Science fiction and fantasy

Artemis Fowl cover

The Secret Eater

Artemis Fowl

by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl is 12, and a criminal mastermind. How cute. His latest scam involves a plan to steal huge amounts of gold in order to revive his family fortunes. The only problem is, he wants to take it from the fairies.

However these fairies are no prissy little things with long pipes and green tights. They are highly organised, with all the latest hardware and state of the art equipment. Rather like Artemis. This equipment is necessary to conceal the underground world of fairy society from prying human eyes.

So when Artemis kidnaps Holly Short, a fairy who works in the elite LEPrecon unit, the big guns have to be brought out, both magical and technological.

Artemis Fowl has been compared with the Harry Potter books, but in fact it has a lot more in common with Tom Holt's work. It's levity and refusal to take anything seriously set a very similar tone to Holt, as well as the way they both put a modern slant on old myths.

Artemis has managed to get his hands on a book sacred to fairy kind, and he intends to use it to swindle them. The fairy races, who include centaurs, trolls, dwarves, goblins and others, as well as fairies, find themselves outsmarted at every turn by this child. Being something of a prodigy, and living in a world of large mansions and loyal butlers, Artemis is a little unreal. It's hard to like him, or even to suspend disbelief enough to imagine him. His mother, who began to go insane when his father disappeared, allows readers to see that Artemis does have vulnerabilities and a more human side.

Needless to say things go awry, and fairy forces contain the mansion with an inescapable containment field, and threaten to detonate a bio-bomb. This will kill every living thing within, and keep their hidden world secret. This doesn't daunt Artemis, who remains cool in the face of an angry bull troll and almost certain death.

Having an anti-hero means that there is no central character to cheer for. Readers may be torn between wanting the fairy and human characters to prevail. The trouble is, they may end up not caring about either. The fairys profess to care about the environment, and the damage that humans do to it. The book is full of them bemoaning the state of affairs, to the extent that it comes across as quite preachy in parts. On the whole though it's meant to be funny. A lot of the humour is slapstick and visual, such as a particularly gross-out scene involving a dwarf and his digestion.

Artemis Fowl is a pacy, easy and not unpleasant read. The ending is satisfactory if somewhat predictable. It's Tom Holt for a slightly younger audience. It doesn't engage and absorb in the way that the His Dark Materials trilogy does, but if you prefer short and silly to metaphysical and serious, then you will enjoy reading this book.

3 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson

Book Details

Year of release: 2001

Categories: Books
Male Protagonist

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Chris Jordan 18th November, 2004 21:32pm

Da Bomb!

Chrissie 12th May, 2005 09:26am

I loved this book! It's so original and I have read all 4 and the Files as well. Aparrently no.5 is going to be called THE LOST COLONY. I can't wait! These are some of the best books in history!
(Holly & Juliet are the best!!!!!)

Clancy 7th July, 2005 04:10am

I read about book number 5, I'm so excited! He better not end the series there, because 5 books is most certianly NOT enough :) I crave Artemis Fowl :)

Foaly is my idol, he's funny :P
Awww holly and Arty are so much closer in the Opal Deception, bff.

strider 14th July, 2005 14:23pm

artemis fowl is soooooooo gay, and i mean homosexually, not crap

foaly is the best 15th July, 2005 14:15pm

i just wish to say that i object to the sexual and emotional relationships between artemis and holly and the alleged relationships between foaly and artemis the twerp. ps opal is evil, and therefore cool

jack 7th December, 2005 03:08am

i just got done with the opal deception. did it occur to anyone that opal played right into artemisis hands even though shes suppose to be a genius?

A Cup Of Earl Grey 28th December, 2005 15:09pm

Juliet and Arty belongs together !!!
But if Artemis is gay, Butler and Artemis would make a perfect couple !!

waywalker 1st January, 2006 16:02pm

Artemis Fowl seriously rocks!!! cant wait for book 5(the lost colony?) w.o.w.

Foaly 9th January, 2006 20:27pm

hello! i've foun some info about the movie- so i thought i would add it too!

(Have NOT been confirmed by official sources, but I have heard these rumours many times, so they may be more than rumours??
? Jason Statham : Domovoi Butler
? Timothy Olyphant : Foaly the Centaur
? Eoin Colfer (author of the book series) :Goblin (cameo role)
Film's current status
The production of the film is now officially going ahead. the film is being made by mirimax films. It is unclear whether the three sequels (Arctic Incident, Eternity Code, Opal Deception, and maybe even the short Seventh Dwarf) will go ahead, although it is likely that they will. Laurence Gutterman is no longer the director. Stuart Beattie is writing the script for the movie, which will be finished in late 2005, they'll be filming during 2006 and the film will be released in 2007.
? Will be filmed in Ireland, not Hollywood.
? They had someone to play Artemis, but it was postponed for 2 years, so the kid grew too old for the part.
? Colfer wanted Winona Ryder to play Holly Short but he has said she has not been cast
? Cameron Diaz has been connected with the Holly Short role but Colfer has said she has not been cast
? Nicholas Hoult has been connected with the Artemis role, but has now grown too old to play the part.
? Halle Berry has been connected with the Holly Short role
? Eoin Colfer has said that Catherine Zeta Jones would play a brilliant Opal.
? All of the fairies will be played by Americans.

Q and A with Eoin
What's next for you? Will there be a Book 5 in the series after THE OPAL DECEPTION (which releases on April 20, 2005), and is there any update on the Artemis Fowl movie that's in the works?

EC: I am working on book 5 at the moment. It is tentatively called THE LOST COLONY. As for the movie, the studio is hoping to get a director and cast this year, so fingers crossed.

A Cup Of Earl Grey 17th January, 2006 17:49pm

Is it true that the girl hwo is the actor of Lizzie McGuire(I dont remember her name..Hillary or something..)will play Juliet ??! It can't be true !!
I think that Catherine Zeta Jones would play Artemis's mother..

Zara Melody 1st March, 2006 21:25pm

Artemis Fowl Rocks!!!!
Waywalker, Its The Last Colony, It's About A group of fairies who decided to not go underground & stay on a Speical Island (THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE??)
Now there popping up everywhere, and Artemis is waiting. Other Fan Sites have more information to give.

Zara Melody 2nd March, 2006 21:27pm

Artemis Fowl Rocks!!!
I heard from ONE_ place that Hilary Duff may play Juliet, But it will probaly be a European.

eagle 9th April, 2006 11:35am

i just want to say that artemis fowl is the best and i cant wait for "the lost colony"

Nina 16th April, 2006 21:31pm

Artemis Fowl rocks! I thimk that Juliet should play a bigger part in the lost colony when it comes out. also i think that arty needs to make some friends his own age.....

*Jessica* 17th April, 2006 12:18pm

OMG i am soooo glad i found this site!
i love artemis fowl! (the books not the character) i have read them all at least twice! i cant wait till the next book comes out. does anyone know about the 'seventh dwarf'? is that actually a book or is it just a rumor?

*Jessica* 18th April, 2006 07:58am

hi again people. i love artemis fowl. just thought i would mention it. lol
:) :) :)

heck on wheels 14th May, 2006 21:12pm

Mulch Diggums is the best he is so funny! Kleptomaniac dwarves rule! i so think that Mulch should get complete amnesty!

Opal 18th May, 2006 19:45pm

7th dwarf is a little book which was released for world book day. I havent managed to read it yet but seeign as ive read the rest of them it isnt plot essential - just some background on Mulch!

SAKURA 22nd May, 2006 13:59pm

I Have just recently read the fourth Artemis Fowl book and remembered that a movie is due to come out. I was wondering if casting is being done and if it is open to the public? I was wondering if a person for Opal has been chosen and if not, could I go to Castings?

Zara Melody 24th May, 2006 21:41pm

Cathreine Zeta Jones is supose to play Opal. And the "Seventh Dwarf" came out in the "Fowl Files" along with one about Holly getting into the LEP. Has Any one else decoded the 1st & 4th book?

courtney 4th June, 2006 08:39am

artemis fowl sounds hot the person who plays him in the movie shpuld be to!

courtney 4th June, 2006 08:43am

i hope hillary duff is not juliet

Zara Melody 7th June, 2006 22:32pm

I doubt Juliet will play Artemis fowl. (see other entry) I think it's neat that Eoin Colfer has meanins for his characters names (Artemis was the greek goddess of the hunt - but you should know that if you read the third book.)

Steph 16th June, 2006 22:37pm

Hillary Duff is a complete idiot. She should not play Juliet Butler in the Arty Fowl movies. There, I said it!

me 16th June, 2006 22:56pm

The Artemis Fowl books were great. I'm not sure you're supposed peel the covers though. Anyway, I think that the next book, The Lost Colony is going to be great! I'm kind of upset that they are making a movie out of thee books. Eoin Colfer is taking a great risk turning a book into a movie. Do you know how many good books have been ruined whenn they were turned into video?

opalrulz 20th June, 2006 03:05am


Stashie 20th June, 2006 22:15pm

Okay first I love Artemis FOwl, both the books and the character! and I agree Artemis should be hot! and also I think Arty and Holly would be sooo cute together! I dont care how old Holly is (just because her age is high doesnt mean she has to look old!)and I dont care that there is a difference in species but at least Arty should maybe have a crush on Holly! Or Holly and Chix should hook up! But I DO NOT beleive that Artemis is gay AT ALL!

Mia 21st July, 2006 23:59pm

Whenever I think of Artemis Fowl a vision pf Keanu Reaves's character Neo (in Matrix) pops up in my head. (only he's 12 years old)

Caitlin Breeze 28th July, 2006 09:19am

Hillary Duff can not play Julia she's a CRAZY!!!!

no.1 fan 8th August, 2006 15:33pm

I agree with most of you guys. HILLARY DUFF SHOULD NOT PLAY THE PART OF JULIET.She'll be horrible as Juliet.I was thinking that Tricia Brock or an unknown talent should.Ithink she'll be the perfect Juliet.

Zara Melody 11th September, 2006 21:16pm

I have just read the fifth book, and it was GREAT!!! And for for all you sickos making predicions of Artemis and Holly or Artemis and Butler(etc), this proves that he is not gay and that he won't be landing with Holly or Juliet any time soon. (I agree, Hilary Duff Would be TERRIBLE!!!) Hint-Minerva

funky girl 28th July, 2007 01:01am

arty is SO not gay!!! he's awesome and he sounds cute! omg i can't believe i said that! but it's true. also: HILARY DUFF!?!?!? juliet is supposed to be smart. hilary couldn't add 2+2!! i agree that minerva and artemis are gonna date in the sixth book. both geniuses, both after fairies! a match made in heaven!

sam 31st July, 2007 21:02pm

when is the movie going 2 open, and who is going 2 act as arty. i heard rumors of the person who plays malfoud (harry potter) is going to play as arty, but isn,t he 2 old? arty ruuuuuuuuuuulllllllleeeeesss alot :):):):):) arty is not GAY

jadeprincess 17th September, 2007 01:43am

i agree that artemis is NOT gay!!!!!!!
he does seem hot and i know a guy who would b perfect to play him but is not irish.

The Real Holly Short - (just kidding) 26th December, 2007 18:34pm

Minevra and Artemis 4ever!

I hope they are gonna have open casting for Holly, and they want teenagers because fairies are meant to be short - right?

clarablair 29th December, 2007 22:15pm

how can you say that artemis fowl is gay. It's awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!

artemis fan #1 2nd April, 2008 05:29am

I have only read the the first four books because i can't find the fifth one but i bet when i read it im gonna think its awesome. Also i agree artemis is not gay at all. So all who think he is booooooo to you. Also i can not wait till the movie comes out. I heard it suppose to come out in 2008-2009 and i went to like evry single sight. even the one eoin colfer made himself. And guess what they all said 2008 or 2009.And hillary duff should not play the part as juliet because hillary duff is like dumb and can t add 1+1 and if hillary is listening right now is 2.

Blue Ray 14th April, 2008 01:22am

Artemis is NOT gay!!! he is sooooo hot! i read on sights that this random person named well i forget but he is really ugly! and he is nine and so should not play arty! poor arty would be ashamed! ~ Rachel

shelly 23rd July, 2008 20:16pm

artemis is so hot! i love him!

lovethebooks! 25th July, 2008 02:20am

HILLARY DUFF SUCKS FOR JULIET i also agree artemis sounds hot and shoulbe hot in the movie

Muzicrazy 5th October, 2008 23:31pm

1. Hillary Duff...ugh i shudder at the thought of her playing Juliet. That is just so wrong.
2. Ok, Artemis Fowl should be played by that kid Nicolas Hoult (so hot!) but Nick Lane and a dark haired Jackson Rathbone would be cool too. I don't really think Freddie Highmore would be the best choice b/c he looks too innocent. Teo G from the movie Vitus would be a really good choice!
3. John Williams better compose the music. He is godly...
4. I love this book series! it has a good plot but is hilarious too.

Firefowl 19th November, 2008 22:49pm

Artemis is not gay.
[Spoiler removed]
I think Artemis Fowl is the best book of the history.

As Smart As Arty 5th January, 2009 22:16pm

Arty is NOT gay!!!!! How Dare you!!!!

Fatal 6th March, 2009 21:59pm

Artemis fowl:best book in the world. He is totally not gay and i don't want to be a spoiler and i am sorry if i do but the 6th book (the time paradox) proves that.

The movie: i am doubting that it will ever come out Eion colfer would probly die before it comes out. but it is something to hope for.

The 7th book: i believe that it will come out maybe in 2010 or 2011 but the chances of it coming out in 09 are low, unless the reason why the movie isn't coming out is because Colfer is too busy writing the book and he is keeping it a secret which i doubt.

All of those named characters. chances are none of the characters named above will play any role in the movie seeing as too it will most likely be made to a cartoon and even if it was made into a RL movie they would probably screen other actors.

User name: Foaly: what you stated above about the actors such as Jason Statham is almost wrong if not entirely for obvious reasons such as those actors are currently in the middle of starring or playing in other movies.

Hillary duff: she is hot, has experience, beautiful voice, but she does not fit the role of Juliet for Hilary doesn't seem like a fighter to me. but it would be interesting to see her play Juliet

Cierra 19th September, 2009 03:32am

Arty is NOT gay. Hillary Duff would be HORRIBLE as Juliet. I wonder who will be Holly? Who's short enough and still as pretty as Holly is described??

That comment about Artemis and Butler is just wrong.

Nicholas Hoult looks exactly like I imagined Arty, and HOTTTT! Way too old to play him though!

I think Holly and Artemis are adorable together. Minerva is too immature. Wouldn't it be a little awkward if Artemis was going out with his bodyguard's own sister??

Any who, i love Arty!!!

Icy Pisces 1st April, 2010 11:44am

Artemis Fowl DEFINETLY the best book ever written!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Whoever says Arty is gay should better SHUT UP cuz he is so not (but so hot!)

The fowls file 23rd August, 2010 05:53am

Artemis is not gay cause him and holly kissed in the time paradox so i cant wait to get my hands on the Atlantis complex and find out what happens to the two

elaina deeter 4th December, 2016 05:51am

I read books 1-6 and am looking for books 7-8 . Also Artemis fowl is not dating but on the spur of the moment holly kissed him but
That was because of the time paradox.