder could turn ordinary metal into gold and help to prolong life, making the alchemist virtually immortal.

Did it make the Flamels immortal? Shortly after they died, their graves were opened by grave robbers looking for jewels and fine clothes. The graves were empty. And of course, there are reports of the Flamels appearing all across Europe for many years after their deaths.

I spent many years working as a dealer in rare and antique books--and I loved the idea of not only making a bookseller the hero of a story, but making the story about an antique book. And, before you ask: no, I do not have The Codex.

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8-In the final book (Delacorte, 2012) in the series, Michael Scott brings his convoluted tale of shifting times, places, and loyalties to its conclusion with some surprising twists. Gods and immortals, once aligned with the Dark Elders, are assisting Nicholas and Perenelle to prevent the monsters on Alcatraz from reaching San Francisco. Dee has successfully transported Josh and Sophie 10,000 years into the past to Danu Talis. Dee's plans for domination are thwarted by the arrival of Isis and Osiris, who declare that they are Josh and Sophie's parents. They take away Dee's immortality and whisk the twins away to the capital city where they will be expected to present themselves as the rightful rulers of Danu Talis. Dee is granted a temporary stay of execution when Marethyu (better known as Death) arrives with a deal. He will temporarily prolong Dee's life in exchange for her help in fulfilling Abraham's prophecy. Meanwhile, Scathach prepares to assist the Humani of Danu Talis with their uprising against Anubis. Scott does a credible job of keeping his vast cast of characters pertinent to the plot by dividing them into groups according to time and place and focusing on each group in alternating chapters. However, this technique appears to be a way to pad the story to flesh out the book. Paul Boehmer's over-dramatic delivery will play well with the intended audience. He does a stellar job of pronouncing the variety of difficult names, but he does not distinguish between the various European accents.-Cary Frostick, Mary Riley Styles Public Library, Falls Church, VAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Series
See all of the books in Michael Scott's The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Series: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel
  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385735359
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385735353
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (451 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

"Some stories wait their turn to be told, others just tap you on the shoulder and insist you tell them."

By one of those wonderful coincidences with which life is filled, I find that the first time the word alchemyst--with a Y--appears in my notes is in May 1997. Ten years later, almost to the day, The Alchemyst, the first book in the Nicholas Flamel series, will be published in May.

Every writer I know keeps a notebook full of those ideas, which might, one day, turn into a story. Most writers know they will probably never write the vast majority of those ideas. Most stories wait their turn to be told, but there are a few which tap you on the shoulder and insist on being told. These are the stories which simply will not go away until you get them down on paper, where you find yourself coming across precisely the research you need, or discovering the perfect character or, in my case, actually stumbling across Nicholas Flamel's house in Paris.

Discovering Flamel's house was the final piece I needed to put the book together. It also gave me the character of Nicholas Flamel because, up to that point, the book was without a hero.

And Nicholas Flamel brought so much to the story.

Nicholas Flamel was one of the most famous alchemists of his day. He was born in 1330 and earned his living as a bookseller, which, by another of those wonderful coincidences, was the same job I had for many years.

One day he bought a book, the same book mentioned in The Alchemyst: the Book of Abraham. It, too, really existed and Nicholas Flamel left us with a very detailed description of the copper-bound book. Although the book itself is lost, the illustrations from the text still exist.

Accompanied by his wife Perenelle, Nicholas spent more than 20 years trying to translate book. He must have succeeded. He became extraordinarily wealthy and used some of his great wealth to found hospitals, churches, and orphanages. Perhaps he had discovered the secret of the Philosopher's Stone: how to turn base metal into gold.

Of course the greatest mystery linked to Nicholas Flamel is the story of what happened after he died. When his tomb was opened by thieves looking for some of his great wealth, it was found to be empty. Had Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel been buried in secret graves, or had they never died in the first place? In the months and years to follow, sightings of the Flamels were reported all over Europe. Had Nicholas also discovered that other great mystery of alchemy: the secret of immortality?

What writer couldn't resist a story that combined magical books, an immortal magician and grave robbing and, even more excitingly, that had a basis in fact? It begged the questions: if he was still alive today, where would he be and what would he be doing? Obvious really--he would be running a bookshop in San Francisco.

The Alchemyst was a tough book to write, probably the toughest of all the books I've done so far. It is the first in a series, and because the story told across all six books is so tightly integrated, keeping track of the characters and events means that I have to keep extensive and detailed notes. A minor change in book one could impact dramatically book three. There are tiny clues seeded into the first book that pay off in later books. The time frame for the entire series is very tight--The Alchemyst, for example, takes place over two days--so I too need to keep an hour-by-hour breakdown of events.

For people who like to know the practicalities, I write every day and sometimes all day and often long into the night. Nights really are the best time for writing. It's that time the conscious side of the brain is starting to shut down and the unconscious takes over. The following day I'll read what I've written the previous day, then edit and rewrite. I work on two computer screens; the story on one screen, notes and research on the second screen.

And now let me answer the question you are about to ask me because, sooner or later, everyone asks, "What is the secret of writing?"

A comfortable chair. A really comfortable chair--because if you're a writer, you're going to spend a lot of time sitting in it.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 59 people found the following review helpful By chicklit on May 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I was ecstatic to race through this book and equally devastated knowing that it is the last one in what might be my favorite series (even more than The Hunger Games). Michael Scott has ended his monumental series in an unexpected way with fabulous surprises peppering the entire book. There is closure for every single one of the characters, from the twins to each of the minor characters, and the results are mind blowing. I'm actually glad I read this so quickly, because it now gives me an excuse to start the series from the beginning and start picking out clues in the previous books which all reveal themselves in this finale. Often, final books are a disappointment because they leave so many unanswered questions; however, Scott has magically interwoven every single one of the competing storylines and characters and fulfilled an unspoken promise to the audience to give us answers. And answers he gives us. I can't talk much about the intricacies of the story as there are way too many spoilers, but it is a fast paced, compelling story which beautifully ends a wonderful series.

I'm now ready for the movie.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By thehydrogenpoptart on June 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
First Sentence: The small crystal mirror was ancient.

How I Acquired the Book: Borrowed from my town's library. As usual.

The Spoiler-Free Review: Oh my goodness. Why? Why did it have to end? These were my thoughts as I finished The Enchantress, because I couldn't sort any other thoughts out. At first I thought: Oh my goodness, that was awesome. Epic. Amazing. And then a little while later: No. That was horrible. And if you repeat this cycle a few more times, you have a pretty good picture of what happened for about 4 days after I read the book.

I'm going to attempt to sort my thoughts now, in this review. First of all, if you have read all the books in the series, any negative reviews will probably not stop you from reading. And that's fine. Because even though I gave this book a mediocre rating, I don't regret reading it. Why? Well, all our favorite characters are back and as amazing as ever. Scathach, Shakespeare, Dee (he had a huge role in this book), Palamedes, Niten, and of course, the Flamels, are all here. This is great. In fact, it is one of the book's great strengths-its originality, and overall, the series is original as well. Of course, the action everyone loves is here as well, with more than ever.

And that's where the problem lies.

To put it simply, there was too much fighting. Way too much. I would even go so far as to say most of it was pointless, not really affecting the final result at all. This book could definitely have been shortened. And you know how immortals are portrayed as epic and *IMMORTAL* in the previous ones? Not here. In this finale, they just...die. It's just weird. They fall way too easily, and way too many of them fall.

There is one last thing that I would like to mention. The final revelation.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Dancing Maiden on May 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I don't want to say too much and take a chance of giving anything away, but this book is, IMHO, the best in the series. Not only is it another incredible page-turner by Michael Scott, but it really brings a great close to a wonderful series. I couldn't put it down and now I'm ready to start re-reading the books again from the beginning!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mark Bergman on May 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The conclusion to the book was absolutely mind blowing. I don't think that anyone could have guessed the final plot twist. Yet, it seems so obvious in hindsight. The ending itself was worthy of 5 stars.

So why did I only give it 3 Stars?

*Spoiler Alert*

It still felt like much of the book was just filler. In fact all the fighting in San Francisco seemed unnecessary and pointless. The important battle was on Danu Talis. Another really annoying thing was the killing off of so many Elders on Alcatraz. Why are these powerful, immortal gods suddenly so easy to kill? Who really believes that Odin and Hel would sacrifice their own lives just to protect some humans in San Francisco? Mars would push his Aura past its limits and burn himself to dust? That was totally unrealistic.

Kudos to the author for doing a great job managing different time streams. Allowing Prometheus and Mars to fight both the battles in the past as well as the present was a neat trick. I tip my hat to him for making it *work*. I just wish that the book did not have so much padding.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 12, 2013
Format: Paperback
This review (which is rare coming from myself) contains nothing but spoilers.

Let's get the good stuff out of the way early: the story was fun, the characters were fresh (though abundant), the concept was interesting and it was written OK enough to keep me turning through a few thousand pages.

Having said that, I'll say this: using time-travel in your stories can be very tricky, and any time I see it I immediately throw up the red flag and begin reading through my skepticism glasses. And I'll be darned if this story brought about more questions than answers. So I'll put aside the frustrating aspects of this story, such as characters that have been involved for all 6 novels being killed off in a simple paragraph, and get to the questions.

1. Since Isis and Osiris saved Josh and Sophie's life, wouldn't traveling back in time and killing Isis and Osiris extinguish Josh and Sophie's existence thousands of years later?
2. Josh travelled back in time to Danu Talis. Well, so did Marethyu (Marethyu was not at Danu Talis; he had to travel through the strands of time to get back there). Given this (and given that Josh=Death=Marethyu), how can the same being be in the same spot at the same time?
3. If Marethyu can travel across the strands of time, why must he wait 10,000 years to give the Codex to Nicholas?
3a. Why does he have to give the Codex to Nicholas?
3a-1. Does this mean this is just a big loop and the story does nothing but repeat itself?
4. If all the humani were on Danu Talis...and Josh destroyed Danu Talis...and there are still humans today...hmmm
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