Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl

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Artemis Fowl Summary

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In 2001 Irish author Eoin Colfer kicked off his eight part series of science fiction/fantasy novels for young adults with Artemis Fowl. The book tells of the adventures of Artemis Fowl, who is twelve years old and a master of crime. In this eponymous debut, he kidnaps a fairy in the hope of extorting a large sum of gold for her return. Greed serves as a major theme in the novel, which is written in the third person, filtered through both the human characters and the fairy characters.

Artemis Fowl II has made crime his life’s objective. He has taken his place as the leader of the Fowl family’s criminal empire, which has existed for generations. Following a period of extensive research, Artemis believes that he has proof that fairies exist. When he learns that there is a sprite, a winged fairy, in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam he decides to travel there. The sprite is posing as a healer. Artemis and Butler, his bodyguard, plan to get the fairy holy book, The Book of the People, which is written in Gnommish, from the sprite. In a secondary storyline, Captain Holly Short, who is stationed with the Lower Elements Police, is on the trail of a renegade troll who has reached the Earth’s surface from Haven city, which is located deep underground. With the help of the centaur, Foaly, and the LEPrecon leader, Julius Root, she is able to stop the troll. LEPrecon is also referred to as Recon, for Reconnaissance, and is a division of the Lower Elements Police.

Using special software, Artemis is able to translate The Book of the People, thus discovering details of the rites fairies use in order to restore their magic. These rites involve taking an acorn from an ancient oak tree situated by a bend in a river. The acorn is to be obtained during a full moon and then planted in a different location. Artemis and Butler find one hundred and twenty-nine locations that could be used and begin a stakeout. Ultimately, they find Holly in the process of performing the ritual. At this point, Butler strikes Holly with a shot from a hypodermic dart gun in order to tranquilize her. Meanwhile, a team from LEP is sent to the Fowl Manor. Because they have shielding ability, they can vibrate faster than the eyes of humans can process, and they are able to enter the grounds. However, Artemis expected this action and makes use of a special camera with an accelerated rate of frames-per-second to detect the invasion, and Butler is able to stop the intruders.

Root has decided to attack the Fowl Manor using a time-stop method, in order to start negotiations. Artemis tells Root of the massive gold ransom he is demanding for Holly’s return and also tells him that he knows about the time-stop tactic and has the ability to escape it. LEP behavior experts determine that Artemis does indeed possess such knowledge. Attempts to gain entry to the Fowl Manor continue. The LEP enlist the aid of a well known criminal, kleptomaniac dwarf Mulch Diggums, hoping he will be able to break in. Although fairies are not permitted to enter human homes without permission, Mulch is not bound by such strictures, as he has given up the magic which would have prevented him from entering such places. Mulch is thus safe when committing burglaries.

Mulch is able to tunnel underground to get to the house while Foaly tampers with the manor’s surveillance equipment so that Mulch is undetected. When Mulch finds Artemis’s copy of The Book of the People in a safe, the fairies know where Artemis obtained his knowledge of the fairies’ ways. They had believed it was from giving Holly a truth serum. With nothing working as they would hope, the Fairy Council turns to Lieutenant Briar Cudgeon and makes him their acting Commander, replacing Root for the time being. At the same time, Holly breaks through the concrete cell she was being held in and upon finding fresh earth, completes the ritual with an acorn she held in secret. She reacquires her magic and goes into the main house.

Cudgeon releases the troll Holly had caught earlier into the house in the hope of forcing Artemis to let the fairies in to capture the troll. This does not work as planned, as Butler, with Holly’s assistance, is able to subdue the troll. The Fairy Council at this point decides to remove Cudgeon. Artemis wins his ransom and the gold is delivered to him. He then requests that Holly cure the insanity that has been plaguing his mother since the death of her husband. She does so in return for half of the gold ransom. Meanwhile, the LEP plots to retrieve the gold using a biological bomb called a blue rinse to kill all organic life in the house. This fails when Artemis drugs himself and everyone else in the house to escape the time-stop.

Prevailing law requires the LEP to leave the gold and retreat. Butler questions Artemis about his idea of drugging them with sleeping pills to escape the time-stop and Artemis reveals that he got the idea from old fairy tales, in which humans never awaken at times that would be bad for the fairies and he deduced a connection to the time-stop. In the end, he finds that Holly’s magic has cured his mother.