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Michael ScottDescribe your new book.
The Alchemyst is the first book in a series, The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. It is the story of two all-American teens, Sophie and Josh, who discover that the bookshop owner Josh works for in San Francisco is in fact, the legendary and immortal alchemist, Nicholas Flamel.
Nicholas and his wife Perenelle have survived for almost seven hundred years by using a formula contained in an ancient book the Flamels protect, The Codex. But when the book is stolen by Doctor John Dee, Sophie and Josh are swept along in the adventure to recover the book. They discover that, in modern day San Francisco, magic exists, that immortal magicians and alchemysts have been engaged in a secret battle to control the world. It is a battle fought by ancient gods and creatures from long forgotten mythologies in this world of cell phones and laptops.
Flamel decides that he must awaken the Sophie and Josh's latent magical powers. It's a dangerous and risky procedure, but if the teens are to have any chance of survival, they must be able to protect themselves.
The Alchemyst introduces us to the world of Nicholas Flamel, a world that is populated by characters from history, by the gods of mythology and creatures from legend. Just about everyone in the series is drawn from the mythology of a dozen nations and all the heroes and villains are drawn from history.
Flamel's bodyguard, the warrior Scathach, is the woman known as Shadow from Celtic myth. Doctor John Dee, for example, was one of the most brilliant men of his age and all the factual details about his life in The Alchemyst are true: he was an alchemist, a mathematician, a geographer, an astronomer and an astrologer. When Shakespeare created the character of Prospero for The Tempest, there is evidence to suggest that he modelled him on Dee.
Nicholas Flamel was one of the most famous alchemists of his day. He was born in 1330 and earned his living as a bookseller. (As an aside, I'll mention that I worked as a bookseller for 25 years, so that completely endeared him to me.) One day he bought a book, the same book mentioned in The Alchemyst: The Codex, 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 twenty years trying to translate the 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 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?
The Chronicles of Faerie by O. R. Melling. She's a Canadian author who writes about magic in the real world. Her use of language and imagery is extraordinary and beautiful.
Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
How did the last good book you read end up in your hands?
In the last couple of weeks, I've finished the latest in Simon Green's Nightside series, which I liked very much; the new John Connolly, The Unquiet; and Kim Newman's Anno Dracula, which I've read a couple of times now and is such fun. The book sitting on the edge of my desk is Libba Bray's Rebel Angels, the sequel to A Great and Terrible Beauty. And just under that is China Mieville's Un Lun Dun, which I bought today in fact. It's his first YA novel, and I'm looking forward to it.
What was your favorite story as a child?
What do you do for relaxation?
What is your idea of bliss?
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Tell us about your pets.
Name the best Simpsons episode of all time, and explain why it's the best.
Who are your favorite characters in history?
If you could pick anyone to illustrate one of your books, who would it be and why?