The novel is the first in the eight-book Artemis Fowl series and follows the eponymous twelve-year-old protagonist, a child prodigy and cold criminal mastermind who, with the help of his bodyguard Butler, subdues and kidnaps for ransom a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the Lower Elements Police. The fairies launch an escape operation against the nearly impregnable Fowl mansion. But Artemis has another reason for capturing the fairy beyond monetary wealth – he wishes for the sanity of his mother, driven mad by his father’s death, to be restored. Told in third person, Artemis Fowl switches between human and fairy characters to fully explore themes of conflict and greed. The author described the book as ‘Die Hard with fairies’.