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Children's LiteratureWynne Jones returns to her Chrestomanci saga for the fifth time in this tongue-in-cheek foray into the care and maintenance of the upper classes. The story may be set in the England of her Seventh Series alternate universe, but it reads at times like 1920s Wodehouse, with a touch of planet-bending magic to keep the stock market behaving properly. (Bertie Wooster would be green with envy.) Twelve-year-old Conrad is thrust into palatial aristocratic life as an apprentice lackey to save his Fate—and make his Uncle Alfred's fortune. Fortuitously, he is teamed up with fifteen-year-old Christopher Chant, freshly arrived from his planet series in search of his runaway friend, Millie. There's many an adventurous slip before the satisfying conclusion, but the real fun lies in watching the young men learn to shape up under the tutelage of the pear-shaped butler, Mr. Amos. Watching them become, in Amos's inimitable words, "Living. Pieces. Of furniture." The quirks of the noble family they actually serve are just icing on the cake. Although he is not the main character, it is good to have another piece of the dapper Christopher's background. 2005, Greenwillow, Ages 10 up.