Study Guide

The Alchemyst Chapter 1

By Michael Scott

Chapter 1

  • It's Thursday, the thirty-first of May. Welcome to the world of Sophie Newman. 
  • Who's that, you say? Well, we don't know exactly who Sophie is yet, but we know she's talking on the phone to her friend, Elle, so that'll have to do for now. 
  • Oh, and she's currently hanging out in a coffee shop.
  • Sophie asks her friend why anyone would want to wear an overcoat in San Francisco in the middle of summer. Apparently, there are two people across the street wearing overcoats. 
  • Sophie wonders aloud who the people might be, and what they are doing outside of The Small Book Shop. 
  • Hey, Elle suggests, maybe they're just cold. 
  • Not so, says Sophie, after checking her thermometer. It's eighty-one degrees outside—that's way too hot for overcoats. Now she's downright suspicious. 
  • As the friends continue to chat over the phone, another man (even larger than the first two) emerges. Sophie catches sight of his pale gray-white skin.
  • Continuing her play-by-play of the goings on across the street, Sophie tells Elle that a fourth person has stepped out of the car. He's a small well-dressed man in a gray tailored suit. Oh, and he just walked into the bookshop.
  • This is all very suspect, if we may say.
  • Her interest piqued, Elle eagerly asks if Sophie's twin brother, Josh, still works at the bookshop. Maybe they can get the scoop from him. (Or maybe Elle just wants to talk to Josh—wink, wink.)
  • Yeah, yeah he does, says Sophie. But she's a bit preoccupied with snooping, so she tells Elle she'll call her back in a bit. 
  • Suddenly, the gray man turns around and seems to stare directly at Sophie. Yikes. 
  • Even though Sophie knows there is no way for the small gray man to see her through the pane of glass, she feels like he can, and the hair on the back of her hands and forearms tingles. 
  • The dude's eyes are glowing. Yep, glowing. 
  • In the few seconds their eyes meet, Sophie decides she does not like the man. No wonder.
  • Suddenly we are transported to the inside of the bookshop, where Josh Newman (Sophie's twin bro) smells peppermint and rotten eggs. 
  • Now there's a combo. He wonders where the gross smells are coming from. 
  • Josh continues to look for The Complete Works of Charles Dickens on the shelves of the shop, but the guy just can't find the book. 
  • Josh knows that Nick and Perry Fleming, the owners of the bookshop, would be able to find the book in a matter of minutes.
  • Finally, the smell of rotten eggs and peppermint gets so intense that Josh feels like he's going to throw up.
  • He pops his head out of the cellar door to look around, and in that moment, Josh realizes that the world will never be the same. 
  • Intrigued yet? Keep reading.