The Alchemyst, by Michael Scott, centers on the legendary 14th century French alchemist, Nicholas Flamel. Records show that he died in 1418, but it is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life and is still alive today.
Most of our dear readers will have been introduced to Nicholas Flamel in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (US) or Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (UK). He was so much more than a fictional character who developed the secret to eternal life… he lived!
The historical Flamel lived in Paris in the fourteenth and fifteenth century and his life is one of the best documented in the history of medieval alchemy. He ran two shops as a scribe and married Perenelle in 1368. She brought the wealth of two previous husbands to the marriage. The French Catholic couple owned several properties, and contributed financially to churches, sometimes by commissioning sculptures. Later in life, they were noted for their wealth and philanthropy.
Flamel lived into his 80s. Records show he died in 1418. He was buried in Paris. His will, dated 22 November, 1416, indicates that he was generous, but he did not have the extraordinary wealth of later alchemical legend. No indication exists that the real Flamel of history was involved in alchemy, pharmacy or medicine.
Legendary accounts of Flamel’s life are based on seventeenth century works. The essence of his reputation is the claim he succeeded in the two goals of alchemy: that he made the Philosopher’s Stone, which turns base metals into gold, and that he and his wife Perenelle achieved immortality through the “Elixir of Life.”
Michael Scott has brought Flamel back to life in an entertaining and provocative way. Everything he writes about Flamel and Perenelle is based on fact and appears to be meticulously researched. Places important to his life, houses in which they’d lived (one is now a restaurant), and myriad other historical facts weave themselves throughout the tale of the Flamels and their quest to save the world—of course.
Nicholas Flamel lives, 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 Codex—the book of Abraham the Mage. In the wrong hands it will destroy the world. That’s exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals it. Human-kind won’t know what’s happening until it’s too late, and if the prophecy is right, teenage twins Sophie and Josh Newman will be the only ones with the power to save the world. They’re about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time.
Michael Scott is one of Ireland’s most prolific and successful writers. The Alchemyst is the first book in this six book series, The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel.
The Enchantress, the last book in the series, was released on May 22nd 2012. The entire series is available through The King’s English Bookshop. (Okay, they’re available through B&N, Amazon, and B-a-M [for my southern friends], but try your local, privately-owned, book stores first. Just sayin’…)
See you day-after-tomorrow for Monday Moans