Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl is a series of eight fantasy novels written by Irish author Eoin Colfer, featuring the criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl II. The series has received positive critical reception and generated huge sales. It has also originated graphic novel adaptations.
A film adaptation based on the first novel was in the process of development by Disney since 2016, which was eventually released on the Disney+ streaming service on 12 June 2020.

Series overview

In the first book, Artemis Fowl, twelve-year-old genius Artemis Fowl kidnaps Holly Short, a Fairy and a captain of the Lower Elements Police Reconnaissance force. He holds her for a ransom of gold to exploit the magical Fairy People and restore his family's fortune. In the sequel, Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident, he reluctantly allies with the People to rescue his father from the Russian mafia. The series introduces Artemis as a villain and the Fairies' enemy, but as the series progresses, Artemis's character develops and changes; as an antihero, he assists the People in resolving conflicts with worldwide ramifications. The original series concluded with Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian.

Main series

''Artemis Fowl''

Artemis Fowl is the [|first book] in the Artemis Fowl series. It follows the adventures of Artemis Fowl, a 12 year-old criminal mastermind, as he kidnaps a fairy for a large ransom of gold with the help of his bodyguard, Domovoi Butler, and his younger sister, Juliet Butler, to restore the Fowl family fortune. After multiple attempts by the Lower Elements Police fairy police, including sending a criminal dwarf called Mulch Diggums, it concludes with Artemis finally releasing Holly Short, the elf fairy, whom he kidnapped, and having his mother cured of madness.

''Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident''

Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident is the second book of the series. It follows the rescue of Artemis's father Artemis Fowl I from the Russian Mafia, alongside the battle against the B'wa Kell goblin gang who have allied themselves with maniacal, evil genius Opal Koboi and officer Briar Cudgeon helping her out. Holly Short, an LEP captain; Julius Root, the LEP commander; and Foaly, a centaur and the main technology supervisor for the LEP, make an agreement with Artemis to help them stop the goblin rebellion, with the help of Mulch Diggums half-way through. In the end, to fulfill their part of the agreement, they help Artemis find his father, who had been missing for 2 years.

''Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code''

Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code covers Jon Spiro's theft of the fictional C Cube and its recovery. Jon Spiro is an American businessman, who has his bodyguard kill Butler and steals Artemis's C Cube, which is a handheld supercomputer that he made from stolen fairy technology. Butler, after dying, is resurrected by the elf Holly Short. Mulch Diggums is hired alongside Loafers McGuire by Spiro to kidnap Artemis to access the C Cube, which is encrypted by an Eternity Code only Artemis knows how to decrypt. Holly agrees to help, but with the condition that Artemis and his allies are to be mind-wiped. With the help of the dwarf and Butler's niece, Juliet, they raid Spiro Needle, the building housing Spiro's company, and retrieve the C Cube again. It ends with the fairies and Foaly mind-wiping the three humans, and Artemis gives Mulch Diggums a medallion that Holly gave to Artemis in The Arctic Incident, while secretly being a disk that will bring back his memories of the fairies.

''Artemis Fowl and the Opal Deception''

The fourth book, Artemis Fowl and the Opal Deception, covers power-hungry and insane pixie Opal Koboi's second attempt at world domination, after her first unfruitful attempt in. Koboi uses magic to persuade Giovanni Zito, a fictional environmentalist, to send a probe into the ground, which could lead to the uncovering of the fairy world, thrusting the fairy city of Haven into human clutches. In the process of stopping her, Commander Root is killed and the mind-wiped Artemis and Butler are saved from her bio-bomb. The two have their memories restored from the medallion, and Mulch, Artemis, Holly, and Butler stop Opal Koboi.

''Artemis Fowl and the Lost Colony''

Artemis Fowl and the Lost Colony involves bringing the demon island Hydras back from "Limbo" with the help of N°1, a powerful demon warlock. Artemis, Butler, Holly, Mulch, and Foaly reunite after Artemis encounters a demon from the island Hydras, and Holly and Mulch capture the pixie fish smuggler Doodah Day. Foaly tells them after the Battle of Taillte, the war for land against fairy and human, the demon fairy family sent themselves out of time on the island Hydras, and that on their island their time can be anything on ours. The time spell is crumbling, and demons are appearing on earth without warning. If the humans discover the demons, they will inevitably uncover the rest of the fairies. Artemis and his now friends go after the demon N°1, who finds out that he is actually a demon warlock, and has extremely dangerous powers. N°1 is kidnapped by child prodigy Minerva Paradizo, whom they encounter multiple times when trying to stop her research. Minerva intends to present N°1 to humans to win the Nobel Prize. She eventually lets go of her project and joins them after Billy Kong, her security guard, "opens the Trojan Horse", also known as revealing the traitors he planted at the Paradise Chateau. Artemis, Holly, N°1, and Qwan, a demon warlock that N°1 frees from a gargoyle spell that turned him into stone, travel through time and space to Hydras, which Artemis had planned to get rid of with the live bomb Billy Kong had given Holly to annihilate the demons in Hydras, due to his belief that his brother was killed by a gang of demons. In Hydras, the pack leader Leon Abbot and his army of demons fight Artemis and his friends. They knock Leon unconscious and create a bomb explosion powerful enough for them to use its energy – converting it into magic, using Holly, N°1, Qwan, and Leon Abbot's magic and Artemis' stolen magic to send the island back to earth, where 3 years have passed because of the time spell. Artemis and Minerva are now noted to be very close in age. The book ends with Holly finding out that Mulch has recruited Doodah Day, and Artemis finds out that he is the brother of toddlers.

''Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox''

The sixth book of the series, Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox, was released in the United Kingdom on 7 August 2008 and in the United States on 15 July 2008. Artemis's mother, Angeline Fowl, becomes ill with Spelltropy, and the only cure lies in the brain fluids of the silky sifaka lemur, the last of which Artemis sold to a group named the Extinctionists when he was 10 to procure money to fund the expedition to search for his father. N°1 sends Artemis and Holly to the past, where Artemis must battle his former self to recover the last silky sakai lemur before the younger Artemis kills it in a business transaction with Damon Kronsky, the leader of the Extinctionists. Things get more complicated when Opal Koboi is revealed to be controlling the Extinctionists, feeding on the fluids of many extremely rare animals, to grant her special abilities and extraordinary prowess in certain fields. The chase finally leads to the two Artemises reaching an agreement, whereupon they are teleported to the future. Near to the ending, Opal is revealed to have possessed Angeline Fowl.

''Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex''

Artemis contracts Atlantis Complex, a fairy condition resembling a combination of obsessive-compulsive disorder, extreme paranoia, and multiple personality disorder – becoming the alter ego of Fowl, Orion, when the latter strikes. The story follows Turnball Root, the criminal brother of Julius Root, breaking out of jail and sending probes to destroy his enemies, including Artemis, his fairy friends, and Butler, whom Artemis sent away due to paranoia being one of the symptoms of Atlantis Complex. After Butler, Artemis, and his fairy friends reunite, along with being saved by Mulch Diggums from a gang of dwarfs sent by Turnball, they hunt down Turnball, tracking him with a computer orb connected to the probes that Artemis found underwater, along with being attacked by a giant, squid-like creature, and find out that Turnball has kidnapped demon warlock N°1 to force him to reverse the aging of Turnball's wife, Leonor. In the end, Leonor and Turnball are killed in an explosion of a shuttle Leonor drives, to fulfill her last wish – to fly once again – and Artemis is sent to a fairy clinic to be cured of Atlantis Complex.

''Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian''

The final book of the original series, Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian, was released on 10 July 2012. Opal Koboi opens the Berserker's Gate, a portal located on the Fowl Estate, in which dwell the spirits of fairy soldiers, the last victims of the Battle of Taillte, the final blow in the war that sent the Fairy People underground. Artemis, after his last session of being cured of Atlantis Complex, rushes to stop her along with Holly and Butler. They fail, and Opal opens the first gate, which releases the spirits of the warriors who begin to possess other people and animals around them, including corpses, animals, Juliet Butler, and Artemis's toddler brothers, Myles and Beckett. After escaping Opal and the possessed beings, they are helped by Mulch Diggums, and they attempt to stop Opal from opening the second gate, which destroys every human on the surface. While doing so, they battle Artemis's possessed toddler brother Myles, who reveals to them Opal's plan after the fairy warrior spirit left his body. While they fight, Opal has also sent a dangerous fake present to Foaly's wife to make him suffer. Her plan fails because Caballine masters martial arts and Foaly comes to save her from goblins that Opal sent as well. Artemis and his friends fail to destroy the second gate with a laser he created, and Mulch saves them from possessed pirate corpses by riding the oldest troll in the world and knocking out most of them, causing the spirits of fairy warriors to leave their bodies to the afterlife. They then enter Fowl Manor where Artemis decides to sacrifice himself in order to stop Opal from opening the second gate. Foaly sends the clone of Opal that she created in the 4th book, and using her hand he is able to make the clone close the gates since the magic recognizes the clone's DNA as Opal's. Everyone in that area, including the spirits, immediately go to heaven, excluding Artemis, whose humanity and sheer willpower enables him to stay on Earth. Six months later, with the saliva that Artemis produced when he kissed Holly, they extract his DNA and make a clone of Artemis Fowl, which is then taken to the now overgrown gate. Artemis's spirit then takes control of the clone and he is alive once more.

''The Fowl Twins''

The series has been followed by a spin-off book series, called The Fowl Twins, which is centered around the characters of Myles and Beckett Fowl, Artemis Fowl's brothers.
is a short story written for World Book Day set between the first and second books.
The Artemis Fowl Files is a companion book to the series published 4 October 2004, which included The Seventh Dwarf and other stories. it also includes bonus material such Artemis Fowl's School Report, exclusive interviews with Artemis, Butler, Holly, Root, Mulch, Foaly and Colfer, and text from the Fairy People's book to translate.
Electronic Arts has brought the first six books in the series to the Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi as parts in its Flips kids' range, which was released 4 December 2009.
The audiobooks were narrated by Nathaniel Parker. Adrian Dunbar and Enn Reitel narrated certain versions from different audiobook companies.


Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl II uses his intelligence to build his family fortune through crime. This stems from his family, who have been criminals for generations. Artemis is cold, cynical, and often outright ruthless in his manipulation of people for his own ends. Following his father's presumed death at the hands of the Russian Mafia, and his mother's subsequent descent into madness, Artemis stopped attending his boarding school, assumed control of the Fowl criminal empire, and embarked on a crime spree to restore the family fortune and fund Arctic expeditions to rescue his father. His investigation into the supernatural eventually leads him into contact with the People in the first book. Due to a strict upbringing, and a lack of any intellectual equals to ground him, Artemis is socially awkward, his best friend and bodyguard Butler being one of the few individuals whom Artemis trusts. He is very pale with raven-black hair and blue eyes. In The Lost Colony, Holly Short and he switch eyes, leaving him with one blue eye and one hazel eye. Artemis is famed for his intelligence; he claims to have the "highest IQ tested in Europe", but is also known for a lack of coordination and athletic ability. Throughout the series, he learns profound morals from the Fairy People and becomes more compassionate and trustworthy, but still maintains much of his intelligence. Because of the time travel in The Lost Colony, his legal age is older than his real age.


Butler is the Fowl family's loyal manservant and Artemis's bodyguard, and accompanies him around the world on his adventures. He is the third-most skilled martial artist on the planet, a formidable marksman and firearms expert, and has immense experience of the criminal underworld, often providing help to Artemis through his many contacts. His first name is Domovoi. He also has a little sister, Juliet, who appears in some of the books. Butler is rendered clinically dead temporarily in The Eternity Code, but is rescued by the ingenuity of his principal and the healing powers of Holly Short. Butler arms himself with a Sig Sauer P226 pistol chambered in 9mm Parabellum, but often must resort to other fairy weaponry for his tasks. Due to his healing in The Eternity Code, his body is older than he actually is.

Holly Short

Holly is a determined, forthright elf and the only female captain of LEPrecon, the reconnaissance division of the LEP. Holly is three feet tall and slender, with nut-brown skin and auburn hair. In the first book, she is kidnapped by Artemis and held for ransom, but over the course of the series they slowly become friends. She helped Artemis save the world on numerous occasions, and is one of Artemis's few friends. Holly holds a disregard for the rules and orders given to her. She is also one of the best pilots in LEPrecon.


Foaly is a centaur, technical genius, and computer geek. He works for the LEP, the fairy authorities, and is in charge of preventing humankind from discovering the fairy civilization. His intelligence makes him paranoiac, which causes him to wear a foil hat to "protect him from human mind-probing technology". He designs most of the weaponry, wings, and other technical gadgets that the LEP use, such as the 'Iris Cam'. His sarcasm and talkative nature often annoy LEP officers, though his greatest pleasure outside of his engineering is aggravating the notoriously bad-tempered Commander Root. He 'hitches' or marries a centaur named Caballine in The Lost Colony while Captain Short and Artemis are in Limbo, and apparently has foals. He has a rivalry with Opal Koboi, which she sporadically mentions throughout her dialogue.

Opal Koboi

Opal is a deranged, paranoid genius pixie whose dream is world domination and the destruction of the LEP. A prodigy, she built Koboi Laboratories, a technology company, which she used to crush her father's company out of spite. Opal is featured in several of the Artemis Fowl books as the main antagonist. She detests Foaly, as he won a science competition in college over her, and she believes the judges chose Foaly instead just because he was male. However, she became Artemis' archenemy after he and Holly foiled her plans numerous times. In The Opal Deception, she creates a clone of herself to escape imprisonment, later killing Julius Root rather violently with a bomb, and framing Holly Short. In the past, it is revealed that she harvested a silky silfaka lemur's brain fluid as one of the steps to achieving world domination. She later kills her past self created in The Time Paradox, creating a paradox. Opal is later killed by Oro Shaydova, the leader of fairy soldiers killed in the battle of Taillte.

Mulch Diggums

Mulch is a kleptomaniac, criminal dwarf who has been involved in crime for four centuries. When considered with the average dwarf lifespan, he is not that old. He once was a mining dwarf, but later decided that stealing from Mud Men suited him much better. Because he has stolen from Mud Men, Mulch no longer has the significant magic powers of the usual fairy, but he has retained the gift of tongues, and has even shown his ability to speak 'American dog' in The Arctic Incident. He insists that humans were stealing from fairy-kind and the earth and that he is simply taking them back or repossessing the items. In the early books, he assisted the LEP against Artemis Fowl, although later, he sides with Artemis Fowl. Eventually, when the fairies and Artemis are on stable ground, he joins forces with the Fairy People on many adventures, acting as an LEP helper at the beginning of The Time Paradox.

Julius Root

Julius Root commanded the LEPrecon and was in charge of all activities related to the tracking of those who leave fairy civilization, to prevent them making contact with humans. Known for his ruddy face and extremely short temper, he led the LEPrecon on missions until Koboi killed him with an explosive in The Opal Deception and framed Holly Short. He usually despised Holly's disregard for rules and orders. However, Root also seems to have been a lot like Holly Short when he was younger; a book states that Holly Short had recently beat the speed record that had been set 80 years prior by Julius Root. Julius Root hates when Foaly called him by his first name. Julius Root also had a brother, Turnball Root, the main antagonist in The Atlantis Complex.

Briar Cudgeon

A minor antagonist in the first novel, Cudgeon was an ex-LEP lieutenant who was humiliated by Commander Julius Root and had the misfortune of having a terrible-looking face, the result of illegal mind-boosting liquid colliding with sedative Julius Root used to put him to sleep in the first novel. Looking for revenge, Cudgeon teams up with Opal Koboi in The Arctic Incident. Their plan suddenly goes wrong when LEP technical consultant Foaly inserts a video in Koboi Laboratories to expose to Briar Cudgeon's treacherous confessions to Foaly. Enraged by this, Opal attacks Cudgeon, and in the struggle, they smash into a pipeline containing reignited plasma, which violently fries Cudgeon to death, and gruesomely incapacitates Opal.


Colfer has said in interviews that the series is about Artemis growing up. Themes of greed, trust, and the difference between good and evil are also present in the books. Colfer wanted to end the series with a simple choice between being kind without reward or being unkind for a reward.

Critical reception

Colfer summed up the first book as "Die Hard with fairies." Critics call the series "the new Harry Potter," although Colfer stated in 2001 that he disagreed. Kate Kellaway of The Observer called the first book "a smart, amusing one-off. It flashes with hi-tech invention – as if Colfer were as much an inspired as a writer". Time magazine said of the book, "Artemis Fowl is pacy, playful, and very funny, an inventive mix of myth and modernity, magic and crime", while The New York Times Book Review said that "Colfer has done enormously, explosively well" in writing a book that could be accurately described as "Die Hard with fairies".
The Guardian gave a favorable review to, the seventh book in the series, but noted "it is also clearly a prelude to the grand finale."
The Last Guardian, the eighth and final novel of the series, received favorable reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Entertainment Weekly, and The Irish Times, also winning the 2012 Irish Book Award in the "Irish Children's Book – Senior" category.
In 2010 Artemis Fowl was selected by readers as the favorite Puffin Books title of all time, which Colfer described as his "proudest professional moment."

Film adaptation

In 2001 plans were announced for a film adaptation of the series. Miramax Films was named as purchasing the film rights with Lawrence Guterman signed to direct. In 2003 Colfer stated that a screenplay had been finalized and that casting was due to start the same year but expressed skepticism over whether or not this would come to pass, though Colfer revealed the film was in pre-production. The film remained in development and was assumed to be in development hell until 2011, when it was reported that Jim Sheridan was interested in directing the movie, with Saoirse Ronan attached to portray Holly Short.
In July 2013, Walt Disney Pictures announced that an Artemis Fowl film covering the events of the first and second novels of the series would be produced by Disney and The Weinstein Company, with the screenplay by Michael Goldenberg. Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal signed onto the project as executive producers.
On 1 September 2015, Variety reported that Kenneth Branagh had been hired to direct the film for Disney, with Irish playwright Conor McPherson as screenwriter and Judy Hofflund as an executive producer. Eoin Colfer confirmed this in a video to Artemis Fowl Confidential, and spoke with RTE Radio 1 about meeting Branagh several times to discuss this prior to the announcement. On 12 September 2017, Disney announced that the film adaptation would be released on 9 August 2019. It was also announced to be based on the first two books in the series.
It was announced on 11 October 2017 that Disney immediately removed Harvey Weinstein as the producer of the film as well as terminating its production with The Weinstein Company following a sexual misconduct controversy involving Weinstein. On 20 December 2017, it was announced that Irish newcomer Ferdia Shaw had been cast as Artemis Fowl II, alongside Judi Dench as Commander Root, Josh Gad as Mulch Diggums, Lara McDonnell as Captain Holly Short, and Nonso Anozie as Butler. Principal photography began in March 2018 with filming in England, Northern Ireland, and Ho Chi Minh City.
On 7 May 2019, the film's originally scheduled release date of 9 August 2019 was delayed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures to 29 May 2020, as part of a change to their release schedule, while Colin Farrell was announced to be portraying Artemis Fowl I. The film was pulled completely on 3 April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and instead debuted on Disney+, 12 June 2020.
Upon the film's release, the film was criticised for the removal of the character arcs of both Artemis Fowl II and Holly Short from the book series in the film, with Fowl switched from antagonist to protagonist, and Short being relegated from protagonist to supporting character. McDonnell's casting was also criticised as whitewashing due to Short being physically described in the book series as having nut-brown skin of a coffee complexion. The casting of Nonso Anozie as Butler was also criticised for several reasons: that the character is described as Eurasian who can pass as Japanese and Russian in the book series, and that the character's physical description of terrifying anyone in his presence, combined with his backstory of his family having served the Fowl family for centuries and Anozie's casting, embodies several stereotypes of African Americans, in particular the "scary black man" and "black servant" tropes.

Terms and slangs

In the books, several terms and fairy slang are used.

Mud People

This term is used to refer to humans. Fairies already had advanced technology when humans first existed. According to the fairies, humans first crawled in mud, hence the term Mud People.


D'Arvit is a fictional curse word in the fictional language of Gnommish. It appeared in the first book. The word was said to have no need to be translated, as it would be censored anyway. Readers have translated D'Arvit as the expletives 'shit', though the original word itself is more widely accepted. Its usage in the books suggests a similar meaning, expressing extreme frustration or anger.