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Physik is the third book in the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage. The cover of this book is modelled after the in-story book: I, Marcellus with a vial of the Eternal life formula lying on top. The book was released in March, 2007.


In Physik we find that when Silas Heap and Gringe the gatekeeper accidentally sets free the spirit of an evil Queen Etheldredda, everything seems to be in trouble. The Queen sends Septimus to her 500 year old son Marcellus Pye who drank the potion of Immortality. The old Marcellus then sends him back in time to the young Marcellus Pye and there Septimus becomes his apprentice and learns about Physik. Marcia learns about Septimus' departure from Marcellus's book I, Marcellus in the Wizard Tower library, when she finds a page, 500 years old with Septimus's writing in it.

Jenna,Nicko,Alther Mella and Alice Nettles help try to find Septimus. They meet Snorri Snorrelssen, a Northern Trader girl.Jenna,Nicko and Snorri fall through a Glass into the past 500 years back. There Jenna is mistaken for the lost princess Esmeralda and dragged to her mother, the living Queen Etheldredda. She somehow manages to run and finds Septimus. Together all of them try to pass back through the doors of time, but Etheldredda and Marcellus come in arguing about when Etheldredda can have the Drink of Immortality. Although Marcellus warns the Queen that the potion is incomplete, she nevertheless drinks it.

They then discover Jenna and the others hiding in the Alchemie Chamber and Etheldredda drags Jenna to drown her but in the process she herself gets drowned. Since she drank the incomplete potion her spirit has an incomplete form neither rending it immortalital or a complete Spirit. Septimus, Jenna and Nicko then start their journey through the Doors of Time but Nicko runs away in search of Snorri and her cat Ullr.

Septimus and Jenna return to the Castle, much to the surprise and delight of Marcia Overstrand, who welcomes her apprentice back with an enormous hug. But Etheldredda's ghost tries to kill Jenna with the I.P (Infant Princess) bullet that was named for Jenna by the Assassin in Magyk. She is about to shoot the bullet when Alice Nettles hurls herself in front of Jenna and the bullet kills her. Marcia then draws a BoneFyre from Spit Fyre's fire and destroys Etheldredda's portrait hence Etheldredda and her pet, the Aie-Aie, which had caused a Sicknesse all through the Castle, are finished. Septimus, with his Physik knowledge is able to brew up an antidote for the Sicknesse and soon all is well. He promises to make a potion for Restoring youth for Marcellus and in return Marcellus would give him back his Flyte charm.


The Heaps

  • Septimus Heap: Once again, the main protagonist in the story. Near the beginning of the story he unwillingly becomes the apprentice of an Alchemist named Marcellus Pye. He is also the creator of the cure for the Sicknesse.
  • Jenna Heap: Also knows as the Queenling. She was mistaken for Princess Esmeralda 500 years ago.
  • Nicko Heap: Septimus' older brother. He stayed behind to find Snorri 500 years in the past.
  • Silas & Sarah Heap: Septimus' parents, Silas was an Ordinary Wizard at the Wizard tower

Other Characters

  • Snorri Snorrelssen: A fourteen year old Spirit-Seer who is a Northern Trader. Her father Olaf Snorrelssen frequents The Hole in the Wall. At the end of the book she was 500 years ago in the past. Nicko goes looking for her, which is why he got stuck in the past.
  • Ullr: Snorri's cat, also a Spirit-Seer, at night transforms into a panther, otherwise known as NightUllr.
  • Marcia Overstrand: Current ExtraOrdinary wizard. Marcia goes on a search of Septimus and destroys the evil queen Etheldredda's spirit.
  • Alther Mella: ex-ExtraOrdianry wizard, Alther's ghost is always willing to help Jenna and Marcia to find Septimus.
  • The RatStranglers: A group of villagers that daily go out to kill rats because they believed they carried the Sicknesse. They tried to destroy the dragon boat because they also thought that it also carried the Sicknesse but before they could Jenna sealed it with SpitFyre's Fyre.
  • Marcellus Pye: An ancient alchemist from 500 years ago, is still alive in Septimus's Time but older. His mother is Queen Etheldredda and he is terrified of her. She tries to force him to make an Immortality potion for her. Septimus becomes his Apprentice.
  • Sir Hereward: A ghost in both Times and helped Jenna and Septimus escape the castle from 500 years ago.
  • Queen Etheldredda: Jenna's great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great (And then some) grandmother. She is a cruel and evil tyrant with a history of filicide. Her attempt at eternal life cause her to be trapped in between both life and death, leaving her in a form of half-life.
  • Princess Esmeralda: The daughter of Queen Etheldredda, who regarded her as a threat rather than as a daughter.
  • The Aie-Aie: A horrible little creature with a ratty face, sharp claws and a long snake's tail. Its bite caused Sicknesse. It only has one tooth while rats (supposedly the cause of the sicknesse) have many teeth.
  • Stanley: An ex-message rat who now is in the secret rat service.
  • Dawnie: Stanley's Wife who gets extremely worried about Stanley.
  • Boris Catchpole: Was once Deputy Hunter and now wants to become a wizard. Currently a sub-wizard and resident of the old spell cupboard beside the silver doors to the wizard tower. Boris is not that well at doing what marcia tells him to do.
  • Gringe: The North Gate keeper and father to Lucy Gringe. Plays Counter Feet with Silas.
  • Lucy Gringe: Daughter of Gringe and lover of Simon. She goes to find where simon is and runs into Septimus on the way. When Septimus almost fell into the moat, she grabed his cloak and pulled him back up to safety.

Critical reception

The book received positive reviews from crtics.

Angela McQuay of said that "Those who are a fan of Septimus thanks to the first two books in the series will love the continued adventures of Sep and his family in Physik. The characters continue to grow and change, and there is no lack of adventure in this third installment. The book, which is lively and less frightening than the popular Harry Potter series, is appropriate for a wide age range of children (and is pretty entertaining for adults as well). The only drawback of Physik is that those who have not read the first two books will probably be pretty lost in this third book. Sage could have done a more thorough job of reintroducing characters in a way that would not bore loyal readers but still help new readers catch up. On the whole, though, Physik is an imaginative, well-written book that will appeal to children and parents alike."

Emily Rodriguez of Alachua County Library District says "Readers will quickly warm up to the stars of the book, sketched with liberal doses of humor, and all back in top form. Chapters alternate points of view, keeping suspense high, while lots of vivid details portray a palace life humming with Magyk. Fans of the series will enjoy the secrets that are revealed as Physik delves deeper into the labyrinthine palace walls and will eagerly await the next installment"

Kirkus Reviews said "Showing no signs of reaching a climax, this Potter-esque series ambles past its 1,500th page with another escapade that casts apprentice Magyk-worker Septimus and apprentice princess Jenna into various dangers."


  • It is noted that Septimus' best friend Beetle is taken to the Infirmary as he got the Sicknesse from the bite of the Aie-Aie. When Septimus goes to the Infirmary with his antidote, Sarah Heap tells him that Beetle is not doing well and says that his mother and father will come to see him. But in the next book,Queste it is revealed that Beetle's dad died after his birth due to a snake bite.
  • This is only book where Merrin does not make an appearance.