Study Guide

Artemis Fowl Chapter 1

By Eoin Colfer

Chapter 1

The Book

  • We open on Ho Chi Minh City, which is, all in all, a prettyrandom choice for the first line of a first chapter.
  • Our first introduction to Artemis is the same one we'll get over and over again: the comparison to a vampire.
  • Artemis rebukes someone named Butler for the last trip theytook together, as it apparently was based on false information—and we get an immediate sense that Artemis's family is old-fashioned when the narrator points out that Butler calls a twelve-year-old boy "sir."
  • The two sit under an umbrella waiting for a guy called Nguyen,and we get a glimpse into Artemis's mind that tells us nothing except that he wants some Book really badly.
  • A waiter comes to pour them tea, and Artemis calls out hisreally terrible disguise.
  • Nguyen had dressed like a waiter to check for weapons before sitting down, so Artemis obliges by giving him a very long and very scary list of all the weapons Butler is carrying, including one in his watch.
  • Because Nguyen isn't frightened enough by a kid listing offdeath instruments, Artemis tells him the weapons don't matter anyway and Butler could easily kill him without them.
  • We learn for the first time that there's an Artemis FowlSenior, and that people expect to be dealing with him when they arrange a meeting with a Fowl.
  • Nguyen apparently answered an online advertisement with information Artemis needed, but Artemis is (reasonably) suspicious of Nguyen's intentions and truthfulness.
  • Nguyen produces a picture of a hand, which soundsuninteresting until you realize the hand is green and belongs to a healer who works in exchange for rice wine.
  • We get some hints about research that Artemis has been doing,which evidently all includes people drinking.
  • Because Nguyen makes the mistake of refusing to lead Artemis to the green-handed person, Butler grabs him by the neck and, you know, makes him lead.
  • Of course, because Artemis is in a hurry, suddenly the streetsare completely crowded and his car is stuck going nowhere.
  • They proceed on foot, and Artemis casually tells Nguyen that Butler will kill him if he tries to run.
  • An "unfortunate pickpocket" (1.49) tries to stealfrom Butler and gets his fingers broken just as casually, and we realize how very dangerous Butler is.
  • The book kind of glosses over the next part, but basically Butler, Nguyen, and Artemis visit a poverty-stricken alley without sparing any change or help for anyone; Nguyen points to a dark corner of the alley where the green-handed person stays away from the sunlight.
  • Artemis puts on some night-vision goggles and looks into theshadows, seeing an unusually small person surrounded by a bunch of empty rice wine jugs.
  • It turns out the random drunken person in the shadows of animpoverished alley in Ho Chi Minh City speaks English. How convenient for us as readers.
  • The healer demands wine before she will talk to Artemis, so Butler takes out a bottle of Irish whiskey.
  • Artemis plays a juvenile game of keep-away so that the personhas to reach her green arm out of the shadows to grab the bottle.
  • Artemis might be a criminal, but he pays for good information,so Nguyen gets away with twenty thousand dollars and his life. Yee-haw.
  • The healer offers to fix Artemis's sore head or bad tooth, butArtemis demands her Book.
  • Denying knowledge of any Book, the healer forces Artemis tocall her what she is: "a sprite, p'shóg, fairy, ka-dalun" (1.79).
  • The fairy responds by throwing back her hood, and we see along, hooked nose, two golden eyes, and pointed ears.
  • She threatens Artemis with a magical death, which he laughs atand waves away because she's been drinking so long she's half dead and barely has any magic left.
  • Artemis offers options: (1) He and Butler leave without theBook, or (2) the fairy loans him the Book for half an hour, and he cures her alcoholism and her lack of magic.
  • The fairy chooses the first option up until Artemis tells her the whiskey was full of holy water and she'll be dead within the day.
  • Artemis claims he has two serums, one full of spring waterfrom the most magical place on earth, and one that uses a virus to flush every drop of alcohol from her system.
  • He gives her the vial of spring water on faith since he already did the jerk move of poisoning her, so the sprite gives up her Book for thirty minutes, and Butler slowly photographs each page before sending the data to the server back at Artemis's house (which is totally called Fowl Manor).
  • Artemis gives back the Book and pretends like he's going toleave without giving her the second serum—what is wrong with that guy?
  • The fairy demands what Artemis promised, and he warns her that it won't be pleasant. She insists though, so Butler gives her the second shot.
  • They leave, avoiding the horrific sight of a body being purgedof alcohol.
  • Because we're still a little in the dark about who Butler is,we get a brief bit of history of the Butler family and how they've served the Fowl family forever.
  • We learn that Butler children train from ten years old to cook, beat people up, spy on stuff, and perform emergency rescues, and that they pair with a Fowl for life.
  • On the plane back to Ireland, Butler asks Artemis why theydidn't kill the sprite.
  • Artemis coldly rationalizes that a corpse would have been evidence and he didn't want the fairy People looking for him—plus he gave the sprite amnesia by mixing something into the second serum.
  • Content, Butler goes back to reading Guns & Ammo (did you think he'd read Vogue?) with complete faith in Artemis.

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