Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl Summary and Analysis of Chapter 9: Ace in the Hole


While Butler and Holly fight the troll downstairs, Artemis finds himself forced to watch everything unfold from the surveillance room because Holly blasted off the door handle from outside. He is proud of Butler for defeating the troll without once crying for help. After the fight is over, Artemis turns on a radio and calls out to Commander Root. After a few moments, Foaly answers him. Foaly tells him that soon he will be killed by the blue rinse, but Artemis tells him that he will be long gone from the time-stop by the time the bio-bomb hits. Commander Root takes the line and Artemis tells him that because of the troll, the LEP only has thirty minutes to hand over the ransom or he will refuse to release Holly and leave her behind to be disintegrated by the blue rinse. Root tells him there is no way they will survive the blue rinse. Fowl asks him if he is willing to risk Holly's life as a result of his hunch. Root replies that he is not, and that Artemis can expect the gold in thirty minutes.

Butler shoots his gun in the doorframe of the surveillance room. Once he breaks in, Artemis congratulates him on a job well done with the troll. Butler thanks him, and tells him it is all thanks to Holly saving his life. Artemis tells him to keep the faith, as the mission is almost complete. Artemis knows that Butler disagrees with Artemis's choice to keep Holly for ransom despite the fact that she saved Butler and Juliet's lives. Butler asks Artemis if Juliet is in danger, and Artemis tells him that there is no danger. Butler asks Artemis what the plan is, and he tells Butler that the fairies are going to bio-bomb the manor as soon as Holly is in the clear. Butler does not ask Artemis what his plan is and simply says that he trusts him.

Meanwhile, back with the fairies, Cudgeon is trying to dodge responsibility for the failed troll attack. Root informs Cudgeon that he is no longer acting Commander—the call from the Council came from below. Root "accidentally" shoots Cudgeon with the dart still hidden in his finger. Cudgeon is instantly knocked out. Foaly informs him that the gold ransom has arrived. They are running out of time, so they quickly get to work sending the gold to Fowl Manor. They realize that they only have ten minutes to get Holly out of the manor. Foaly notifies Holly that they are sending in the ransom and tells her that once she gets out they will blue rinse the manor. Holly disputes the decision a bit, not liking that they will all be killed. Holly approaches Artemis, Butler, and Juliet, who have congregated in the hallway. She asks Artemis if he has warned them about the blue rinse. She turns to Butler, asking him if he is willing to risk Juliet's life. Butler tells her that Artemis is a genius and stays by his master's side. Soon enough the gold arrives on a self-driven trolly. Butler finds a camera on the trolly and removes it. Once Artemis sees the trolly, he commands Butler to open it. Everyone in the room stares at the pile of gold in awe.

Artemis feels a twinge of guilt when he looks upon the huge amount of gold that Butler and Juliet begin unloading from the trolley. Butler senses Artemis's hesitation and asks him if everything is alright. Artemis approaches Holly and asks her what he can do to get a wish. While all of this occurs, Root and Foaly anxiously wait for Holly to leave the manor. Eventually, with a few minutes to spare, they catch sight of Holly leaving the manor with a pile of gold. She is immediately assisted by a group of Retrieval officers. They take her to Commander Root, who is relieved to see that she is safe. Holly tries one last time to spare Artemis, Butler, and Juliet's life, offering to go back into the manor and wipe their memories. Root refuses. Holly tells him Juliet is an innocent; he replies that she is a casualty of war. They know about the existence of fairies, and nothing can save them now. Foaly informs them that according to the Book, if Artemis can somehow survive the blue rinse, he is entitled to keep the gold. The Council will not dispute it because it is written in the Book.

In the manor, Butler is surprised that Artemis has given Holly half of the gold. Artemis tells Butler that he feels Holly deserves some payment for how she has helped them, but doesn't tell Butler about the wish. Artemis suggests that they celebrate with some champagne. He heads to the kitchen, and once Butler and Juliet get there, he has already filled three glasses for the group. Butler takes the drink, and he tastes a tranquilizer laced in it, but he doesn't say anything. Artemis watches as Butler and Juliet fall asleep. He then drinks his own sedative. While Artemis, Butler, and Juliet are deeply asleep, Foaly administers the bio-bomb. Holly feels regret and mourns the humans' passing, even Artemis. The Retrieval Squad attempts to enter the manor, but as soon as they cross the threshold, the officers begin to retch. Foaly tells them it's the magic that is causing this reaction—Artemis had explicitly told them that no fairies would be allowed in his house as long as he was still alive. It is unbelievable. Somehow, they have survived the bio-bomb. Holly, who is still allowed to enter, forges on ahead. She finds the gold piled on the bed in her cell. She tells Root that she has found the gold but no dead bodies. Root tells her to leave the gold—it is over.

Mulch resurfaces in the final moments of the Time Stop. He resurfaces right next to the gold, and he brings two dozen gold bars down with him into the tunnel. Meanwhile, Artemis wakes up, having survived the bio-bomb and the Time Stop. He hears a voice calling his name. At first he believes it is his father, but it turns out to be Butler. Butler demands that Artemis explain himself. Artemis reveals to Butler that they were able to escape the Time Stop by falling asleep. Whatever your state of consciousness going in to the Time Stop, that's how you stay. If you change your state of consciousness, then you are released from its bounds. Butler reminds Artemis that he should probably check on his mother. He does not have to, however, because he finds his mother already walking down the stairs. As opposed to the catatonic state she was in before this entire affair, she is acting completely normal. Artemis is overjoyed: his final wish to Holly, that she would cure his mother, seems to have worked. His mother informs him that it is Christmas Day, and life returns to normal for Artemis, Butler, and Juliet.


Chapter 9 is the last chapter of Artemis Fowl. We are transported back to Artemis's study, where he has been watching everything happening downstairs unfold on his surveillance monitors: "As the drama below unfolded on the monitors, Artemis's emotions jumped from terror to pride. Butler had done it. Defeated the troll, and without a single plea for aid passing his lips. Watching the display, Artemis appreciated fully, perhaps for the first time, the service provided by the Butler family" (233). Artemis is grateful that Butler has not asked for help in defeating the troll because if he had, according to fairy rules, the fairies would have been rightfully allowed to enter the manor and Artemis's plot would have failed.

When Artemis and Butler reunite, Artemis congratulates Butler on his success. Butler responds, "'Thank you, Artemis. We were in trouble for a moment there. If it hadn't been for the captain. . .'" (236). Artemis and Butler both acknowledge that Holly has saved Butler's life, despite the fact that she had no reason to. "'We certainly didn't deserve it'" (236), Butler says. Despite Holly's selflessness, Artemis intends to keep her as a hostage until the fairies hand over the ransom gold. Butler inherently disagrees with Artemis's decision, even though he does not vocalize his thoughts: "Artemis didn't have to ask. He knew exactly what Butler was feeling. The fairy had saved both their lives and yet he insisted on holding her for ransom. To a man of honor like Butler, this was almost more than he could bear" (236). Here, the narrative is emphasizing that there are characters in the novel who have "honor," but Artemis is not one of them. Ultimately, Commander Root (who has been placed back in charge) hands over the ransom and Holly is released. Holly, who has proven herself to be a person with "honor," asks Foaly and Root not to blue rinse the manor. Once again, she goes out of her way to advocate for the lives of the three humans who have harmed her: "'But they'll all be killed!' 'Big deal,' retorted Foaly, and Holly could almost see him shrug. 'That's what you get when you mess with the People'" (241).

The relationship between Butler and Artemis is strained in these final moments of the novel. Not only does Butler disagree with Artemis's decision to keep Holly as ransom after she saved their lives, but he is also worried that Artemis is placing their lives at risk, especially after Holly informs them of the blue rinse. Despite this, Butler decides to place his trust in Artemis and follow through on his employer's plan. Holly tries to appeal to Butler, but Butler tells her that he will be following Artemis's lead. Holly asks him, "'Are you willing to risk her life out of loyalty to a felon?'" To this, Butler replies, "'Artemis is no felon, miss, he is a genius'" (243). Here, Butler is sharing the same logic that Artemis displayed when he was conversing with Holly in Chapter 6. The mere fact of Artemis's criminal activity does not define him. Instead, the ingenuity and originality of his crimes reflect positively on his character. Whether or not this is true is up to the reader to decide. Either way, Artemis does receive the gold in the end, and none of them are harmed by the blue rinse.

Readers who believe that Artemis is a good person deep down will find some helpful evidence for that argument in this final chapter. When he is finally handed the gold, he experiences misgivings again: "Artemis paused, his gaze tugging momentarily upstairs to the converted loft. Perhaps, he thought. Do I really need all this gold? And was his conscience not needling him, leaching some of the sweetness from his victory? He shook himself. Stick to the plan. Stick to the plan. No emotion" (247). And, in the final moments, he gives half of the ransom to Holly in return for a final request—that she heal his mother. Even Holly, when she believes that he has died, feels a twinge of sadness at the loss: "Holly sighed,. turning away from the already dwindling blue rinse. For all his grand designs, Artemis had been a mere mortal at the end. And for some reason she mourned his passing" (254). Maybe, by the end of the novel, we are not meant to understand how we feel about Artemis. Are we supposed to be happy he succeeded and that everyone got away without being seriously injured? Or are we supposed to judge him for all of the crimes he committed over the course of the novel? Perhaps it is a mixture of both, and we have to turn to the next novel in the series, Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident, to learn more about this fascinating individual.