Nicholas Flamel, like just about everyone in this series, is based on a real historical figure.
Nicholas Flamel was born in 1330 and earned a living as a bookseller and a copier, writing letters and copying books for clients.
One day he bought an extraordinary book. It was bound between two copper plates and written and illustrated in a strange language on twenty-one pages of what might have been papyrus or bark. The is the Book of Abraham. It too, really existed and Nicholas Flamel left us with a very detailed description of the book and its illustrations.
Accompanied by his wife, Perenelle, he spent more than twenty years trying to translate the book, and it was a journey which took him all across Europe.
No one knows what happened to Nicholas Flamel on that journey. He claims that he with a mysterious man called Canches who helped him translate the book. What is true is that when Nicholas returned to Paris in the late 14th Century, he was extraordinarily wealthy. Although Nicholas and Perenelle continued to live quiet, unassuming lives, they gave away a lot of their money to charity, and founded hospitals, churches and orphanages.
The rumour quickly went around that he had discovered one of the two great secrets of alchemy in the Book of Abraham: how to create a philosophers stone, which changes ordinary metal into gold. Neither Nicholas nor Perenelle would ever confirm the rumours and they never explained how they had become so rich.
The records show that Perenelle died first, and then not long afterwards, in 1418, the death of Nicholas Flamel is recorded. His house was sold and the buyers tore the place apart looking for some of the Flamel
Had the Flamels been buried in secret graves, or had they never died in the first place? Had they discovered that other great secret of alchemy: the elixir of eternal life?
Perenelle was ten years older then Nicholas when she married him. The records suggest that she may have been a widow. She was an educated woman and actively assisted in the translation of the Book of Abraham.
When Nicholas returned to Paris, it was Perenelle who suggested that some of their great wealth could be used to help the poor.
In recognition of their great charitable works, there are two streets - the Rue Flamel and the Rue Perenelle - named in their honour in present day Paris.
Josh and Sophie Newman
They are twins, born on the 21 December and Sophie is 28 seconds older than her brother.
Their parents are archaeologists and paleontologists, currently working in Utah and the twins are staying with their Aunt Agnes in San Francisco for the summer. Sophie is working in a coffee shop, while her brother works across the road in The Small Book Shop.
They have no idea that the people Josh is working for are Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel.
Doctor John Dee
John Dee was one of the most brilliant men of the Elizabethan Age. All the factual details about his life in The Alchemyst are true: he was an alchemist, a mathematician, a geographer, an astronomer and an astrologer.
He did choose the date for Queen Elizabeth I’s coronation and when he was part of her network of spies, he signed his coded messages "oo7." The two Os representing the eyes of the Queen and the symbol that looked like a 7 was Dee’s personal mark.
There is evidence to suggest that when Shakespeare created the character of Prospero for The Tempest, he modeled him on Dee.
She is the Warrior, a legendary Celtic female warrior, who ran one of the most famous fighting schools on the Isle of Skye.
She had trained the heroes and warriors for generations, and now Flamel has called upon her to protect the twins. She is 2517 years old, but actually looks no older than 17.
Joan of Arc
Billy the Kid
Character descriptions taken from www.dillonscott.com.