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The Magician (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #2) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 24, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 351 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6–9—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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The Alchemyst (2007), the first book in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series,  introduced a wide-ranging group of historical figures who have achieved immortality and are engaged in a present-day struggle for the fate of the world. This second entry picks up exactly where the first left off. Allied with the legendary Nicholas Flamel  on the “good” side are teenage twins Sophie and Josh, who are supremely gifted but with powers that are untrained. Countering them is a new archvillain, Niccolò Machiavelli, who, along with other figures from history and legend (Joan of Arc, a trio of Valkyries), swells the already impressive cast. Plundering every imaginable culture of their heroes and heroines is a clever feat, sure to draw all manner of historically and mythologically minded readers. One weakness starts to show through, however. In a six-book series such as this, each installment begins to feel like a lengthy, glorified chapter rather than its own book complete with a satisfying story arc and resolution. That said, this keeps the pace as an exciting and impeccably thought-out fantasy, well suited for those left in the lurch by Harry Potter’s recent exeunt. Grades 7-10. --Ian Chipman

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 840L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (June 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385733585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385733588
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.6 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (351 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I happened upon this and the first book in the series (The Alchemyst) just before July 4th and have quickly polished them off. For me the use of real historical characters alongside well-researched mythology is nigh irresistible.

The books move along smartly with plenty of action and a narrative that is propulsive and unrelenting. In many ways these feel more like Jim Butcher's Dresden Files books than Harry Potter.

Note that these books are clearly written to be "safe" for a younger audience. No sex, and fairly restrained violence. These are exciting and tense books, but still PG (or maybe barely PG-13).

I am intrigued by the ambiguity around several of the main characters including Machiavelli and Flamel and am eager to see where these books go. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I usually gauge a book by when I open it and start reading, how far it takes me in a sitting. I literally couldn't put this one down, starting to read around 11 am and done by 10 pm! I have rarely done that since Harry Potter -
I love this premise and the series. Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel, who have had the forumla for eternal life, meet prophecized twins who have the power to either save the world or destroy it. The Codex which holds all the spells needed to do so, including the recipe for the the elixer of life, was taken, but Josh, one of the twins, had the foresight to tear out the last 2 pages, saving the bad guys, Dr. John Dee, from Elizabethan England fame and his minions, from destroying things.
Perenelle is captured and is in Alcatraz. Nicholas and the twins, and Scatty, the vampire warrior flee to Paris.
There they encounter Macchiavelli and Dee. They do find allies there - St. Germain - and his wife - will not spoil the fun by saying who it is.
Sophie, who has been Awakened receives more training, leaving Josh with mixed feelings his twin has more power and is now different with that knowledge - the book deals with those feelings.
Although over 460 pages, the book flies by, and like Harry Potter, leaves you wanting more.
It is great fun for everyone. If you are remotely interested or knowledgeable in history, or historical figures, you will love this book as much as I do.
I had made a notation in the review of the premier book how come the Flamels don't remember the recipe for the elixer for immortality after all this time, and the answer is given in this book. It is an inventive explanation and it works.
Fun for all ages -
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Format: Hardcover
The problem with intensive books such as the Magician is that you run out of information quickly and the books tend to lack depth. This is clearly not the case with the Magician. By using history, natural human instinct, and mythology, Scott takes what could be a 500 page story and translates it into a whole new world. Very well written book; it expresses everything and leaves little to imagination.

This book is 464 pages of fun, action-filled adventure. There is not a single dull moment in the book. Even without the fight scenes, something interesting is happening.

Serious kudos to Scott, what a hell of a book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After finishing the Harry Potter series, I was desperate for good fantasy fiction, and there's just not a ton out right now. His Dark Materials went south (yeah... deep south) by the middle of Amber Spyglass. Magic Bites, Dresden Files, and the other magic/mystery series failed to lure me. Luckily, I found The Alchemyst.

I liked the first book, and the second, thoroughly. Michael Scott draws action sequences very well and it's fun to glimpse some of the personalities he has implemented: Dr. John Dee is a great villain, and Saint-Germain is a fun addition to the party. The drama is self-sustaining, as the main characters are constantly moved and moving in and out of danger.

As with most action fiction, characters thoughts and feelings are usually limited to analysis of the situation at hand and reacting to previous events: there's no internal interaction going on, and that's okay. Scott, however, has stumbled across a couple problems and hasn't fixed them in his 2nd book of the series.

1) Scott has a bad case of the one-uppers. Remeber when wereboars were considered the best warriors in history during the battle at Yggdrasill? No, now the Disir are the best. Except for Nidhogg. And Mars. And whomever they meet next. It's going to be tough for Scott to continue introducing more and more characters who are supposed to be more and more dangerous (literary escalation) when he starts out at such superlatives (Scathach is the best warrior there ever was... period). One "superbly powerful" character towards the end of this book barely made it thirty pages past his introduction, and was killed by what seemed like a relatively simple attack by Dr. John Dee. Where will Scott go from here, given that the only possible direction is up?
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Format: Hardcover
"Two days ago Sophie Newman had been an ordinary American teenager, her head filled with normal everyday things: homework and school projects, the latest songs and videos, boys she liked, cell phone numbers and Web addresses, blogs and urls." Now, life is drastically different. Her powers have just been Awakened by the Witch of Endor, who taught Sophie the Magic of Air and made her hypersensitive to all sights, smells, sounds, touch, and taste. She's on the run for her life from the immortal magician and necromancer John Dee, and her twin brother Josh wants to be Awakened and equal to his sister. Jealousy is rearing its ugly head.

The immortal alchemist, Nicholas Flamel, leads their small band of fugitives to Paris in search of another Elder to train Sophie and awaken Josh. With them is Scathach, the Warrior, whose "fighting style is at the heart of just about every martial art." Unfortunately, Flamel's wife Perenelle is not with them. Imprisoned by a Sphinx on Alcatraz Island, Perenelle waits, powerless, for a chance to escape. She and Nicholas have less than a month to live. They're ageing fast, their immortality draining from them, and if they do not reclaim the Book of Abraham the Mage back from Dee, they will die.

If only their deaths were the worst of it.

The Book of Abraham holds more than just the formula for immortality; it contains all the history and secrets of humanity, including spells that could heal the world and return it to Paradise, along with ones that could destroy everything, or even worse, hand everything and everyone over to the power of the Dark Elders. The bad thing is that Dee has the Book and wants nothing more than Flamel's death and the rise of the Dark Elders to the rightful place of power.
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The Magician (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #2)
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