The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott
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The cover art for the book is based on Flamel's description of The Book of Abraham the Mage (The Codex). This book will be explained later in the page.

The Alchemyst is the first book of the six-part series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott. The series also includes two short stories call "The Death of Joan of Arc" and "Billy the Kid and the Vampyres of Vegas: A Lost Story from the Secrets of in Immortal Nicholas Flamel." There are also online games that fans can play. The tasks include jigsaws, matching symbols and color sequencing. The videos include Michael Scott, the author of the series.

The Alchemyst starts in modern day San Francisco. The story centers around a set of twins, Sophie and Josh Newman, who come into contact with Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel. Nicholas has been alive since 1330 and has been made responsible for The Book of Abraham. This book consists of powerful concoctions and spells. This book is sought after by Dr. John Dee who finally tracks down and attacks Nick Flamel. He is able to steal the book, except for two pages that Josh was still able to hold onto. Nicholas needs the book to survive. If Dee is able to use the book, he will be able to call upon the Dark Elders. The story continues throughout the rest of the series. The series consists of:The AlchemystThe MagicianThe SorceressThe NecromancerThe WarlockThe Enchantress


Awards:
The Alchemyst has been nominated for -
  • 2009-2010 Oregon Battle of the Books (6th-8th grade)
  • 2009-2010 North Carolina Young Adult Book Award
  • 2009 International Reading Association & Young Adult Reading List
  • 2009 Kentucky Bluegrass Award
  • 2009 Nevada Young Readers Award
  • 2009 Rhode Island Teen Book (winner)
  • 2008-2009 Maine Student Book Award Master List
  • 2008 New York Public Library Books for The Teen Age
  • 2008 Bisto Book of the Year Award
  • 2008 Texas Lone Star Reading List
  • 2007-2008 Irish Children's Book of the Year
  • 2007 Book Sense Children's Pick Award List

Official Fan Website:
  • This site has a really cool gallery where fans can submit artwork that go along with the book. (I posted some below)
    • Have students make their own piece of artwork that goes along with the book
    • Gallery Walk- have students create a piece of artwork and then have them hang it up around the classroom
    • As an entire class, walk around and have students pick their favorite piece of artwork
    • In a reader response journal the students can write their reactions to a piece of art and how it depicts an event or idea from the book
  • There is a forum where fans can talk about the book.
    • This can give you ideas or prompts to have your students write/discuss about the book
    • Create a classroom blog/forum of your own that students can post on throughout reading the book
  • There are podcasts made about/for the book. (Great for a classroom resource)
    • Watch before an event in the book to get students interested in the book/subject

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-Kelsey Polhemus

















Mythical Elements:__Hekate__: As shown in the picture, Hekate is known as the triple goddess. She can rule over the earth, sea and sky which is seen within Hekate's Shadowrealm in the novel. Because of the triple identity, she is also associated with crossroads and secret entrance ways. The tree that she lived in was filled with secret passages and rooms. She is responsible for awakening Sophie's powers.


-Kelsey Polhemus
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Scáthach: She is from Celtic mythology and is known as "The Shadowy One." In the book she has the nickname "Scatty." She is a warrior queen and runs a school in Scotland for young warriors. She supposedly granted three wishes to Cuchulainn, the Irish hero, which included educating him in the art of war. She is able to tell the future. She is a vegetarian vampire. (more information in the "Character Analysis")

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Bastet: This goddess comes from Egyptian mythology. She is represented with the body of a woman and the head of a cat. She was the daughter of Re (the Egyptian sun god). She is said to have two sides to her personality: docile and aggressive. Her gentle side is represented by her role as protector of homes. As one could assume, in the book, Bastet is able to control felines.

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The Morrígan: The Celtic Goddess of Death is depicted as an old woman cloaked in raven feathers. Ravens represent death and seeing her signals death. Her shriek is that of a banshee, a precursor to death. She can also take any form. She can be a person or a cloud, anything that can cause death. In the book, she is able to control crows.

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Yggdrasil: This tree comes from Norse mythology. The word translates into "The Terrible One's Horse." This tree shelters the worlds and the lands of Asgard, Jotunheim and Niflheim are located in its roots. The roots make three wells. These wells are: the Well of Wisdom, the Well of Fate and Hvergelmir. Mythology says that deer run along the branches and represent the four winds. The tree is also home to squirrels and a golden cock.
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The Witch of Endor: She has lived for millenia in Ojai. This character actually appears in the Christian Bible. The first king of Isreal, Saul, wishes to awaken the spirit of Samuel for inspiration. Samuel was an ancient leader of Israel. She is Scathach's godmother and gives all of her knowledge to Sophie.200px-Endor.jpg



The Book's Trailer:











The Alchemyst Trailer:












Flamel's Home in Paris













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These are pictures of Flamel's old home in Paris. It is one of the oldest buildings in the town and is now a restaurant.

-Kelsey Polhemus

Character Analysis:
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Nicholas Flamel (Nicholas Fleming): "Nicholas Flamel was one of the most famous alchemists of his day" (373). Michael Scott created his character based on a real alchemist after Scott had come across the Auberge Nicolas [sic] Flamel in Paris, or better known as the Nicholas Flamel Hostel. Flamel and his wife lived in the hostel during the 15th century. Nicholas was born in 1330 and just like in The Alchemyst, he worked as a "bookseller and a scrivener" (373). He did buy a book, the Book of Abraham, that Scott modeled the Codex after. Nicholas and his wife Perenelle traveled across Europe to try and derive a meaning of the book. Some believe that he found the meaning of the philosopher's stone during this time which changes "metal into gold" and allows one to achieve immortality (374). Nicholas's life gave Scott the inspiration he needed to create the series of novels. Nicholas became the main character that would inevitably bring destruction to the earth or save it by training the twins, Sophie and Josh.



Perenelle Flamel: She is Nicholas's wife and early on in the book she is kidnapped by Dee. First sent to Dee'sbasement and held against her will, she was later transferred to Alchatraz after she helped Nicholas win a fight against Dee. She could be seen as one of the heroine's in the novel even though she is not physically active in the main story line. Through her powers, she is able to make a contribution in protecting Nick and the twins. For one, she speaks through Sophie to save Nicholas from the Crow Goddess and Bastet. Perry is an extremely strong and beautiful woman. She doesn't play a victim when she is captured but rather assures her husband that she is fine.
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Dr. John Dee: He serves the Dark Elders who are interested in taking power over the Earth as they once did before the humani took over. He is obsessed with retreiving the entire Codex because the book will give him the power to take over the world. He is always the one serving others but his real dream is to be the one in power. When he enters Hekate's Shadowrealm, he is purposely the last one to enter but ends up being the one to beat Hekate by killing her power source: the tree.



Josh Newman: He asks a lot of questions and often speaks before he thinks which usually gets him in trouble throughout the book. He always seems to be the most worried throughout the novel, especially about his twin sister. He often questions Nick's intentions and almosts gives in to Dr. John Dee's proposition.
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Sophie Newman: She is the older of the twins and usually quicker at being the more patient/responsible one. She is the only one to be "awakened" during the novel which gives her an awareness of her magical powers. She has a silver aura and is referenced to as "the moon." The witch teaches Sophie how to control the air and in return sacrifices all of her power.

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Scathach: She is the female warrior that has trained other's for generations even though she just looks like a teenager. Nicholas goes to her because he knows that she will be able to train the twins. She lives among the humani in a ghetto-like area to blend in with society. Throughout the novel she is extremely loyal to Nicholas and the twins even though he tells her to leave a few times but he refuses. She goes into Hekate's Shadowrealm even though the two had a despute in the past. In the end, she sees her grandmother, the witch, even though the two don't have the best relationship. I think her loyalty lies in the fact that she doesn't want the dark side to win.

-Kelsey Polhemus

Information About the Author: Michael Scott
Source: ReaderStore


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"Some stories wait their turn to be told, others just tap you on the shoulder and insist you tell them."
By one of those wonderful coincidences with which life is filled, I find that the first time the word alchemyst-with a Y-appears in my notes is in May 1997. Ten years later, almost to the day, The Alchemyst, the first book in the Nicholas Flamel series, will be published in May. Every writer I know keeps a notebook full of those ideas, which might, one day, turn into a story. Most writers know they will probably never write the vast majority of those ideas. Most stories wait their turn to be told, but there are a few which tap you on the shoulder and insist on being told. These are the stories which simply will not go away until you get them down on paper, where you find yourself coming across precisely the research you need, or discovering the perfect character or, in my case, actually stumbling across Nicholas Flamel's house in Paris.

Michael Scott's Official Website


-Kelsey Polhemus

Michael Scott is an author famous for his understanding and use of Irish mythology. He has written over one hundred books. Many of these books are for children. This is a link for a site that lists Scott's book, as well as the grade levels that it is best suited for.

The CodexThe premise of the book revolves around the acquisition of the Codex. Here is some information: The fanpage has an awesome flash project available to browse through: The Codex Flash
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When I looked into more about Codex online I learned that they were orginally developed by the Romans. In the end, it was the next step in recording the written language after the scroll. Some believe that is was the most important development up until printing was invented. The Christian Bible gave a big rise to the Codex since it was just a largely distributed book. The codex was more reliable than the scroll because it had a hard cover (similar to that of hard-copy books). Technically all books today are considered codex but they have adopted the name of manuscript.

-Kelsey Polhemus

The Codex, written by Abraham the Mage, contains different spells and recipes. One of the recipes is for the Elixir of Immortality. At the start of the book, some of the pages are ripped out during a altercation between John Dee and Josh. The letters on the page shift from one language to the next, from hieroglyphics to Latin to Old English. Source

Reader Reviews:A lot of people on Youtube have posted videos of their reactions to the book. They would be a great addition to the classroom to show students before they read the book or if they had options of books to choose from.

-Kelsey Polhemus

People are very passionate about these books. A lot of people feel they know the best way to make the film version of the books. There are numerous videos on YouTube where people display their ideal cast. Here is one such video:












Music:On Michael Scott's website, there is a section dedicated to music. The group Jumeaux created a group of songs that were inspired by the novel. Two of the songs are available to listen to for free: here.
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Classroom Adaptation: Have students create a soundtrack of their own that is inspired by ideas, events, characters, and themes of the story. Or you can dedicate an entire class period for a listening time and have each student bring in one song to share with the class.
-Kelsey Polhemus
Useful Link
For those who enjoyed The Alchemyst, here is a link for other books you may enjoy.


Information on The Book of Abraham

Because The Book of Abraham has an actual historical background that is a large influence on the book the background information on these writings may be useful and/or interesting to have while reading the book. Here is a documentary on The Book of Abraham...



Also here is a website that offers some information about the writings and also the real Nicolas Flamel...
Nicholos Flamel:The Book of Abraham the Jew






This site provides readers with background knowledge about the author, Michael Scott, and what were his inspirations for writing the book. It also has a personal letter from Scott explaining his target audience for this book which is adolescents, which is what this course mainly focuses on. It also has many discussion questions that can be used in a classroom setting to incorporate it into the curriculum and it has general questions that could also be used.
http://kpl.lib.mo.us/content_uploads/Alchemyst.pdf

-Katlyn Swanson





Scathach_FINAL.jpgThis is an image of Scathach and I think this picture describes her character well through the fierceness that is portrayed in her glaring eyes. Her flaming red hair gives off a dangerous, tough-girl vibe which can be inspirational to young women.

-Katlyn Swanson




This video is a brief overview of a review on The Alchemyst by Michael Scott. Since it is less than two minutes in length it would be sensible for the general public because they would be able to view it and get the general idea of what the book is about before they decided to read it.

-Katlyn Swanson

Alchemy in Real Life?!
It’s true; Alchemy was a real science many years ago! Michael Scott is a beacon of information within the realm of fantasy, but he has to get his ideas from somewhere. While the Philosophers Stone or the Elixir of Life was never reported to have been successfully made, alchemy was the science of turning base metals into noble metals such as gold and silver, while also striving to produce everlasting life. Alchemy was basically shunned as a science as time went on because much of its underlying principles were based solely in mythology, religion, and spirituality. Well this kind of sounds like the alchemist in the novel doesn’t it?

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This is a text on Islamic philosophy and spiritual alchemy! Supposedly this is from a book labeled “The Alchemy of Happiness”

Many people say that the transmutation from lead to gold really stands for a transmutation of the soul. This also seems to be an aspect Michael Scott uses in his novel. The first image you see is of the great philosopher Aristotle. Much of what alchemist’s used was based off Aristotle’s view on metaphysics. Aristotle believed that everything in the universe was made out of four basic elements; fire, air, earth, and water. If this were true then with those four basic elements you should be able to successfully transmute metals. Eventually mysticism made its way into Aristotle's theory giving way to things like the Philosophers Stone. The second image depicts Aristotle’s view on the four basic elements.
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Metal to Gold is Possible?!

Well I’m glad you asked! Actually it is entirely possible today to turn metal into gold. Transmutation has been done successfully throughout the world. What you would need is to find an element that has one less proton than gold, and fire protons at it until one of them stick. Once you have achieved this you have successfully transmuted! Now before you go off trying to make gold I should warn you that the process is very expensive. It’s so expensive that in fact it was deemed unworthy of use because the price of gold is not high enough to yield positive income. Shucks….

This is not to say that a cheaper way doesn’t exist, and just has not been found yet.


"Well, I have been promising news of the Flamel movie. Here's the press release. The movie was set up with New Line, but New Line were absorbed by Warner and the rights reverted to me.There has been tremendous interest in the series and eventually, it went to Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who is the man responsible for bringing Harry Potter to Warner when he was there He genuinely loves this series. The next step now is to attach a writer - I will not write it, I have more books to do!"
-Michael Scott


But What About Eternal Life?
Well this is a much trickier question than transmutation. This myth originated long ago, but become very popular in the medieval times. Many quests were taken in order to find “The Holy Grail” which myth tells us is the chalice Jesus Christ used at the Last Supper. It is said to be able to give the drinker immortality, much like the Elixir of Life. These two myths differ in that the Elixir of Life is also said to be able to create life as well, while the Holy Grail cannot. Some common references to the Holy Grail are made in movies such as Monty Python, as well as Indiana Jones. Some of the myth has grown from the Fountain of Youth, which also lives in lore.
Many cultures have different takes on this Elixir of Life but India has a very interesting background in this involving a lot of mythology. Ancient Hindu scriptures say that Amrita(Elixir) could only be found in the depths of the ocean because the ocean holds mysterious things. It is said that Hindu gods and demons alike were needed to help churn Amrita from the depths but eventually it was achieved. Sadly, unlike transmutation, this cannot be achieved by science...yet.
This is super interesting
This link leads you to ABC.com, where they give you an interview with a man who truly believes that finding the Elixir of Life is of the highest priority. I highly recommend watching this, it may not convince you of the possibility but you will certainly learn something. If you can't see the video, the transcript is direction below it.

-Luke