Conrad's Fate (Chrestomanci Books)

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9780007190850: Conrad's Fate (Chrestomanci Books)

A splendid, new, magical adventure from Diana Wynne Jones, set in the worlds of Chrestomanci! Conrad is young, good at heart, and yet is apparently suffering from the effects of such bad karma that there is nothing in his future but terrible things. Unless he can alter his circumstances - well, to be brutally honest, he is DOOMED. Conrad is sent in disguise to Stallery Mansion, to infiltrate the magical fortress that has power over the whole town of Stallchester, and to discover the identity of the person who is affecting his Fate so badly. He has to put an end to them, or he wont last the year. But can any plan really be that simple and straightforward? Of course it can't! And things start to go very strangely for Conrad from the moment he meets the boy called Christopher! This is trademark DWJ - packed with laugh-aloud humour, insane logic, spot-on observations, organised chaos, and all wrapped up in a rattling good adventure which oozes magic from every seam. Literally.

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Review:

Devotees of The Chrestomanci Quartet and Mixed Magics will pounce on this sixth title in the series by Diana Wynne Jones, whose reputation as a fantasy writer is also enhanced by Archer’s Goon and Howl’s Moving Castle (soon to be an animated film). In this Chrestomanci tale, the nine-lived enchanter Christopher, who fans will remember from other books, appears as a dapper and self-possessed 15-year-old, and the narrator is young Conrad Tesdinic, who at the age of twelve has just finished school in the mountain village of Stallchester in the English Alps. He yearns to go on to Stall High, but his tight-fisted Uncle Alfred has other plans. With the help of magical spells and a story of bad karma, he intimidates Conrad into going off to serve on the staff at Stallery Mansion, burdened with a secret about an unknown person he must kill. Conrad makes the best of his new life, especially after he meets his elegant new roommate Christopher, who is, he explains, the heir in a different time level to the job of Chrestomanci, an enchanter appointed by the government to control the use of magic. Conrad joins him in his desperate search for his friend Millie, who has vanished from a parallel time track. Amusing scenes of life below stairs in the highly stratified servants’ quarters alternate with the boys’ strange adventures as they seek through other realities within the castle on their day off, glimpsing Millie but never able to reach her. With Wynne Jones’ characteristic skill at plotting, the finale is a whirlwind of revealed alter-identities and just desserts for villains, ending with as many satisfying romantic pairings as a Shakespeare comedy. (Ages 10-13) --Patty Campbell

About the Author:

Diana Wynne Jones spent her childhood in Essex and has been writing fantasy novels for children since 1973. With her unique combination of magic, humour and imagination, she has been enthralling children and adults with her work ever since. She won the Guardian Award in 1977 with Charmed Life, was runner-up for the Children's Book Award in 1981, and was twice runner-up for the Carnegie Medal. She is married with three sons, and lives in Bristol with her husband.

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