The short novel, "The Alchemist", is a story about life, and how it comes full circle around. The story is about a young sheep herder who, from a gypsy, finds that his future holds a great treasure under the pyramids of Egypt. With the help of a mysterious man who calls himself a king, they young boy sets off on his journey. By selling his sheep, he manages to get enough money to set off on his journey. But during the first lag of his journey, he starts having doubt about what he has done.
When he ends up in a forging country, where he doesn't know the language, the customs, anything. He soon gets a job at a crystal shop that is currently struggling. The sheep herder works hard, and with some cleaver suggestions, the crystal merchant starts getting swarmed with business. After about a year, the sheep herder has saved enough money to continue on with his journey. He sets off on a foot journey across the desert of Egypt.
On this journey, he meets a man who is studying to be an Alchemist, but is doing it for the wrong reasons. He travels with many books, which he allows the young sheep herder when they become friends. The desert journey is a rough one due to wars breaking out. But they continue on anyway. After a long while, they stop at a small Oasis. Rumor has it that a real Alchemist lives in the Oasis, so the man who the herder was traveling with tries to seek him out, but no give. Meanwhile, the herder finds the girl of his dreams. All the time, he can't get her out of his mind.
But one day, when the herder is out in the desert, he has a vision of an oncoming attack. Scared, the herder demands to see the leader of the Oasis. He waits all day before he is granted an audience with the leaders. When he does, he explains the vision he had, and the leaders scoff. Again he tries, and the leaders make him a deal. For every enemy slain, 5 gold pieces. If no enemy comes, it's the herder's life. The herder has no choice now.