Nicholas Flamel, like just about everyone in this series, is based on a real historical figure.
Nicholas Flamel was born in 1330 and earned a living as a bookseller and a copier, writing letters and copying books for clients.
One day he bought an extraordinary book. It was bound between two copper plates and written and illustrated in a strange language on twenty-one pages of what might have been papyrus or bark. The is the Book of Abraham. It too, really existed and Nicholas Flamel left us with a very detailed description of the book and its illustrations.
Accompanied by his wife, Perenelle, he spent more than twenty years trying to translate the book, and it was a journey which took him all across Europe.
No one knows what happened to Nicholas Flamel on that journey. He claims that he with a mysterious man called Canches who helped him translate the book. What is true is that when Nicholas returned to Paris in the late 14th Century, he was extraordinarily wealthy. Although Nicholas and Perenelle continued to live quiet, unassuming lives, they gave away a lot of their money to charity, and founded hospitals, churches and orphanages.
The rumour quickly went around that he had discovered one of the two great secrets of alchemy in the Book of Abraham: how to create a philosophers stone, which changes ordinary metal into gold. Neither Nicholas nor Perenelle would ever confirm the rumours and they never explained how they had become so rich.
The records show that Perenelle died first, and then not long afterwards, in 1418, the death of Nicholas Flamel is recorded. His house was sold and the buyers tore the place apart looking for some of the Flamel
Had the Flamels been buried in secret graves, or had they never died in the first place? Had they discovered that other great secret of alchemy: the elixir of eternal life?