Physik Published by Harper Collins
on April 1st, 2007 Genres: Action & Adventure
, Middle Grade
, Science Fiction Format:
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When Silas Heap unSeals a forgotten room in the Palace, he releases the ghost of a Queen who lived five hundred years earlier. Queen Etheldredda is as awful in death as she was in life, and she’s still up to no good. Her diabolical plan to give herself everlasting life requires Jenna’s compliance, Septimus’s disappearance, and the talents of her son, Marcellus Pye, a famous Alchemist and Physician. And if Queen Etheldredda’s plot involves Jenna and Septimus, then it will surely involve Nicko, Alther Mella, Marcia Overstrand, Beetle, Stanley, Sarah, Silas, Spit Fyre, Aunt Zelda, and all of the other wacky, wonderful characters that made Magyk and Flyte so memorable.
Welcome back to the world of Septimus Heap!
All About Alchemie
In Physik, we meet Marcellus Pye, an alchemist and quite an unique character. He’s quirky and he’s mysterious, he knows things that most people don’t, and he gets caught up in some crazy schemes. I thought it would be interesting to look up more about Alchemie, as it does it exist the the real world, and wanted to compare the book’s take on Alchemie and what it’s like in our world.
Interested? Here’s the official definition of Alchemie:
the medieval forerunner of chemistry, based on the supposed transformation of matter. It was concerned particularly with attempts to convert base metals into gold or to find a universal elixir.
I also googled ‘Marcellus Pye’, and confirmed it for myself that he is purely fictional. However, there are many real alchemists from all over the world. If you want to hear more specifics from Angie Sage about writing about Alchemie, Marcellus Pye, and Physik itself, read on:
Angie Sage on Alchemie, Marcellus Pye, & Physik
PHYSIK was a strange book to write. So many things that I had thought I’d invented turned out to be more real than I imagined. I suppose that is Alchemie!
The way I have written the whole Septimus series is, frankly, without doing very much research at all. I have relied on my magpie brain to pull in all kinds of oddities that I have come across over the years.
The Alchemie in PHYSIK is a mixture of much that I have been interested in. I wanted it to be a science of energy and creation paired with the science of healing, or Physik, as it was once known.
Marcellus Pye, the alchemist, was such an interesting character to write. He turned out to have a very Venetian feel about him. He was the son of a Queen who swanned around in a very fancy, ornate black and red boat – very Venetian – and he had an obsession with mirrors. And of course, so does Venice—along with a history of encouraging alchemy.
Marcellus’s hairstyle was another odd thing. He has an odd one: a bowl cut (we call it ‘pudding basin’ in England) with a very short fringe, which I think you call bangs. As soon I ‘met’ him I knew this was how his hair must be but had no idea why this was so important. Later I discovered by chance that in the eighteenth century this style of wig was worn only by physicians as a sign of their calling. And of course, Marcellus was also a physician…
The writing of Physik turned out to be an adventure into mysterious territory, about which I knew more than I first realised. One day I would like to return and see what else I can discover.
What I admire so much about Physik is how it manages to wrap so many elements together-time travel, ghosts, ancestry, alchemie, epidemics: all into one huge story that works perfectly. Characters jump into mirrors and run into new people, new creatures. Queen Etheldredda, the ‘bad guy’ of the book, is one of my favorite villians of all time: she’s terrifying, ruthless, and cunning. Septimus’s transition into learning Alchemie was also interesting-and I couldn’t even forget Marcellus Pye if I tried. Overall, this installment is unforgettable, and sets the bar pretty high with all of its adventures, new characters, and elements.
“Septimus was suddenly horribly afraid that the Antidote would not work. He glanced nervously at Marcia, who whispered, “It will work, Septimus. You mustbelieve in it.”
Physik isn’t like Magyk,” said Septimus unhappily. “It doesn’t matter whether you expect it to work or not. Either it does or it doesn’t.”
“I doubt that very much,” said Marcia. “A little belief in something always helps.”
“A Magnificent Banquet, being
A Thanksgiving for the Safe Return
Of our Beloved Daughter,
Bring your own plates.”
“Been having a fight with your blankets, Septimus?” A familiar voice echoed down the chimney. “Looks like you lost,” the voice continued with a chuckle. “Not wise to take on a pair of blankets, lad. One, maybe, but two blankets always gang up on you. Vicious things, blankets. ”
Waiting for next month’s read? Check out Queste, the fourth book in the Septimus Heap series:
There’s trouble at the Castle, and it’s all because Merrin Meredith has returned with Darke plans for Septimus. More trouble awaits Septimus and Jenna in the form of Tertius Fume, the ghost of the very first Chief Hermetic Scribe, who is determined to send Septimus on a deadly Queste. But Septimus and Jenna have other plans–they are headed for the mysterious House of Foryx, a place where all Time meets and the place where they fervently hope they will be able to find Nicko and Snorri, who were trapped back in time in physik. But how will Septimus escape the Queste?
Queste, like all the books in the Septimus Heap series, is filled with nonstop action, humor, and fantastical adventure as Septimus continues his journey of Magykal self-discovery.
Thanks for joining me, once again, in the world of Septimus Heap! I wanted to give a special thank-you to Angie Sage for her lovely time and help with all of these posts. It is wonderful to chat with her all about Septimus, and even more wonderful to read her own thoughts on some of the aspects in the Septimus Heap world. Now that you’ve read Physik, be sure to go on a Queste to get yourself a copy of Queste! See you next month!