Twins Sophie and Josh Newman are about to find themselves smack dab in the middle of a crazy battle between Good and Evil. And you're coming along for the ride.
The scene? Nick Fleming's bookstore. Josh Newman is hard at work when a dude enters, looking sinister. Before Josh can say "Charles Dickens!" Nick and the new guy, one Dr. John Dee, are engaged in an all out magical battle. Sophie Newman and Nick's wife, Perry Fleming, run to the scene of the crime.
Josh tackles Dee to the floor as he snatches what seems like an important book, but alas, Dee wins. Despite Nick, Sophie, and Perry's attempts to stop Dee, he flees with Perry, and that all too important book in tow. Not a good start to the day, huh?
Are you scratching your head yet? No worries, because it's time for some background info: Fleming and his wife are really Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel, and it turns out they're hundreds of years old. Flamel tells the gang that he was the greatest alchemyst ever, which is a fancy way of saying that in his day, he was the best scientist and the best magician around. He knows the recipe for the secret of life (which has kept him and his wife immortal).
But now that Dr. John Dee, a magician and necromancer (that term refers to a sorcerer who can raise the dead), has stolen the book, Flamel and Perenelle will age and die within a month. (Not good! We already love them.) Then, the Elder Race, the beings that ruled the earth before humans, will reclaim the world. As you can probably guess, that's not a good thing. Luckily, in the tussle with Dee, Josh ripped a couple of pages out of the book—the all-important Final Summoning Spell, so Dee can't destroy the world. Yet.
After some time in a dojo, and a crazy battle scene on the Golden Gate Bridge, Flamel, Sophie, and Josh meet up with the Goddess with the Three Faces, Hekate in the Shadowrealm. And get this—it turns out the twins have untapped magical powers. Nick decides he will teach them the Five Magics, and together they will retrieve the Codex and save Perenelle. But first, Hekate will have to Awaken the twins' powers.
See, it all comes back to this prophecy Flamel knows. Apparently these twins are the subject of the prophecy, which says that the twins hold the power to both destroy the world, and to save it.
Clearly these kids are in need of some magical guidance, and the Goddess with the Three Faces agrees to help. After some coaxing, she agrees to Awaken the twins' powers, so they can fight back against Dee and his evil machinations. She Awakens Sophie, but it's just as she's about to get started on Josh when…
… The battle begins: good guys vs. bad guys. Highlights? Perenelle uses her powers to speak through Sophie, and Dee plunges his sword, Excalibur, into the heart of the World Tree, killing Hekate. Oh, and then Dee gets the dead Hekate to tell him that she hasn't yet awoken Josh. Uh oh—Dee's getting some ideas. He wants Josh on his side.
Meanwhile, with the help of a wise witch named Dora, Sophie learns the basics of Air Magic while Dee comes ever closer. He meets up with a lonely, jealous Josh (he wants to be Awakened, too!), and tries to convince him to join the Dark Side.
Of course little does Josh know that while they're having this little chit chat, Dee has sent an army of skeletons after Sophie and Flamel. Another battle ensues until Josh saves the day by driving their car into a fountain and running over Dee.
While the Big Bad is out of commission, the Good Guys head for the nearest ley line—that's a magical form of transport—that will take them to Flamel's house in Paris.
But just as Josh is about to head to Paris (he's the last one of the group), Dee shows up. We guess being an ancient magician gives you the power to withstand major car accidents. He tries, yet again, to bring Josh over to his side, but Sophie comes back and tells Josh that she would never abandon him. (Cue sappy music.) Together, they jump through the mirror.
What will happen next? Well, Shmoopers, you'll just have to read The Magician to find out.