Someone at Stallery Mansion is changing the world. At first, only small details, but the changes get bigger and bigger. It's up to Conrad, a twelve-year-old with terrible karma who's just joined the mansion's staff, to find out who is behind it.
But he's not the only one snooping around. His fellow servant-in-training, Christopher Chant, is charming, confident, and from another world, with a mission of his own -- rescuing his friend, lost in an alternate Stallery Mansion. Can they save the day before Conrad's awful fate catches up with them?
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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 CampbellAbout the Author:
In a career spanning four decades, award-winning author Diana Wynne Jones (1934-2011) wrote more than forty books of fantasy for young readers. Characterized by magic, multiple universes, witches and wizards—and a charismatic nine-lived enchanter—her books were filled with unlimited imagination, dazzling plots, and an effervescent sense of humor that earned her legendary status in the world of fantasy. In addition to being translated into more than twenty languages, her books have earned a wide array of honors—including two Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honors and the Guardian Award—and appeared on countless best-of-the-year lists. Her best-selling Howl's Moving Castle was made into an animated film by Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki and was nominated for an Academy Award. Diana Wynne Jones was also honored with many prestigious awards for the body of her work. She was given the British Fantasy Society's Karl Edward Wagner Award in 1999 for having made a significant impact on fantasy, and she won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Fantasy Convention in 2007.
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