For 11 years, the Artemis Fowl series by Irish author Eoin Colfer has charmed legions of avid fans, young-adult readers and grownups alike. Artemis, a cold-hearted teen genius who plots diabolical crimes against an underground fairy world, may seem like an unlikely hero, but as the series winds to a close, Artemis has evolved. After a psychotic break in the penultimate novel, The Atlantis Complex, the lingering effects of his condition seem to have taken their toll on the brilliant young criminal.
In The Last Guardian, Artemis and his faithful bodyguard, Domovoi Butler, along with Artemis’ former enemy and now close friend Holly Short, a fairy and ex-cop, once again face off against Opal Koboi, a pixie megalomaniac whose evil genius is a fair match for Artemis’ own brilliance. This time the key to Opal’s plan for world dominance is buried on the grounds of Artemis’ own home, Fowl Manor, where an army of ancient fairy warriors waits for release. When they rise, Butler’s sister Juliet as well as Artemis’ 4-year-old twin brothers are at ground zero. It’s a race against time as Artemis, Holly and Butler, aided by the technical wizardry of a centaur, battle Opal for the survival of two worlds. Artemis must make a fateful choice and finds to his surprise that he does have a heart.
The Last Guardian is a satisfying conclusion to a blockbuster series. Colfer’s publisher, Disney Hyperion, has committed to a first print run of 1 million copies, banking on the track record of the last three volumes, each of which hit The New York Times bestseller list. In advance of his Wednesday appearance at the Nashville Public Library, Eoin Colfer answered questions from Chapter 16 via email:
You’ve been living with Artemis and his friends and enemies for 11 years now. What will life be like without him?
I think life will be a lot calmer, which I will enjoy for a few months. Then I imagine I will miss all the hubbub and excitement that goes with being the author of Artemis Fowl. My next book tour will probably be very tame in comparison; no long lines of fans and no one arriving
How have you managed to keep the creative wellspring flowing through eight books?
I have tried to make every story a separate adventure with only the arc of Artemis’s development to link the books. So every book has completely new characters and locations. In this way it stays exciting for me, and the reader can read the books in any order.
The Last Guardian is billed as the final Artemis Fowl novel, but the ending leaves open the faint possibility of more from Artemis and his friends. Is the series really most sincerely dead?
The series is dead. I may revisit the world, but to squeeze another book out of Artemis would not do justice to the other eight. So that is it for Arty, I am afraid.
You sold the movie rights to Artemis Fowl back in 2001, and there have been reports ever since that it’s in production. What’s the hold-up?
The rights were bought in a partnership between three studios that have since fallen out. From what I hear there might be some news very soon. Fingers crossed.
The Artemis Fowlnovels are filled with techie wonders. Is that something you’ve always loved to play around with in your fantasies? Tell us truly: Are you a nerd?
I think I must be a nerd in spite of my amazing good looks and physique. Maybe not. I do love gadgets, especially all things Apple. Does that qualify me? I think we both know the answer to that question.
This final novel moves Artemis from criminal mastermind, sometimes villain, to reluctant hero. Do you think your fans will be comfortable with that transformation?
I hope so. It happens in such a way that it is gradual and believable. Artemis had to become a hero at some point, and that is exactly why the series had to end. Once he becomes a hero he is of no further use to me.
Which is your favorite character in the series and why?
I love Foaly, the wisecracking techie nerd centaur. I think he is the character who most resembles me, except for the horsey bits, of course.
Where are you heading post-Artemis? In the adult, noir-thriller Plugged direction?
I am continuing the noir series, but I am also beginning a new YA [young adult] series called WARP: The Reluctant Assassin, which is a time-travel comedy adventure.
Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian
By Eoin Colfer
Eoin Colfer will discuss the culmination of his bestselling series on Wednesday, July 18, at 4 p.m. at the Nashville Public Library, as part of the Salon@615 series. The event is free and open to the public.