The Alchemyst Summary

Michael Scott

The Alchemyst

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The Alchemyst Summary

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The Alchemyst (2007), by Michael Scott, is the first novel in his fictional fantasy series about the real historical alchemist Nicholas Flamel. Scott uses his knowledge of and expertise in folklore to weave a story about two teenagers in San Francisco who get caught up in a centuries-long battle over a book. The teens meet many popular characters from history and myth as their ordinary lives become extraordinary.

Sophie and Josh Newman are fifteen and live in San Francisco. They both are working summer jobs, Sophie at a coffee shop and Josh at the bookstore across the street. Josh’s boss is named Nick Fleming. A man named John Dee enters the shop and asks for the Codex. To Josh’s surprise, Nick and John Dee begin using magic against each other, fighting for the book. Sophie  and Nick’s wife Perry both arrive on the scene. Josh attempts to disengage John Dee by tackling him, but John Dee takes the book, leaving a few pages with Josh. Dee takes Perry with him and flees.

Nick explains himself to the twins. He is the centuries-old alchemist Nicholas Flamel. He and his wife Perenelle have been taking the Elixir of Life to keep them alive, and its recipe is in the Codex. Nick is the greatest alchemist of all time and skilled in magic. Nick explains that John Dee is a magician as well, a necromancer—meaning he can raise the dead. Without the book, Perenelle and Nicholas will age rapidly and die within a month. John Dee plans to use the book for other nefarious purposes, as well:he wants to summon the Elder Race, who previously ruled the earth and used humans as slaves and food. Luckily, the pages that were left behind happen to be the final summoning spell; therefore Dee will be unable to complete his task.

Nick whisks Sophie and Josh away to a hideout. There, Nick asks for help from Scathach, who is a Next Generation Elder. Unfortunately, Dee has sent rats after them and they are forced to escape. Shortly thereafter, Dee sends thousands of birds after the group at Golden Gate Bridge, where they battle to escape the birds. Nick and Scathach are able to fight off the birds. Then, Nick decides to take them to Hekate, a three-faced Elder. She lives in the Shadowrealm. Nick believes the twins are part of a prophecy from the Codex and that they themselves have magical powers, which Hekate can awaken. The prophecy states that the twins are powerful enough to save the world—or destroy it. Nick wants their help in retrieving the Codex and saving Perenelle. Hekate agrees to awaken the power of the twins.

Dee has found out that the group has gone to see Hekate in the Shadowrealm, and enlists the help of Morrigan and Bastet. Hekate awakens Sophie’s powers, but then Dee arrives, so she is unable to awaken Josh’s powers. Dee plans to destroy Hekate and the entire Shadowrealm. He plans on destroying the World Tree, which is the source of Hekate’s power. Dee uses his sword, Excalibur, to destroy the World Tree, killing Hekate and demolishing the Shadowrealm.

Scathach is surprised to see the ice sword Excalibur, thinking that it had been destroyed. Everyone witnesses the power of Excalibur, as it transforms anything into pure ice, making that object easily destroyable. Scathach, Nick, Josh, and Sophie escape, which enrages Dee. Dee also finds out from the dead Hekate that she has not yet awakened Josh’s powers.

The group travels to Scathach’s grandmother, who is the Witch of Endor. She quickly teaches Sophie all her magic, giving her the knowledge of air magic, which is one of the Five Magics. Dee soon learns of the prophecy about Josh and Sophie and hopes to get Josh on his side. Josh almost considers joining Dee, as his magic is not yet awakened and he is jealous of Sophie. As Dee is speaking to Josh, he raises thousands of dead skeletons in a cemetery to attack Scathach, Sophie, and Nick. Josh realizes that if he agrees to help Dee, he will lose his twin, so he attacks Dee instead: Josh drives his car into Dee, running over him.

The group is aware that this will not keep Dee out for long, so they attempt to travel to the closest ley line. From there, they will be able to use magic to travel to Nick’s home in Paris. As they make it to the ley line, Dee arrives. Once again, he attempts to tempt Josh into joining him. Sophie tells Josh that they are in the battle together and that although she has magic and he does not yet, she will never abandon him. Josh joins Sophie in jumping through the ley line mirror. The novel concludes here and continues in the second novel in the series, The Magician.