Wow! Well, like you, I tried a simple book after managing to obtain the Kindle app for the WebOS HP Touchpad that I bought very cheaply (not easy, as it is not available to download for the UK), although my first Kindle book was free.
Well I bought and read Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy (which I wanted to read prior to watching the new film); a great choice which was very "unputdownable", so after reading your review of Alchemists I thought that I would buy it.
Needless to say (but I am anyway!), I can tell you're spot on, after reading one chapter, rarely have I felt so hooking into continuing to read.. such a long list of why this, why that, that I just have know the answers to... somehow I think I will be sleeping less for a while. Thank you:-)