The Arctic Incident sees the slightly older, perhaps slightly more mellow, arch-criminal Artemis recovered from his last adventure, richer now that he has his half-a-hoard of fairy gold, and happier since the Clarice Starling-esque super-fairy Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon returned his mother's ailing mind to full health.
But there is still much unfinished business: Artemis Fowl Senior disappeared when a daring escapade, designed to free his family from their criminal--not to mention deeply lucrative--past and move the family's assets into legitimate enterprises, went horribly wrong. Held captive by the Mafiya (the Russian organised crime sindicate) for over two years, he has been declared officially dead, but Artemis junior knows in his heart (yes, he does have one) that his beloved father is still alive and determines to find him. Meanwhile Captain Short is temporarily on assignment to Customs and Excise as punishment for letting Fowl separate her and her People from their gold and is finding her stake-out duties a little dull. But it soon becomes obvious that the pair have need of each other's considerable skill base, and before long they are on track for an adventure that will ultimately have far-reaching consequences for both of them.
If you enjoyed the first book, you won't be disappointed by the second. Initially the pace is perhaps a little slower, but once the sparks between Holly and Artemis begin to fly, and the adventure that tests their endurance to their emotional, physical and intellectual limits begins, the pages just keep on turning.
The high-tech hocus pocus and complex James Bond-style storyline will keep even the most reluctant reader enthralled, while the developing tension between Holly and Artemis becomes increasingly intriguing and is more than enough to keep readers coming back for more. Add to the mix a fair dollop of humour, the occasional sprinkling of right-on commentary about the state of the planet, plus the fact there are enough hooks in the story to ensure you will be gagging for Artemis III, this chilling, thrilling adventure is a seriously cool (in more ways than one!) must-read for anyone aged nine or over. --Susan Harrison
About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
'Now, Master Fowl, lets talk, shall we?'
Artemis sighed deeply, smoothing his dark hair back from a wide, pale brow. When would people learn that a mind such as his could not be dissected? He himself had read more psychology textbooks than the counselor. He had even contributed an article to The Psychologists' Journal under the pseudonym Doctor F. Roy Dean Schlippe.
'Certainly, Doctor. Let's talk about your chair. Victorian?'
Po rubbed the leather arm fondly. 'Yes, quite correct. Something of a family heirloom. My grandfather acquired it at an auction at Sotheby's. Apparently it once stood in the palace. The Queen's favourite.'
A taut smile stretch Artemis's lips perhaps a centimeter. 'Really, Doctor. They don't generally allow fakes in the palace.'
Po's grip stretched the worn leather. 'Fake? I assure you, Master Fowl, this is completely authentic.'
Artemis leaned in for a closer examination. 'It's clever, I grant you. But look here.' Po's gaze followed the youth's finger. 'Those furniture tacks. See the criss-cross pattern on the head? Machine tooled. Nineteen-twenty at the earliest. Your grandfather was duped. But what matter? A chair is a chair. A possession of no importance, eh Doctor?
Po scribbled furiously, burying his dismay. 'Yes, Artemis, very clever. Just as your file says. Playing your little games. Now, shall we get back to you?'
Artemis Fowl the Second straightened the crease in his trousers.
'There is a problem here, Doctor.'
'Really? And what might that be?'
'The problem is that I know the textbook replies to any question you care to ask.'
Doctor Po jotted in his pad for a full minute. 'We do have a problem, Artemis. But that's not it,' he said eventually.
Artemis almost smiled. No doubt the doctor would treat him to another predictable theory. Which disorder would he have today? Multiple personality perhaps, or maybe he'd be a pathological liar?
The problem is that you don't respect anyone enough to treat them as an equal.'
Artemis was thrown by the statement. This doctor was smarter than the rest. 'That's ridiculous. I hold several people in the highest esteem.'
Po did not glance up from his notebook. 'Really? Who, for example?'
Artemis thought for a moment. 'Albert Einstein. His theories were usually correct. And Archimedes, the Greek mathematician.'
'What about someone you actually know?'
Artemis thought hard. No one came to mind.
'What? No examples?'
Artemis shrugged. 'You seem to have all the answers, Doctor Po. Why don't you tell me?'
Po opened a window on his laptop. 'Extraordinary. Every time I read this ...'
'My biography, I presume?'
'Yes, it explains a lot.'
'Such as?' asked Artemis, interested in spite of himself.
Doctor Po printed off a page.
'Firstly there's your associate, Butler. A bodyguard, I understand. Hardly a suitable companion for an impressionable boy. Then there's your mother. A wonderful woman in my opinion, but with absolutely no control over your behaviour. Finally, there's your father. According to this, he wasn't much of a role model even when he was alive.'
The remark stung, but Artemis wasn't about to let the doctor realize how much. 'Your file is mistaken, Doctor,' he said. 'My father is alive. Missing perhaps, but alive.' <
Po checked the sheet. 'Really? I was under the impression that he has been missing for almost two years. Why, the courts have declared him legally dead.'
Artemis's voice was devoid of emotion, though his heart was pounding. 'I don't care what the courts say, or the Red Cross. He is alive, and I will find him.'
Po scratched another note.
'But even if your father were to return, what then?' he asked. 'Will you follow in his footsteps? Will you be a criminal like him? Perhaps you already are?'
'My father was no criminal,' Artemis pointed out testily. 'He was moving our assets into legitimate enterprises. The Murmansk venture was completely above board.'
'You're avoiding the question, Artemis,' said Po.
But Artemis had had enough of his line of questioning. Time to play a little game. 'Why, Doctor?' said Artemis, shocked. 'This is a sensitive area. For all you know, I could be suffering from depression.'
'I suppose you could,' said Po, sensing a breakthrough. 'Is that the case?'
Artemis dropped his face into his hand. 'It's my mother Doctor.'
'Your mother?' prompted Po, trying to keep the excitement from his voice. Artemis had retired half a dozen counselors from St Bartleby's already this year. Truth be told, Po was on the point of packing his own bags. But now ...
'My mother, she ... '
Po leaned forward on his fake Victorian chair. 'Your mother, yes?'
'She forces me to endure this ridiculous therapy, when the schools so-called counselors are little better than misguided do-gooders with degrees.'
Po sighed. 'Very well, Artemis. Have it your way, but you are never going to find peace if you continue to run away from your problems.'
Artemis was spared further analysis by the vibration of his cell phone. It was on a coded secure line. Only one person had the number. The boy retrieved it from his pocket, flipping open the tiny communicator. 'Yes?'
Butler's voice came through the speaker. 'Artemis. It's me.'
'Obviously. I'm in the middle of something here.'
'We've had a message.'
'Yes. From where?'
'I don't know exactly. But it concerns the Fowl Star.'
A jolt flew along Artemis's spine. 'Where are you?'
'The main gate.'
'Good man. I'm on my way.'
Doctor Po whipped off his spectacles. 'This session is not over, young man. We made some progress here today, even if you won't admit it. Leave now, and I will be forced to inform the Dean.'
The warning was lost on Artemis. He was already somewhere else. A familiar electric buzz was crackling over his skin. This was the beginning of something. He could feel it