The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho

Illustrated by Jesús Cisneros

Afterword by Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist has touched the lives of millions of people. In this spectacular first Folio Society edition, Jesús Cisneros’s stunning illustrations work in perfect harmony with the narrative.

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No heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams

Such is the intoxicating power of this metaphorical tale that it has been translated into 81 languages; its powerful exploration of spirituality and its life-affirming message touches humanity on an elemental level. Santiago’s epic journey from Spain to the Egyptian desert is fraught with challenges and populated by a fascinating collection of characters – not all sympathetic or savoury. Ultimately, the young man must follow his heart to realise his dreams and it is this universal theme – portrayed as a simple fable – that has deeply affected people across the world, sweeping aside boundaries of language, culture and creed.

The boy and his heart had become friends, and neither was capable now of betraying the other

Production details

Bound in blocked cloth

Set in Adriane Text

176 pages

22 colour and 14 black & white integrated illustrations

Printed endpapers

Ribbon marker

Blocked cloth slipcase

11˝ x 7¼˝

Illustrating The Alchemist

A stunning production of a seminal work

‘A beautiful book about magic, dreams, and the treasures we seek elsewhere and then find on our doorstep’

  1. Madonna

This is the first Folio Society edition of The Alchemist and it is without doubt the definitive collector’s edition for those already mesmerised by the philosophical tale and for anyone yet to discover its spellbinding properties. Paulo Coelho personally endorsed the illustrations and Cisneros’s interpretations of the text extend to the binding and slipcase. Here, the designs are pared back in colour and complexity; the simple line drawings recall nature and the passing of time. Coelho’s afterword is a wonderful addendum to the text, as is the author’s note which charts the unprecedented success of his book. 

‘I love The Alchemist

  1. Oprah Winfrey

Like millions before him, award-winning illustrator Jesús Cisneros became transfixed by the tale of an Andalusian shepherd boy who travels in search of worldly treasures. Commissioned to create eight illustrations, Cisneros continued working, finally submitting 23 beautiful abstract drawings and 15 black-and-white sketches. His ethereal style so perfectly visualises the themes and dream-like narrative that we have included every illustration, making this one of our most lavishly illustrated editions to date.


Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947. He has become one of the most widely read and loved authors in the world. Especially renowned for The Alchemist (1988) and Eleven Minutes (2003), he has sold more than 225 million books worldwide and his work has been translated into 81 languages. The recipient of numerous prestigious international awards, amongst them the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum and France’s Legion d’Honneur, Paulo Coelho was inducted into the Brazilian Academy of Letters in 2002. He writes a weekly column syndicated throughout the world.


Jesús Cisneros studied illustration at the School of Art in Zaragoza, and has since illustrated a wide range of books for publishers such as Libros del Zorro Rojo, OQO Editora and Fondo de Cultura Económica. Cisneros won the Lazarillo Illustration Prize and his artwork was selected for the prestigious Bologna Illustrators Exhibition.


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