Study Guide

The Alchemyst Chapter 5

By Michael Scott

Chapter 5

  • Sophie locks up the coffee shop and leaves a note for Bernice so her boss doesn't call the police. By the way, the twins' parents are archaeologists, who are currently teaching at the University of San Francisco. Or at least they will be for another 6 weeks. 
  • In the meantime, Sophie and Josh have been staying with their Aunt Agnes (or as Josh jokes, Aunt Agony) in Pacific Heights. They decide to give their 84-year-old aunt, who they are quite fond of, an excuse for their absence, so she won't worry.
  • We then get a nifty description of Josh. He's a totally normal teen who likes football, video games, The Simpsons, and Shrek
  • But "ordinary teens" don't find themselves in the middle of battles between ancient magicians, do they? Josh isn't sure he can believe it.
  • Flamel says that they need to hide fast, but not to worry because he and his wife are pros at it because they've been hiding from Dr. John Dee for half a millennium. 
  • A concerned Sophie asks whether Dee will harm Perry, but Flamel reassures her that Perenelle can take care of herself. We certainly hope so.
  • As they leave the scene of the crime, Josh tells Sophie that he Googled Dr. John Dee and Nick's story checks out. Ah, the wonders of technology.
  • Sophie rushes to catch up with Flamel, but gets a shock that feels like static electricity. Yowza.
  • I'm an alchemyst, Flamel explains. That means he's a scientist/magician from Medieval times, and the shock came from his aura—the electrical field that surrounds every living organism. Humans used to be able to see it, but most have lost the ability. It looks like a glow around a body, but each is unique in color and strength. You can learn a lot about a person from their aura—whether they are sick, sad, angry, or scared. Hey, Shmoop wants to see one.
  • Sophie says she'd like to learn how to see auras, but Flamel warns her to be careful of what you wish for because "every use of power has a cost." Ominous, much?
  • The twins ask the question we've been dreading: is Dr. John Dee more powerful than Flamel? 
  • He answers that Dee is infinitely more powerful. We mean, come on, the guy spent five centuries developing his powers while Flamel spent that whole time hiding his. 
  • See, Dee once was Flamel's student, but he became his enemy when he became greedy and jealous of the Codex. He even tried to steal it and to assassinate Nick and Perry. 
  • When they escaped, Dee followed. 
  • In London in 1666, Dee almost caught them. History refers to this incident as the Great Fire, but Nick knows what really went down.
  • Oh and in Ireland in the 1840s, Dee sent the Disease and Hunger Wights, known as the Great Famine (check out "Historical References"). Dee always hated mankind.
  • The twins ask what's so special about the book, and Flamel responds that the secret of immortality is the least of its secrets—with the book Dr. John Dee can remake the world for the Dark Elders he serves. 
  • The only place for humans in it would be as slaves or food. So… not good?