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The Necromancer (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 25, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Necromancer, book four in Michael Scott's "Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel" series, brings the immortal Flamel (The Alchemyst) and teenaged twins, Sophie and Josh, back home to San Francisco, where they meet up with the sorceress Perenelle, Flamel's wife, who spent the last book escaping from Alcatraz. Time is running out for the Flamels; it's now been six days since their foe Dr. John Dee (another immortal) ran off with the Codex, the book of Abraham the Mage that keeps them young, and they are aging fast. The twins, who have been learning the Elemental Magics over the course of the first three books, are worried about getting into trouble for basically disappearing for days, so they check in with their guardian, Aunt Agnes. But Scott doesn't let them settle in for long. True to the break-neck pace of this series, they are quickly pulled back into the action when Sophie is kidnapped by a redheaded vampire who bears an eerie resemblance to one of their recent allies, Scathach, who disappeared with Joan of Arc in the last book. The Necromancer introduces readers to even more infamous immortals, while keeping up with favorites from past books--Machiavelli, Shakespeare, Billy the Kid. As the characters accumulate, so do the opportunities for hair-raising conflicts and insane reveals. Scott manages their multiple story lines with a sequence of cliffhangers that keep it a really fun read even as he is piling on the history and mythology, taking readers further into the secrets that will bring the whole story together. As the characters hurtle toward a conflict that could bring about the end of the world, we can't wait to see where they'll go, what they'll learn, and who they'll meet next. (Ages 12 and up.)

From School Library Journal

Gr 6-10–Nicholas Flamel is dying, and the spell from the Codex that renews his immortality is in the possession of the evil John Dee. Reunited with his wife, Perenelle, Flamel hopes to use his remaining power to prevent the monsters now on the island of Alcatraz from escaping. Meanwhile, Machiavelli and Billy the Kid have come to San Francisco to achieve the opposite, releasing the monsters to destroy the city. Twins Sophie and Josh are also back in San Francisco, where Sophie is kidnapped by Aoife, the twin sister of Scathach, the Celtic warrior who had been protecting them. Josh is beginning to doubt whether he is on the right side of things. John Dee is now persona non grata with the Dark Elders, having failed to capture the siblings in London. Trying to escape his inevitable judgment, Dee teams up with Virginia Dare to find his way to Josh so that he can train him as a Necromancer. With this power, Josh can raise Coatlicue, the Mother of All the Gods, from the dead, and thus allow Dee to take over the world himself. Depending on one's point of view, all of these plot elements can either be disconcerting or can serve to create a sense of unrelenting forward momentum, taking readers breathlessly through to the end. The end in this case is a huge cliff-hanger, carrying with it an enormous sense of melancholy and moral ambiguity. This book will thrill fans of the series who are willing to stick with it to the conclusion.Tim Wadham, St. Louis County Library, MO
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Read an excerpt from The Necromancer by Michael Scott [PDF].

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 (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (May 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385735316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385735315
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (289 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,581 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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
**Spoilers ahead** and - this review won't mean much if you haven't read the others to know who the characters are that I am talking about...

Surprises galore! This was filled with so many wonderful surprises about places, times and characters. We get so much more information about all the characters and the Elders. The dialogue between the characters was wonderful- as always. The plot was fast paced and kept me sitting on the edge of my seat to see what was going to happen next. Mr. Scott tells excellent stories and knows how to weave clues into the smallest things. And there is so much mythology to embrace here - the real historical figures pulled in make this book - and series - a real treat!

It wasn't what I expected. Not that I mean that in a bad way. I did expect to see more necromancy - or really at least some - but unless I misunderstood, Josh calling Coatlique wasn't really necromancy. So, not seeing too much necromancy was kind of a shock. I would have liked to see more. I also would have liked to see a little more detail on some of the Elders who have now been identified. In the past, we have been given a little information about the mythology behind the Elders - here it at times felt like mere name dropping.

It was a great pace - I couldn't put the book down because it just kept moving us forward. It was great. I hit about chapter 25 (I think) and said "wow" to myself at the end of every chapter after that. I was shocked and amazed (happily, most of the time) at every thing that was happening. I loved the romance behind Germain going after Joan and it seemed a theme (Machiavelli seeming to waiver - and talking about his wife), Perry and Nicholas, Virginia and Dee (in it's own sick and twisted way)...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been an avid follower of these books, as they are written with both complex and delightfully entertaining characters, while incorporating facets of historical events and figures. While the characters have always been the huge draw for me concerning these books, The Necromancer takes character development a step further with the evolution of Josh and Sophie, particularly Josh in this installment. Warning: Spoilers ahead!

Michael Scott has been building up to the inevitable separation of Josh and Sophie in the previous books, foreshadowing the plot point with Josh's jealousy- and guilt-driven asides towards his sister. While we've known that Sophie has oftentimes regretted her Awakening, Josh has craved ultimate power and autonomy over his own destiny, and he has been cajoled by John Dee into believing that joining his side is the answer to all of his ailments. Scott begins to draw serious parallels between Dee and Josh, and although Josh hasn't quite decided whose side he is on definitively, it becomes glaringly obvious towards the end of The Necromancer that he's beginning to associate Sophie with the Flamels, his enemies at this point (or so he thinks). What's so interesting about this book (and the series in general) is that you're constantly guessing and questioning the motives of all characters, right down to William Shakespeare and Palamedes. Which side is the right side to be on when the end of the world draws near? Even Machiavelli (one of my favorite characters) begins to wonder whether he' truly has it all figured out, or whether he's just as much of a pawn as the humani he so carelessly discarded over the course of his immortality.
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Format: Hardcover
An AMAZING fast paced thrill ride weaving in and out of the real world and a magical world of mythology. The Necromancer, being the 4th book in a 6 book series, really sets the tone for the rest of the story as we find the twins, Josh and Sophie Newman, back in San Francisco. The first chapter started off making me think our heroes would have some time to relax before taking up the fight to the Dark Elders again... I couldn't have been more wrong, as by the end of the chapter danger finds them rather quickly! The ensuing barrage of twists and turns, magic and mayhem, Shadowrealms and swords make for a very entertaining read! It is really hard to find a stopping point to be able to put this book down!
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Format: Hardcover
Book four in the series brings twins Josh and Sophie Newman back to San Francisco for a very brief reunion with their Aunt. But they barely have time to call their parents and let them know they're OK before their adventure continues. Nicholas and Pernelle have also returned to San Francisco, and along with a few new players they band together in an effort to stop Machiavelli from releasing the creatures trapped in Alcatraz. Meanwhile, the rest of our heroes (Scatty, Joan, Shakespeare, Palmedes and Saint-Germain) are reunited in an alternate location with a great battle of their own to stop. How will either team succeed with their forces split?

I'm sad to report that I was disappointed in The Necromancer. I've really loved each of the first 3 books in this series, but found this one to be uneventful filler. The last 30 pages contained all the necessary portions of the story, and rather than bore us with 200 pages of filler, this could have (and should have) been the opening chapters to book #5. And then after wading through hundreds of pages of build-up, we're left with a rather abrupt cliffhanger. I was honestly shocked when I turned the page to find out that the book had ended after only a few chapters of action.

While I wasn't impressed with The Necromancer, I will most definitely continue with this series. I very much want to know what happens in the end. Hopefully this one was a mis-step and the next book will actually have something in it.
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