Conrad's Fate (Chrestomanci Books)

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9780060747435: Conrad's Fate (Chrestomanci Books)

"Unless you put right what you did wrong in your previous life -- and put it right now -- you are going to be horribly and painfully dead before the year's out."

Someone at the mysterious Stallery Mansion is pulling the possibilities. At first only small details change -- the color of the mailboxes, the titles of books -- but the changes keep getting bigger and bigger. It's up to Conrad Tesdinic, a twelve-year-old with truly terrible karma, to find the person behind it all.

Armed with his camera and a sticky cork that can summon an eerie being called a Walker, Conrad infiltrates the staff at Stallery. And he's not the only one snooping around the mansion. His fellow servant-in-training -- charming, confident Christopher Chant -- is searching for his friend Millie, who's lost in one of the possibilities. Christopher always seems to have a trick up his sleeve. To find the person behind all the mischief and to rescue Millie, the two boys have to work together. Can they keep Conrad's fate from catching up to them?

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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 has been writing outstanding fantasy novels for more than twenty-five years and is one of the most distinguished writers in this field. With unlimited imagination, she combines dazzling plots, an effervescent sense of humor, and emotional truths in stories that delight readers of all ages.

Ms. Jones says, "Each time I write a book, I try to say something new, with the result that each book turns out differently from the ones before—which surprises, puzzles, and pleases me in about equal proportions." Her work spans from the epic novels of "The Dalemark Quartet" to the hilarious Chrestomanci books to the inventive Howl's Moving Castle (recently a major motion picture directed by Hayao Miyazaki) to individual gems such as The Merlin Conspiracy. Diana Wynne Jones lives in Bristol, England.

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