Artemis Fowl - The Eternity Code

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

In Brief: Artemis' growing sense of responsibility to his family and to his employee, Butler. Holly's friendship for Artemis & Butler leading her to risk her job for them.

Cover of Artemis Fowl - The Eternity Code

Author: Eoin Colfer

Series: Artemis Fowl

Publisher: Puffin

Published in: 2003

Age Range: Pre Teens+

Period: Contemporary

Setting: Fairy Underworld / London / USA

Genres:  AdventureFriendshipHumorousMagic


  • Artemis Fowl is 13-year-old criminal genius who has decided on one last business enterprise before acceding to his father's wishes to settle down to a normal life.
  • Holly Short, elf and Captain in the Lower Elements Police, becomes involved when Artemis' computer, built from stolen fairy parts, cuts through all their defences and gathers information which would leave them wide open to human interference.
  • Jon Spiro is the shady American businessman who steals Artemis' computer before attempting to kidnap Artemis who alone can operate it.


The C-Cube, built by Artemis Fowl partly from Fairy technology, and therefore capable of breaching the Underworld's defences, is stolen by a shady American businessman who will do anything to obtain power. In the process, Artemis' bodyguard and friend, Butler is fatally wounded, and Artemis calls on Holly to heal him using her fairy magic. Artemis then reveals to her how an unscrupulous businessman has control of the fairy technology which he acquired from them. Mulch Diggums, the criminal gnome, is hired by the American to kidnap Artemis, but instead goes into partnership with him and Holly to recover the Cube.


Literary: The plot of this book is more lightweight than perhaps either of the other two in the series: an artefact is stolen and must be recovered. As with the other books in the series, the interest really comes in the relationships of the characters (although cf Friendship below) and in the mixture of Fairy technology (pioneered by Foaly, the centaur) and Fairy magic with its rules and limitations.

Magic: The author draws on traditional stories of fairy magic, and then mixes in technology to create an interesting mix. But the magic has its rules and limitations, such as that fairies cannot enter a building uninvited, a fact which gives rise to several interesting subterfuges and legal debates at different points in the series, as to what exactly constitutes an invitation. At one point, Juliet (a human) and Holly (a Fairy, currently invisible) must enter a building. But Holly cannot enter a building uninvited. So Juliet makes herself out to be an giggle-headed girl and asks “And can I bring in my invisible friend?” to which the scornful guard replies “Sure it is, honey. Bring your security blanket too, if it makes you happy.”

Family: The author makes extended use of the rehabilitation of Artemis Fowl, Senior, recently rescued from captivity in the Arctic. He — the father — is determined to go straight, and is determined to take his family with him. The young Artemis is determined to follow, for his father's sake, but can't resist this one last scheme, which leads to disaster. The Butler family also makes more of a showing, with Artemis' bodyguard revealing his real name, and his sister Juliet playing a more forward role, although with a sometimes unconvincing mix of hard-hitting bodyguard and empty-headed teenager.

Friendship: In a way, this book and Artemis Fowl - The Arctic Incident suffer from the burgeoning friendships between the main characters. The first book spent quite some time setting up an antagonistic atmosphere, giving way to a grudging admiration as Artemis outwitted the fairies who then did a deal with him. In the later books, despite some token grumbling from Commander Root (Holly's boss), that tension is lacking, and has to be made up for by the effects of slightly cautious friendship. Perhaps with this in mind, the author takes steps at the end of this book to ensure that Artemis won't remember his friendship with the Fairies.

2.8 billion dollars. Plenty to restore the Fowl's status as one of the top five richest Irish families.

Just as he was about to complete the transaction Artemis remembered his father's words. His father, returned to him by the fairy folk...

'... And what about you, Arty? Will you make the journey with me? When the moment comes will you take your chance to be a hero?'

Did he really need billions of dollars?

Of course I need it. aurum potestas est. Gold is power.

Really? Will you take your chance to be a hero? To make a difference?

Because he could not groan aloud, Artemis rolled his eyes and gritted his teeth. Well, if he was going to be a hero, he would be a well paid one. He quickly deducted a ten per cent finder's fee from the 2.8 billion and then sent the rest to Amnesty International. He made the transaction irreversible, in case he weakened later on

Sunday 2nd November 2003