The first Flamel book was published in 2007, which meant that I was writing it throughout 2005 and into early 2006, but I started researching the idea in May 1997, which was when I first wrote the word Alchemyst – with a Y – in my notebook. I had no idea then that it would take almost sixteen years for the last book in the series to finally reach the shelves.
Writers often talk about books changing their lives. Not every book changes a writer’s life, but I can say, without doubt or hesitation, that The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel changed mine in so many ways. The day in 1997 when I walked into Nicholas Flamel’s house in Paris was the start of a journey which has taken me across the world as I researched the mythology behind the series. It has given me the opportunity to work in some of the great libraries, and allowed me access to many extraordinary and generous people who shared their knowledge of everything from Machu Pichu to parrots, from Alcatraz to auras.
The series has also brought me into contact, both online and in person, with fans across the world, many of whom I now count amongst my friends, and it is a friendship which will last beyond this book series.
Each year, for the past six years, a Flamel book has been published. And today sees the last one. The publication of The Enchantress brings to a conclusion this overall story arc. Over the years, the characters have become very real to me and it is bittersweet to realize that I will not write about some of them again. But I don’t think I will ever be done with The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel – I am sure I will be revisiting some of the characters in the future and I know that translations of the books will appear over the next several years.)
I am often asked if I had the chance, would I change any of the story – and the answer is, yes, of course. No book is ever entirely finished. However, although I might rework certain elements, the overall story remains very much as I conceived it all those years ago. And the ending, which I first wrote in the Flamel’s house in Paris, remains entirely untouched and is, more or less word-for-word the ending I created more than a decade ago.
This series would not, could not, exist without the extraordinary support of the fabulous team in Delacorte Press who, seven years, ago, committed to a six book series from a writer they had never heard of.
Nor could this series exist without the readers scattered all across the world, who have spent six years journeying with Sophie and Josh (although only two weeks went by for them – but what a two weeks it has been!) towards this conclusion.
So thank you – publishers, booksellers and readers – for helping Mr Flamel and Doctor Dee change my life.