Compared with most people, Artemis Fowl had one hell of a thirteenth year. He became a criminal mastermind, securing the safety of his family’s business, rescued his father, believed dead, and in The Eternity Code stopped the fairy society only he knows about being revealed to the world. As the possible disclosure was partly his fault in the first place, it wasn’t something the fairies were going to accept without ensuring it couldn’t happen again. Has Artemis really been mindwiped?

Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin maintain the suspense a little longer. This adapting the fourth Artemis Fowl book means they have a confidence that we’re also going to be caught up very easily in what’s happening with the supporting characters they’ve introduced, and the fairy society has a big problem. The smart reader had picked up that Opal Koboi from The Arctic Incident wasn’t quite as helpless as believed, and she’s the big threat, thirsting for revenge against several people we like. It looks as if she’s succeeding.

More so than in previous books, Giovanni Rigano reveals a talent for decorative location art, depicting a couple of European cities in ornate beauty, and a couple of equally stunning places that sadly we can’t visit. He also includes some great pin-up pages, with the one of Mulch Diggums the best, really capturing the coarse personality, and introducing a sense of scale to the fairy city of Haven.

Of course, Artemis was going to become embroiled in fairy affairs again, but the way Colfer achieves this is very clever. As readers have become accustomed to what various people are like and what they can do, the writing has to be more deceitful in order to keep things fresh and unpredictable. The same applies to Artemis himself, taking what for him is now new knowledge and instantly adapting to circumstances. It helps that some people have kept some abilities hidden until now, but they’re funny and consistent with what we know, so don’t transmit as the plot conveniences they are, and the misdirection in other places is superbly written. It all amounts to a tautly crafted thriller, that again moves Artemis’ character a little further away from how he started.