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The Magician (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #2) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 24, 2008
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"Salt to the Sea" by Ruta Sepetys
Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival. See more
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More About the Author
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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 -
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.
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?Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Action, and more action in Book 2. The Magician carries the story forward but it is not predictable. Twists and turns, new characters and surprises. Onto Book 3! Read morePublished 5 days ago by Sandwich Gal
I was excited to feed my Harry Potter book worm with a spin-off of the series. 'The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel' series is based on J. Read morePublished 22 days ago by cakewalkingmother
I loved this book. I will most definitely add it to my list of favorite books! It really was great!Published 24 days ago by Tracy Stowers
Son read the whole series - great for road trips and easy school days.Published 2 months ago by G. Shirley