He holds the secret that can end the world.The truth: Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on September 28, 1330. Nearly 700 years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest Alchemyst of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life.The records show that he died in 1418.But his tomb is empty.The legend: Nicholas Flamel lives. But only because he has been making the elixir of life for centuries. The secret of eternal life is hidden within the book he protects-the Book of Abraham the Mage. It's the most powerful book that has ever existed. In the wrong hands, it will destroy the world. That's exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals it. Humankind won't know what's happening until it's too late. And if the prophecy is right, Sophie and Josh Newman are the only ones with the power to save the world as we know it.Sometimes legends are true.And Sophie and Josh Newman are about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time.From the Hardcover edition.
Twin 15-year-old siblings Sophie and Josh Newman take summer jobs in San Francisco across the street from one another: she at a coffee shop, he at a bookstore owned by Nick and Perry Fleming. In the vey first chapter, armed goons garbed in black with "dead-looking skin and... marble eyes" (actually Golems) storm the bookshop, take Perry hostage and swipe a rare Book (but not before Josh snatches its two most important pages). The stolen volume is the Codex, an ancient text of magical wisdom. Nick Fleming is really Nicholas Flamel, the 14th-century alchemist who could turn base metal into gold, and make a potion that ensures immortality. Sophie and Josh learn that they are mentioned in the Codex's prophecies: "The two that are one will come either to save or to destroy the world." Mayhem ensues, as Irish author Scott draws on a wide knowledge of world mythology to stage a battle between the Dark Elders and their hired gun--Dr. John Dee--against the forces of good, led by Flamel and the twins (Sophie's powers are "awakened" by the goddess Hekate, who'd been living in an elaborate treehouse north of San Francisco). Not only do they need the Codex back to stop Dee and company, but the immortality potion must be brewed afresh every month. Time is running out, literally, for the Flamels. Proceeding at a breakneck pace, and populated by the likes of werewolves and vampires, the novel ends on a precipice, presumably to be picked up in volume two. Ages 12-up. (May)
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Delacorte Books for Young Readers
May 20, 2007
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Excerpt from The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
"OK--answer me this: why would anyone want to wear an overcoat in San Francisco in the middle of summer?" Sophie Newman pressed her fingers against the Bluetooth earpiece as she spoke.
On the other side of the continent, her fashion-conscious friend Elle inquired matter-of-factly, "What sort of coat?"
Wiping her hands on the cloth tucked into her apron strings, Sophie moved out from behind the counter of the empty coffee shop and stepped up to the window, watching men emerge from the car across the street. "Heavy black wool overcoats. They're even wearing black gloves and hats. And sunglasses." She pressed her face against the glass. "Even for this city, that's just a little too weird."
"Maybe they're undertakers?" Elle suggested, her voice popping and clicking on the cell phone. Sophie could hear something loud and dismal playing in the background-- Lacrimosa maybe, or Amorphis. Elle had never quite got over her Goth phase.
"Maybe," Sophie answered, sounding unconvinced. She'd been chatting on the phone with her friend when, a few moments earlier, she'd spotted the unusual-looking car. It was long and sleek and looked as if it belonged in an old black-and-white movie. As it drove past the window, sunlight reflected off the blacked-out windows, briefly illuminating the interior of the coffee shop in warm yellow-gold light, blinding Sophie. Blinking away the black spots dancing before her eyes, she watched as the car turned at the bottom of the hill and slowly returned. Without signaling, it pulled over directly in front of The Small Book Shop, right across the street.
"Maybe they're Mafia," Elle suggested dramatically. "My dad knows someone in the Mafia. But he drives a Prius," she added.
"This is most definitely not a Prius," Sophie said, looking again at the car and the two large men standing on the street bundled up in their heavy overcoats, gloves and hats, their eyes hidden behind overlarge sunglasses.
"Maybe they're just cold," Elle suggested. "Doesn't it get cool in San Francisco?"
Sophie Newman glanced at the clock and thermometer on the wall over the counter behind her. "It's two-fifteen here . . . and eighty-one degrees," she said. "Trust me, they're not cold. They must be dying. Wait," she said, interrupting herself, "something's happening."
The rear door opened and another man, even larger than the first two, climbed stiffly out of the car. As he closed the door, sunlight briefly touched his face and Sophie caught a glimpse of pale, unhealthy-looking gray-white skin. She adjusted the volume on the earpiece. "OK. You should see what just climbed out of the car. A huge guy with gray skin. Gray. That might explain it; maybe they have some type of skin condition."
"I saw a National Geographic documentary about people who can't go out in the sun . . . ," Elle began, but Sophie was no longer listening to her.
A fourth figure stepped out of the car.
He was a small, rather dapper-looking man, dressed in a neat charcoal-gray three-piece suit that looked vaguely old-fashioned but that she could tell had been tailor-made for him. His iron gray hair was pulled back from an angular face into a tight ponytail, while a neat triangular beard, mostly black but flecked with gray, concealed his mouth and chin. He moved away from the car and stepped under the striped awning that covered the trays of books outside the shop. When he picked up a brightly colored paperback and turned it over in his hands, Sophie noticed that he was wearing gray gloves. A pearl button at the wrist winked in the light.
"They're going into the bookshop," she said into her earpiece.
"Is Josh still working there?" Elle immediately asked.