- Artemis Fowl (novel)
infobox Book |
name = Artemis Fowl
country = Ireland
language = English
series = Artemis Fowl series
genre = Young adult, fantasy
release_date = April 2001
media_type = Print (Hardback &
pages = 280
isbn = ISBN 0670899623
"Artemis Fowl" is a young-adult fantasy novel written by Irish author
Eoin Colfer, the first book in the Artemis Fowl series, and is followed by . Described by its author as " Die Hard" with fairies," [cite web|title=The Age|author=Fran Atkinson|date=2 October 2005|url=http://www.theage.com.au/news/books/a-way-with-the-fairies/2005/10/01/1127804692250.html?page=2|accessdate=2008-09-01] it follows the adventures of its 12-year-old title character, a criminal mastermind, as he kidnapped a fairy for ransom.
Throughout the book, the third-person narration switches repeatedly from following the human characters to following the fairy characters, and presented underlying themes of greed and conflict. The book received a mostly favourable critical response, and several awards. [cite web|title=Artemis Fowl Official Site|url=http://www.artemisfowl.com/reviews.html|archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20080208181242/http://www.artemisfowl.com/reviews.html|archivedate=2008-02-08|accessdate=2008-03-15]
A film adaptation was reported to be in the writing stage in mid-2008, with
Jim Sheridandirecting, [citeweb|url=http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?mkt=en-us&vid=1610ad10-074e-4d35-b6f1-c32bdb5f9ed1&fg=rss&from=34|title=MSN Video: Eoin Colfer interview on the Today Show|publisher=NBC] and with filming in 2009 possible. [citeweb|url=http://artemis-fowl.com/author_interviews/afc_5.php|title=AFC Eoin Colfer Interview (August 17, 2008)|publisher=Artemis Fowl Confidential (AFC)]
Artemis Fowl II, the titular character, is the twelve-year-old son of an Irish crime lord, Artemis Fowl I. After significant research, Artemis believes that he has confirmed the existence of fairies. He tracks down a sprite posing as a healer in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and travels there with his friend and bodyguard Butler to obtain from her the The Book of the People—the Fairy holy book that is written in Gnommish.
Captain Holly Shortof the Lower Elements Police is tracking a rogue trollthat has managed to reach the surface of the Earth from the fairy city, deep underground. Assisted by a technically minded centaurcalled Foalyand LEPreconcommander Julius Root, she incapacitates the troll. However, this uses the last of her magic, and Commander Root demands that she complete the magic restoring ritual.
Artemis decodes the Book using computerised translating software, and in the process, learns the specifics of the ritual: taking an acorn from an ancient oak tree near a bend in a river under the full moon and planting it somewhere else. Artemis and Butler track down over 100 possible locations for the ritual and start a
stakeout; after nearly four months, they find the place Holly has chosen and find her starting the ritual. She attempts to use the magical mind-controlling mesmer to defend herself, but Artemis is prepared for this, and Butler tranquillises Holly with a hypodermic syringe. The LEP, who are immediately aware of her disappearance, send Julius Root to search for her. He traces her tracker to an abandoned whaler off the coast of Dublin, Ireland. Through an audio/visual communicator, Artemis informs Root from Fowl Manorthat he is holding Holly for ransom, then destroys the whaler remotely by detonating a large amount of Semtex.
A LEPretrieval team is sent to scout Fowl Manor. Using their magical 'shielding' ability, which allows them to vibrate faster than the human eye can follow, the team enters the manor grounds. Artemis anticipated this, however, and installed a camera with a high frames-per-second rate, allowing him to detect the threat by freezing the image. After Butler incapacitates the intruders, Root decides to lay siege to Fowl Manor using a time-stop and enter negotiations. The ransom demand is revealed as one metric ton of 24-carat gold. Artemis uses the opportunity to reveal his knowledge of the time-stop and claims that he can escape it.
The attempts to gain entry to the manor continue as an infamous criminal, the kleptomaniac dwarf
Mulch Diggums, is recruited to break in. Fairies are forbidden from entering human dwellings without permission, but Mulch has already broken this rule and is immune to the adverse consequences. He tunnels underground to reach the house while Foaly feeds a loop to the manor surveillance system, allowing Mulch to freely explore. Mulch locates a safe containing a copy of the Book, finally revealing to the fairies the source of Artemis' knowledge. The Fairy Council, deciding that nothing is working, promote a lieutenant called Briar Cudgeonto Acting Commander, temporarily usurping Julius Root. He sends in a troll in an attempt to elicit a cry for help, which counts as an invitation for fairies to enter. Meanwhile, recalling that she dropped the acorn from the ritual into her boot, Holly Short cracks through the concrete of her cell using her bed and completes the ritual. Having regained her magic, she escapes into the main house.
Butler, aided by the healing powers of Holly, defeats the troll, and Artemis is granted the ransom. The gold is sent in, and Artemis asks Holly for a wish: he wants to cure his mother's insanity. (She has been living in the attic, driven mad by the loss of her husband.) Holly grants the wish at the cost of about half the gold. The LEP decides to send in a 'blue rinse'—a biological bomb that kills all organic life—to eliminate Artemis and allow for the retrieval of the gold, but this fails when Artemis escapes the time-stop by drugging himself and his comrades with sleeping pills.
When Butler wakes, Artemis explains that by changing one's state of wakefulness in a time-stop, one can escape it, as it is only one's state of consciousness that keeps one trapped by the time-stop.
Artemis Fowl II– The protagonist; a 12-year-old genius, he uses his intelligence to break the law in order to obtain wealth; this stems down from his family, who have been criminals for generations. [AF Cite Book | booktitle = Artemis Fowl | booknumber = 1 | pages = yes | startpage = 28| endpage = 29] While he seems cold and distant, even from his close friend Butler, at the beginning of the book, his character develops throughout, and he shows remorse, guilt, and passion for his family at the end.
* Butler – The Fowl's
manservantand Artemis' bodyguard, but also Artemis's friend and accomplice. [AF Cite Book | booktitle = Artemis Fowl | booknumber = 1 | pages = yes | startpage = 16] Throughout the book, his first name is not revealed; this is possibly to prevent over-familiarity between bodyguard and client.
Captain Holly Short– A determined, forthright elf and the first female member of LEPrecon. Compassionate and caring, she goes as far as healing Butler from fatal wounds sustained fighting a troll, despite the fact that he has been integral in the plan to hold her hostage—this act goes some way to changing both Artemis' and Butler's views on others.
* Commander Julius Root – Known as 'Beetroot' by fellow fairies for his characteristic red face, he is Holly Short's superior officer. A
father figureto the other fairies, and specifically Holly, he appears truly distressed at her disappearance, as shown with his conversation with Artemis in the whaler, 'If you've harmed one tip of my officer's pointy ears...'. [AF Cite Book | booktitle = Artemis Fowl | booknumber = 1 | pages = yes | startpage = 109]
Foaly– The LEP's technical advisor. Portrayed as brilliant, but highly sarcastic, he is described as 'having few friends'. [AF Cite Book | booktitle = Artemis Fowl | booknumber = 1 | pages = yes | startpage = 84] The time-stop used in the siege of Fowl Manor was his invention, and he provides numerous high-tech gadgetsto the other characters.
Mulch Diggums– A criminal dwarf who is recruited by the LEP to gain access to Fowl Manor during the siege. Having already entered other dwellings without permission, he is unaffected by the effects suffered by the other fairies.
Artemis Fowl has a number of underlying themes, but the most essential of these are greed andthe conflict between good and evil. [cite web|title=MonkeyNotes|url=http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/monkeynote/pmArtemisFowlSample.pdf|accessdate=2008-09-01|format=PDF] [cite web|title=Bookrags|url=http://www.bookrags.com/studyguide-artemis-fowl/themesandcharacters.html|accessdate=2008-09-01]
Greedis the first main theme that is introduced into the book, [cite book|last=Colfer|first=Eoin|title=Artemis Fowl|year=2001|month=April|pages=16 - 18] and specifically the desire to obtain gold. In a similar manner to other themes in the book, it changes throughout, becoming less of a focus near to the end of the novel, where Artemis is willing to part with a large sum of money to help someone else.
The idea of conflict between good and evil is one that is touched upon in the book in a light hearted manner—although Artemis sees himself as an evil genius at the beginning of the book,cite web|title=Book Notes|url=http://kids.aol.com/homework-help/language-arts/book-notes/artemis-fowl#THEMES_AND_CHARACTERS|accessdate=2008-09-01] and it is indeed this image that is portrayed, the end of the story brings this idea into doubt as well when he pays to help his mother. The fairies would take the good side in this view, but this can also be questioned—they are as determined as Artemis to achieve their goals and while only some of them were willing to ruthlessly deploy a troll, regardless of the possible danger to life, all are willing to utilise a bio-bomb to force Artemis into submission.
At the bottom of each page of the book, a string of symbols appear. These symbols are supposedly Gnommish, but are really part of a
substitution cipherwhich, when decoded, reveals a message. The message runs throughout the book's pages. It can be deciphered using a section of the book's text which gives a passage in Gnommish from The Book of the People, and then its English translation. The code speaks of the storyline of this book, and its sequel; the Gnommish cipher key can be found in The Artemis Fowl Files.
In general, the book received a very positive critical response—it was on "
The New York Times" best-sellers list, the Publisher's Weekly best-sellers list, and received the Garden State Teen Book Award (2004), among other awards. [cite web|title=Artemis Fowl Reviews|url=http://www.artemisfowl.com/reviews.html|archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20080208181242/http://www.artemisfowl.com/reviews.html|archivedate=2008-02-08|accessdate=2007-04-04]
A number of reviews were written about the book. The "
New York Post" said "Artemis Fowl is great ... a new thriller fairy tale that will grab your interest, no matter your age." [cite web|title=New York Post|author=Liz Smith|url=http://www.artemisfowl.com/reviews.htm|accessdate=2007-04-04] Dead link|url=http://www.artemisfowl.com/reviews.htm|date=September 2008 and the Library Journal said "Fun to read, full of action and humour, this is recommended for all public libraries and to readers of all ages." [cite web|title=Library Journal|url=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/product-description/0786808012/ref=dp_proddesc_0/002-3872248-4655239?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books|accessdate=2008-09-01]
The majority of internet reviews and review websites also agreed that Artemis Fowl was a good book. The
Amazon.comofficial review highly complimented the book, saying "Fantastic stuff from beginning to end, Artemis Fowl is a rip-roaring, 21st century romp of the highest order." [cite web|author=Susan Harrison|title=Amazon|url=http://www.amazon.com/Artemis-Fowl-Book/dp/0786808012|accessdate=2008-09-01] and the book was also generally well received by the public, with an average score of 4/5 from Amazon users. [cite web|title=Amazon|url=http://www.amazon.com/review/product/0786808012/ref=cm_cr_pr_redirect/102-2990872-5144920|accessdate=2007-04-10]
Reviews, however, were not all positive. "
USA Today" scathingly concluded: "All the familiar action-flick clichés are trotted out: the backstabbing, politically astute subordinate; the seemingly loony but loyal computer expert; the dabs of family loyalty; the requisite happy ending; the utterly unsubtle plugs for the sequel; the big action scenes. ... Resist the hype, parents, booksellers and librarians. This is not the new Harry Potter, nor is it a good children's book." [cite web|author=Deirdre Donahue|title=USA Today|url=http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/2001-05-01-artemis-fowl-review.htm|accessdate=2008-09-01]
* [http://www.artemisfowl.com/ Official Site]
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