Conrad's Fate

Conrad's Fate

by Diana Wynne Jones

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Overview

Conrad's Fate by Diana Wynne Jones

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?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060747459
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/09/2006
Series: Chrestomanci Series , #5
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 953,201
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: 810L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About 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 are filled with unlimited imagination, dazzling plots, and an effervescent sense of humor that earned her legendary status in the world of fantasy.

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Conrad's Fate

Chapter One

When I was small, I always thought Stallery Mansion was some kind of fairy-tale castle. I could see it from my bedroom window, high in the mountains above Stallchester, flashing with glass and gold when the sun struck it. When I got to the place at last, it wasn't exactly like a fairy tale.

Stallchester, where we had our shop, is quite high in the mountains, too. There are a lot of mountains here in Series Seven, and Stallchester is in the English Alps. Most people thought this was the reason why you could only receive television at one end of the town, but my uncle told me it was Stallery doing it.

"It's the protections they put round the place to stop anyone investigating them," he said. "The magic blanks out the signal."

My Uncle Alfred was a magician in his spare time, so he knew this sort of thing. Most of the time he made a living for us all by keeping the bookshop at the cathedral end of town. He was a skinny, worrity little man with a bald patch under his curls, and he was my mother's half brother. It always seemed a great burden to him, having to look after me and my mother and my sister, Anthea. He rushed about muttering, "And how do I find the money, Conrad, with the book trade so slow!"

The bookshop was in our name, too -- it said grant and tesdinic in faded gold letters over the bow windows and the dark green door -- but Uncle Alfred explained that it belonged to him now. He and my father had started the shop together. Then, just after I was born and a little before he died, my father had needed a lot of money suddenly, Uncle Alfred told me, and he sold his half of the bookshop to Uncle Alfred. Then my father died, and Uncle Alfred had to support us.

"And so he should do," my mother said in her vague way. "We're the only family he's got."

My sister, Anthea, said she wanted to know what my father had needed the money for, but she never could find out. Uncle Alfred said he didn't know. "And you never get any sense out of Mother," Anthea said to me. "She just says things like 'Life is always a lottery' and 'Your father was usually hard up,' so all I can think is that it must have been gambling debts. The casino's only just up the road after all."

I rather liked the idea of my father gambling half a bookshop away. I used to like taking risks myself. When I was eight, I borrowed some skis and went down all the steepest and iciest ski runs, and in the summer I went rock climbing. I felt I was really following in my father's footsteps. Unfortunately, someone saw me halfway up Stall Crag and told my uncle.

"Ah, no, Conrad," he said, wagging a worried, wrinkled finger at me. "I can't have you taking these risks."

"My dad did," I said, "betting all that money."

"He lost it," said my uncle, "and that's a different matter. I never knew much about his affairs, but I have an idea -- a very shrewd idea -- that he was robbed by those crooked aristocrats up at Stallery."

"What?" I said. "You mean Count Rudolf came with a gun and held him up?"

My uncle laughed and rubbed my head. "Nothing so dramatic, Con. They do things quietly and mannerly up at Stallery. They pull the possibilities like gentlemen."

"How do you mean?" I said.

"I'll explain when you're old enough to understand the magic of high finance," my uncle replied. "Meanwhile ... " His face went all withered and serious. "Meanwhile, you can't afford to go risking your neck on Stall Crag, you really can't, Con, not with the bad karma you carry."

"What's karma?" I asked.

"That's another thing I'll explain when you're older," my uncle said. "Just don't let me catch you going rock climbing again, that's all."

I sighed. Karma was obviously something very heavy, I thought, if it stopped you climbing rocks. I went to ask my sister, Anthea, about it. Anthea is nearly ten years older than me, and she was very learned even then. She was sitting over a line of open books on the kitchen table, with her long black hair trailing over the page she was writing notes on. "Don't bother me now, Con," she said without looking up.

She's growing up just like Mum! I thought. "But I need to know what karma is."

"Karma?" Anthea looked up. She has huge dark eyes. She opened them wide to stare at me, wonderingly. "Karma's sort of like Fate, except it's to do with what you did in a former life. Suppose that in a life you had before this one you did something bad, or didn't do something good, then Fate is supposed to catch up with you in this life, unless you put it right by being extra good, of course. Understand?"

"Yes," I said, though I didn't really. "Do people live more than once then?"

"The magicians say you do," Anthea answered. "I'm not sure I believe it myself. I mean, how can you check that you had a life before this one? Where did you hear about karma?"

Not wanting to tell her about Stall Crag, I said vaguely, "Oh, I read it somewhere. And what's pulling the possibilities? That's another thing I read."

"It's something that would take ages to explain, and I haven't time," Anthea said, bending over her notes again. "You don't seem to understand that I'm working for an exam that could change my entire life!"

"When are you going to get lunch then?" I asked.

"Isn't that just my life in a nutshell!" Anthea burst out. "I do all the work round here and help in the shop twice a week, and nobody even considers that I might want to do something different! Go away!"

Conrad's Fate. Copyright © by Diana Jones. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Conrad's Fate (Chrestomanci Series #5) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the last Chrestomanci book I had to read. When I started it, I didn't know it had Christopher (the Chrestomanci who is in most of the other books) as a teenager in it. I loved every Chrestomanci book I read, and this one was no exeption. All about Conrad Grant/Tesdinic, his very twisted family, and his 'Evil Fate,' this book kept me interested from the 1st page to the last. This book has magic, alternate realities, changing probabilities, and secret identities. The ending was quite a surprise to me when the reader discovers who else is related to Conrad. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and highly recommend this book.
rsbohn on LibraryThing 7 hours ago
A good book, but not as strong as other Chrestomanci volumes.
Crowyhead on LibraryThing 6 days ago
I liked this Chrestomanci book much more than Witch Week! The characters in this one were just so great -- I especially loved Conrad's mother, who is a rather batty and forgetful (although that's not all her fault...) academic who writes feminist texts that no one reads.
Sarahsponda on LibraryThing 6 days ago
A new Diana Wynne Jones is always cause for celebration. This is another book in the Chrestomanci universe(s) and, though not among her BEST, still very enjoyable, humourous and well-written. It was neat to see what Chrestomanci was like as a teenager. Good stuff.
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Heeere?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No, this was a reference point. But we could use it from now on as a conversation book. No, we're meeting with Ghoststar at Entropy by Leonard Allen.