Synopses & Reviews
"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?
"A wild romp with a fast-paced and satisfying conclusion, Conrad's humorous adventures will appeal to Christopher's existing fans and Jones neophytes alike." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Jones comes up with something new every time....Uncompromisingly intelligent beyond the wildest dreams of more famous fantasists, Diana Wynne Jones deserves a much bigger audience. Surely there's a world out there where she gets her due." The New York Times Book Review
"The latest in Jones' Chrestomanci series, this funny fantasy romp is as antic and farcical as the preceding books, and is sure to be appreciated by the series' fans." Booklist
"Jones is a master of British fantasies that are hilariously droll and totally heartfelt at the same time....This witty, satisfying story can be read on its own, but is much richer when read as part of the series. It's a must for all Jones fans." School Library Journal
"Droll humor; engaging, virtually Dickensian characters; intriguing magic; and wildly imaginative settings. Jones still writes at the top of her form." VOYA (Starred Review)
"Magic, mystery and snortingly funny slapstick." Publishers Weekly
"This Upstairs-Downstairs tale features Jones' trademark humor and inventiveness. Fans will be delighted to see Christopher again, though this amusing fantasy can stand alone." KLIATT
In this latest Chrestomanci adventure, someone at the mysterious Stallery Mansion is in control. At first only small details change, but the changes keep getting bigger and bigger. It's up to Conrad Tesdinic, a 12-year-old with truly terrible karma, to find the person behind it all.
About the Author
Diana Wynne Jones was raised in the village of Thaxted, in Essex, England. She has been a compulsive storyteller for as long as she can remember enjoying most ardently those tales dealing with witches, hobgoblins, and the like. Ms. Jones lives in Bristol, England, with her husband, a professor of English at Bristol University. They have three sons and two granddaughters.
In Her Own Words...
"I decided to be a writer at the age of eight, but I did not receive any encouragement in this ambition until thirty years later. I think this ambition was fired-or perhaps exacerbated is a better word-by early marginal contacts with the Great, when we were evacuated to the English Lakes during the war. The house we were in had belonged to Ruskin's secretary and had also been the home of the children in the books of Arthur Ransome. One day, finding I had no paper to draw on, I stole from the attic a stack of exquisite flower-drawings, almost certainly by Ruskin himself, and proceeded to rub them out. I was punished for this. Soon after, we children offended Arthur Ransome by making a noise on the shore beside his houseboat. He complained. So likewise did Beatrix Potter, who lived nearby. It struck me then that the Great were remarkably touchy and unpleasant (even if, in Ruskin's case, it was posthumous), and I thought I would like to be the same, without the unpleasantness.
"I started writing children's books when we moved to a village in Essex where there were almost no books. The main activities there were hand-weaving, hand-making pottery, and singing madrigals, for none of which I had either taste or talent. So, in intervals between trying to haunt the church and sitting on roofs hoping to learn to fly, I wrote enormous epic adventure stories which I read to my sisters instead of the real books we did not have. This writing was stopped, though, when it was decided I must be coached to go to University. A local philosopher was engaged to teach me Greek and philosophy in exchange for a dollhouse (my family never did things normally), and I eventually got a place at Oxford.
"At this stage, despite attending lectures by J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, I did not expect to be writing fantasy. But that was what I started to write when I was married and had children of my own. It was what they liked best. But small children do not allow you the use of your brain. They used to jump on my feet to stop me thinking. And I had not realized how much I needed to teach myself about writing. I took years to learn, and it was not until my youngest child began school that I was able to produce a book which a publisher did not send straight back.
"As soon as my books began to be published, they started coming true. Fantastic things that I thought I had made up keep happening to me. The most spectacular was Drowned Ammet. The first time I went on a boat after writing that book, an island grew up out of the sea and stranded us. This sort of thing, combined with the fact that I have a travel jinx, means that my life is never dull."
Diana Wynne Jones is the author of many highly praised books for young readers, as well as three plays for children and a novel for adults. She lives in Bristol, England, with her husband, a professor of English at Bristol University. They have three sons.