Children of the Lamp
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Children of the Lamp is a series of fantasy novels for senior children as well as adolescents and adults written by the British author P.B. Kerr. It tells the story of twins John and Philippa, as they discover how to act in the world of djinn. (genies). The story has a variety of themes, family, adventure, and loyalty being a few. The first book, The Akhenaten Adventure, was published in 2004. The second book, The Blue Djinn of Babylon, was published in 2006. The third book, The Cobra King of Kathmandu, was also released in 2006. The fourth book was published in August 2007, and is named The Day of the Djinn Warriors. The fifth book came out in 2009 and is titled The Eye of the Forest. The sixth book, The Five Fakirs of Faizabad, was released on November 1, 2010. The film rights are held by Paramount.
- 1 Reception
- 2 Use of djinn power in the series
- 3 Characters
- 4 Minor characters
- 5 The Six Tribes of Djinn
- 6 Adaptation
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Critic Matt Berman states, "Like many other adult novelists trying to make the transition, he will need to learn that different rules apply -- the pacing is different, and kids prefer warm passion to cool detachment. There's a lot of potential here for future books in the series, but to be really successful he will need to bring John and Philippa to life."
The Akhenaten Adventure
John and Philippa Gaunt are twelve-year old twins with a remarkably gifted mother, a very kind father, and two dogs that aren't who they seem to be. The family lives a life of luxury in New York. One day, their wisdom teeth appear simultaneously. During an operation to get the wisdom teeth removed, they both have the same dream in which their uncle, Nimrod, asks that they come to London. He tells them that they are djinn (genies). They begin the adventure of a lifetime, going from Cairo to London, using pink Ferraris, and riding camels. From New York, Egypt, and London, the twins' adventures are filled with excitement as they undergo training in the use of their newly discovered powers, but are also fraught with danger, as they battle the evil Ifrit tribe of djinn and its leader, Iblis. They must preserve the balance of good luck and bad luck in the world.
The Blue Djinn of Babylon
John and Philippa Gaunt, twelve-year-old twins who recently discovered themselves to be descended from a long line of djinn (commonly called genies) and who are now in possession of great powers, have only just returned from their adventures battling evil djinn in Cairo and London. Now the mystery surrounding a powerful book of djinn magic named Solomon's Grimoire lures the twins straight into their next extraordinary adventure.
When the Solomon Grimoire is reported missing, John and Philippa are called upon to retrieve this book of power. They travel across the globe, from New York to Istanbul, Berlin to Budapest but, little do they know, a trap has been set and the djinn twins are about to walk right into it. Soon, John must embark on an epic journey to save his sister from the fate of eternal hard-heartedness from Ayesha, before it's too late.
The Cobra King of Kathmandu
Fiery magic in a land of ice, midnight intruders and murder by snakebite sweep John and Philippa Gaunt into their third fantastic adventure. After their friend Dybbuk Sachertorte sends an email pleading for help, the twins go save him; they cannot refuse. Dybbuk gives a mysterious painting leading them to Nepal to save their friends. In snowy Kathmandu, the children, along with Mr. Groanin, face the ultimate test of their amazing djinn powers. Can they uncover the venomous secrets of an evil Snake Cult to find the long-lost talisman of the Cobra King? Meanwhile, at home, their mother prepares to follow her destiny, which she has still kept secret.
The Day of the Djinn Warriors
The Day of the Djinn Warriors is the fourth novel and deals with more of the Sachertorte family's past, as well as the encounter with the newly changed Layla Gaunt. Dealing with thefts, hauntings and a red-hot mystery, it is a race against time for John and Philippa Gaunt to outwit the wicked Iblis. But can the djinn twins stop Iblis now he has awoken the ancient warriors of a long-dead emperor from their sleep? John and Philippa attempt to rescue their mother from her fate as the Blue Djinn of Babylon (a djinn that is beyond good and evil, who has powers over all.) They discover that an aging curse has been placed on their father and if the twins are gone too long, he will rapidly become an old man. As the twins and their friends travel around the globe on their rescue mission, they notice that something very strange is happening: An evil force has awakened the terracotta warriors created by an ancient Chinese emperor, and someone with very bad intentions has cast a spell possessing the soldiers with wicked spirits. And now, the very fate of the world hangs in the balance.
Meanwhile, museums all over the world are reporting robberies of valuable jade artifacts from their collections, as well as bizarre hauntings.
The Eye of the Forest
John and Philippa Gaunt find themselves tangled up in a spellbinding mystery that takes them deep into the heart of the Amazon jungle in book five of the NY TIMES bestselling Children of the Lamp series. When a collection of Incan artifacts goes missing, the Blue Djinn of Babylon dispatches the twins and Uncle Nimrod to recover them. Along the way, though, John and Philippa encounter their friend Dybbuk, who was drained of his djinn powers but is determined to get them back. In a fury, he's headed to an ancient Incan Empire where he believes he can regain his power. Dybbuk will stop at nothing . . . even if it means opening a cursed portal, disturbing the enchanted kingdom of the Incas that has slept for thousands of years, and (unintentionally) destroying the world. Dybbuk's kindness was crushed, and his evilness took over his body. Philippa tried to save him but failed.
The Five Fakirs of Faizabad
John and Phillipa Gaunt are in search of an ancient fakir, who is a holder of one of the world's greatest secrets given by titchakar. A fakir comes out only when the world is in a high amount of bad luck or misfortune. Eventually John and Phillipa find him, Mr. Saraswati, he is called. The twins also find out that Mr. Rakshasas is alive from Mr. Burton, Rakshasas's old butler. In the twins' attempt to find Rakshasas at Yellowstone national park, Groanin finds himself following John and Phillipa but getting attacked by a bear at Yellowstone. Rakshasas, a wolf now, tells them that they must go to shangri-la or actually called Shamba-La. Nimrod finds out that he must go to Shamba-La as well. Through the hardships of getting to Shamba-La, the twins and Rakshasas get captured by Nazis, and Nimrod gets hit by a bird and gets amnesia. They all eventually get to Shamba-La, to find that the ruler there is actually Rakshasas himself, after he had left 70 years ago. Finally, Groanin is saved and Nimrod turned back to normal, and they are teleported back in time where they don't recall anything about Shamba-la and it seems as if it is the beginning of the book again but they all feel a sense of De-Ja-Vu.
The Grave Robbers of Genghis Khan
The seventh book in the series was officially released on November 1, 2011 (but was already being sold by booksellers before this date). Djinn twins John and Philippa are off on another enchanting, and dangerous, adventure in the last book in the bestselling Children of the Lamp series. As volcanoes begin erupting all over the world, spilling golden lava, the twins must go on a hunt for the wicked djinn who wants to rob the grave of the great Genghis Khan. Can the twins stop this latest disaster before the world is overwhelmed?
Join John and Philippa, their parents, Uncle Nimrod, and Groanin as they must defeat an evil more powerful than any they've ever faced before.
Use of djinn power in the series
The djinn - whether they like it or not - are the guardians of luck, so they derive their power from "luck" or "fate". Much of the narrative thus comes from those who promote good luck, who are attempting to combat those who promote bad luck. In particular the book focuses on the Marid, led by Layla Gaunt (John and Philippa's mother), a tribe of djinn, to which the Gaunt family belongs, and the Ifrit, led by the evil djinn Iblis, who provide many of the enemies in the five books. With the book's logic, they do not consider it magic, but a force from an undefined section of their brains. Although most of the attention given to the tribes centers on the Marid and the Ifrit, various other tribes have minor roles in the series.
The djinn power that all djinn possess is directly linked to their own lifelines, every wish that is granted costs the djinn a portion of their lifeforce and shortens their lifespan. The energy that is lost cannot be regained and the older a djinn is, the more force is drained from them. Djinn require heat to use djinn power. The younger a djinn, the more heat required to use djinn power. An adult djinn must be frozen in ice to prevent use of djinn power. The average temperature of a healthy djinn is 101.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Djinn shake hands by folding their middle finger or their "life line" finger into their palm to protecay want to use their powers.
The exact limits of djinn power vary with age and experience, but what all djinn have in common is that when they use their power they must picture and think about what exactly they will use their power for, be it from making an object appear and disappear to granting a wish. Djinn power has limits, as stated by John and Philippa's mother that djinn cannot bring back the dead be it animal, human, or plant. Djinn power cannot affect the flow of time and cannot create copies of themselves. Also, djinn cannot undo the spells of another djinn, except the Blue Djinn of Babylon. Djinn power cannot create gems of any kind because gems act like absorbers and take in djinn power.
Djinn power allows djinn to grant three wishes per individual, also there is a fourth wish in the event the individual does not like the outcome of the wishes and can unwish the previous three. Also, it has been proven that djinn can offer three wishes to anybody; instead of having to be released from a confinement every time to bestow the wishes' to individuals, if djinn are released from a bottle by a member of their family, then no wishes would be exchanged. Djinn can also give another djinn or human an emergency wish called a discrimen; that allows them to avoid any kind of danger, usually the emergency wish is a very long word and the person can only remember and say it right in the event an emergency occurs, however two discrimen's would cancel each other out when activated. In the 2nd book, it is shown that a creature called an optabellower or wish monster was spawned from the 1st Blue Djinn's mind from which it was created from the angry and thrown away wishes of mundane and djinn.
When djinn power is released there is a surge of energy that affects the djinns surroundings; for example, before John had his wisdom teeth removed his untapped djinn power caused a crack to stretch from his bedside to his side of his bedroom, through a mirror and ended just a few feet from the bedroom door.
It also appears djinn age slower than mundanes, because according to Nimrod djinn can live up to 500 years and if bottled up in suspended animation, time cannot ravage a djinn until released from the bottle. In fact, djinn do not actually start aging until their wisdom teeth are taken out no matter how old he/she was before the wisdom teeth were removed.
Djinn power allows djinn to have an astral body, that allows them to enter other people's dreams and gives them access to possess people. Plus, if their physical body gets destroyed, their astral form can enter into any human spirit and in turn, the host becomes the djinn's new body still retaining all the djinn's knowledge and personality. The dangers involved in using the astral form is that the ghostly form cannot stay out of a body too long or it floats into space becoming a lost spirit. Plus, the spirit djinn can still be heard by other beings be they mundane or djinn, the spirit must avoid being exposed to cold air because the cold air will affect their astral form and make them semi-transparent enough to see. When a djinn possess someone, the host maintains his or her original appearance and voice. While under possession, the host has no memory of whatever occurred while they were being possessed. The way to tell is someone is being possessed by a djinn is if there is a smell of sulfur in the air and if the lymph nodes in the throat is swollen than a djinn is present, a djinn's spirit can be exorcised by the burning smell of cat.
Djinn have the power of shape-shifting and can change into any animal or object the choose. While in animal or object form, the djinn still retain their thoughts and 5 senses granting them a form of telepathy to communicate to other djinn while in an animal or object guise. The downside to shape-shifting into an animal is that the djinn retain some animal-like qualities when they change back into their mundane forms; such as the animal's scent, plus they can only stay in animal form for a limited time. An exception to the time limit is when the djinn change into their tribe's special animal; for example, the camel is regarded as the animal of the Marid tribe; therefore, djinn of the Marid tribe can stay in camel form for an indefinite amount of time. When djinn are disguised as objects such as walls or statues they must act like objects, that is to be seen and not heard.
Djinn have the ability to turn into smoke when they enter or exit a container, called transubstantiation. This process occurs when the heat from a djinn body's ignites with the oxygen in the air giving the illusion of smoke,. When a djinn enters a container they must enter counter-clockwise if they are in the northern hemisphere; because when they enter the container time is different for they step outside the third dimension. Space in a bottle to a djinn is very much like a room in a house for which they still retain djinn power and are able to make their stay comfortable for themselves. Because djinn are outside the third dimension time is different inside the bottle, to a djinn an hour in a bottle is similar to ten hours outside the bottle. However, if a djinn enters the container the wrong way the opposite effect happens, in which 15 minutes outside the bottle may feel like three days in the bottle.
Because djinn are made of fire, smoking is not an uncommon habit for them because the negative effects of smoking do not affect them and as Uncle Nimrod has demonstrated, can change the smoke into many different shapes. When djinn enter a container they can survive the low oxygen confinements in the container while a normal mundane would choke to death on carbon dioxide. It has also been shown that if a human injects djinn blood into their system they will suffer spontaneous combustion and be reduced to ash. It has also been confirmed that djinn are immune to fire and can not be burnt or killed by it.
Djinn can unleash an elemental on another being, elementals are mini-demons that live inside what djinn call the eight elements: water, earth, fire, air, spirit, space, time, and luck. Elementals tend to follow their creators once they carried out the deed they were created for and often help out their creator in times of crises. Dybbuk once released one by holding hands with the Gaunt kids.
Djinn have the ability to travel by whirlwind by means of forming a funnel of air for which they must sit on or risk of losing balance and falling off. Just like inside a bottle, djinn can adjust the inside of the funnel to their liking and mundanes can travel with them inside the whirlwind. However, djinn must make sure that mundanes do not see the whirlwind for risk of exposure and whirlwind travel is sensitive to changes in the Earth's temperature.
Philippa Gaunt is the twin of John Gaunt. Philippa is shorter with red hair and glasses, like her father. She prefers to be called Phil, rather than Philippa. Like her brother John, she is claustrophobic and dislikes loud noises. Philippa is described as the more intellectual one; this was seen with her quick skill of telling lies to Miss Pickings, allowing herself to successfully remove Gordon Warthoff's pimples, and is an expert Djinnverso player. In "The Blue Djinn of Babylon", she is kidnapped by her maternal grandmother Ayesha, the Blue Djinn of Babylon. It is revealed Philippa was used as a key to get Layla Gaunt to usurp the role as Blue Djinn. Her focus word is FABULONGOSHOOMARVELISHLYWONDERPIPICAL, and changes it later in "The Five Fakirs of Faizabad" to "DIDDLEEYEJOEFROMMEJICOFELLOFFHISHORSEATARODEOHANDSUPSTICKEMUPDROPTHENGUNSANDPICKEMUPDIDDLEEYEJOEFROMMEJICO", the longest one in the series. She has no idea that Dybbuk likes her, but she is shown to have a sense of affection for him as she tries to rescue him in the "Eye of the Forest." She is shown to have a crush on Axel.
John Gaunt is the twin of Philippa Gaunt. John is described as tall and dark, and previously pimply. John, like most djinn, is claustrophobic but as seen in "The Akhenaten Adventure", John panics more than Philippa does. He has a strong dislike to vegetables, as revealed in "The Blue Djinn of Babylon". He is quite athletic, and acquired more strength in the second book in order to fight off a bully physically. During the second book, John faces numerous obstacles, including having to kill a very real looking projection of his own father, in his efforts to save Philippa. His focus word is ABECEDARIAN. When he meets Faustina in book four he immediately falls for her.
Dybbuk Sachertorte is a Djinn friend of John and Philippa who prefers to go by the name of Buck. His mother is the djinn Doctor Sachertorte, who helps John and Philippa recover from their illness in The Blue Djinn of Babylon. He goes with them on their adventures in The Cobra King of Kathmandu. His favorite things are treasure hunts and old war movies. He, his mother, and his pet coyote Colin live in Palm Springs, California. He also has a crush on Philippa. In the third book, it is revealed that he is the youngest son of Iblis Teer, leader of the Ifrit tribe and most evil of all Djinn. Dybbuk acts as a magician under the name of Jonathon Tarot in the fourth book, but uses up his powers in a complicated stunt and becomes mundane, which for a Djinn, is very unfortunate. He regains his powers in the 5th book after splitting into two- a good Buck and an evil Dybbuk and the evil kills his good "twin". His focus word is ZYGOBRANCHIATE.
Nimrod Plantagenet Godwin is the powerful Djinn uncle of John and Philippa and defacto leader of the Marid. Nimrod is depicted as a loud djinn who enjoys the color red, and a near experate at all things relating to djinn. Apparently, he has a strong dislike to jade, as well as rubies. He is always seen with a cigar, and has a strong talent in allowing the smoke of his cigar to create shapes and/or allowing those shapes to then become real. Nimrod's companion is Mr. Rakshasas, who he always keeps in his pocket. He first appeared in a dream of John's and Philippa's simultaneously, when their wisdom teeth or "dragon teeth" were extracted. His focus word is QWERTYUIOP (the top ten letter keys on a keyboard). He has an estranged wife Alexandra who lives in Kandahar Afghanistan due to her uncontrollable temper and cursed ability to see the future.
Mr. Harry Groanin
Mr. Harry Groanin is Nimrod's one-armed butler. Groanin freed Nimrod from confinement and won three wishes. After wasting his first two wishes he became Nimrod's butler so he could properly consider how to use his third wish, and to make sure Nimrod does not trick him. He uses his third wish to help locate a trapped Nimrod and feels quite liberated afterwards. Groanin's other arm was recreated by John, Philippa, and Dybbuk in book 3. This arm is strong enough to fight an angel in book 4 and win. Groanin also got beaten, and seriously wounded, by a bear. He would have died, if this all turned out to have "never happened". What happened was a wrinkle in time.
Mr.Rakshasas is Nimrod's djinn friend. Mr. Rakshasas has an Irish accent which he got from watching Irish shows (he did this in order to learn English). Mr. Rakshasas feels more at home in his lamp than outside of it, following a long period of forced confinement. He is afraid of large and open spaces. He is considered a leading djinn expert on the Baghdad Rules, a series of conventions regulating wishes and wish granting and even wrote a book on the subject called The Shorter Baghdad Rules. In the fourth book of the series, he was absorbed by one of the Terracotta warriors. His focus word is SESQUIPEDALIAN. In the sixth book, however, he is revealed to be reincarnated as a wolf. Strangely enough, in Hindi, the word Rakshasas generally means "monster" or "greedy" or even "demon". However, he mostly resembles one of the rare "good Rahkshasa", Vibhishana
Layla Gaunt is an extremely tall and glamorous lady who is the eccentric mother of John and Philippa, and sister to Nimrod. She first appears as a very nice and allowing mother, telling John that naming one of the dogs "Elvis" would be a nice change. From then and through the series, she was depicted as an extremely tall djinn who had the media clamouring up for her. She had an apparent blatant relationship with her brother Nimrod in their later lives, but had grown up loving him earlier. She then cut herself off from the djinn world, including dropping the use of her powers right after turning her husband's murderous brothers into the pet dogs. She finally began using her powers again to turn an assassin, hired to kill John and Phillipa, into a cat, who they took in as a pet and named Monty. She had renounced the use of her djinn powers after she attempted to save her daughter Philippa from her mother Ayesha. Ayesha wished her to become the new Blue Djinn of Babylon, a position Layla did not desire; resulting in the kidnapping of Philippa in order to force Layla to take the position. In "The Cobra King of Kathmandu", Layla Gaunt leaves her family forever in order to become the next Blue Djinn. In "The Day of the Djinn Warriors" she is replaced by Faustina, Dybbuk's sister, as the Blue Djinn and comes back home. On her way home from Iraq, her body is incinerated by a pyroclastic flow from the Hawaiian volcano Kilauea and she is forced to find another body to possess. Her spirit occupies the body of Mrs. Trump, the Gaunts' maid, before seeing a djinn plastic surgeon in Brazil to make Mrs. Trump look like Layla's former self. During the events of "The Eye of the Forest" she gets absorbed by an exorbere (a half-man-half-spider creature), but her husband saves her from ending up like Mr. Rakshasas. Her focus word is NEPHELOKOKKYGIA (from Cloud cuckoo land).
The father of the twins Philippa and John Gaunt. He is fearful of the twins' powers after their mother turned his two brothers into dogs. Described as absentminded, but a brilliant and a good father,he is quite fond of antiques and is a successful banker. During the end of the third book he becomes a victim of the Methuselah Binding(which causes him to age several years), cast by Layla Gaunt to prevent John and Philipa from attempting to stop her from being the next Blue Djinn after Ayesha. He is short and has glasses.
Sister of Dybbuk and the current Blue Djinn. She took over the prime minister's body to get back at Iblis when she realized he had taken over her father's body. After blood was removed from the prime minister during her possession, she was unable to regain control of her own body and was forced to move to her aunt's castle on Bannerman's Island, while her body, presumed dead, was placed in an Italian crypt, where it became famous for staying in a sleep-like, perfectly preserved state. John and Philippa save her and she repays them by rescuing their mother from becoming the Blue Djinn by taking her place. She is also quite fond of John.
Former Blue Djinn, Layla Gaunt's and Uncle Nimrod's mother, and John and Philippa's grandmother. She is about two hundred years old, but looks like she is in her late eighties. As the Blue Djinn, Ayesha serves as the arbitrator of djinn disputes and is considered "beyond" good and evil. Her state of mind is not achieved naturally; she uses the tree of logic (the "third tree of Eden") to become a hard-hearted being.
Former leader of the Ifrit. He was punished by Ayesha for killing Hussein Hussaout in the first book. Ayesha sentenced him to be exiled to Venus for ten years, but the container he was trapped in never made it to the shuttle because it was stolen, in the Cobra King of Kathmandu his body is torn apart by Djinn tigers and he possessed a magician as his new body, he is now trapped in an impenetrable suit of Jade and Gold. He has a son named Rudyard who extremely dislikes the twins. He is also Dybbuk's father. His focus word is TETRAGRAMMATONITIS.
Alan and Neil
Brothers of Mr. Gaunt. Jealous of how successful he was, the pair attempted to murder him. They were stopped by Mrs. Gaunt and she transformed them into the family's beloved Rottweilers. In the first book, John tried to change their names into Winston and Elvis (much to the horror of his father). After they sacrificed their own lives to save John, in his quest to rescue Philippa, they returned to human form, since Layla Gaunt had made it so that their punishment would only last for as long as the animals lived (technically their "animal forms").
The djinn son of Iblis and half-brother to Dybbuk Sachertorte. He suffers the same fate as his father, trapped in a suit of jade and gold.
The Six Tribes of Djinn
- John Gaunt
- Philippa Gaunt
- Layla Gaunt
- Nimrod Godwin
- Mr Rakshasas
- Ayesha Godwin
- Dybbuk Sachertorte (Dybbuk is listed under Marid and Ifrit for his mother- Jenny- had Dybbuk with Iblis who had inhabited Jenny's husband)
- Jenny Sachertorte
- Faustina Sachertorte
- Rabbi Joshua
- Frank Vodyannoy
- Zadie Eloko
- Baron Reinhold von Reinnerassig
- Iblis Teer (former leader of the evil Djinn tribe)
- Rudyard Teer(Iblis Teer's son)
- Jonathan Teer
- Palis the Footlicker
- Dybbuk Sachertorte
- Jirjis Ibn Rajmus (current leader of the evil Djinn tribe)
- No Shaitans are seen in the series.
According to the Baghdad rules, if someone hits a ghoul on the forehead, the djinn will instantly die. However, a second blow to the head will revive the dead djinn.
- Lilith de Ghulle (she is in the djinverso tournament against Philippa)
- Mimi de Ghulle (Mother to Lilith)
In 2007 DreamWorks acquired the rights of the novel for a film to produce by Nina Jacobson. Later DreamWorks left the project and Paramount signed the film to distribute with Disney. Michael Handelman is set to write the script with Lee Hall. In April 2013 Paramount is in talk to set director/writer Robert Rugan to direct the film.
- Berman, Matt. "Review: The Akhenaten Adventure (Children of the Lamp, Book 1) Twins discover they're djinn.". Family.com. Disney. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
- "DreamWorks Lighting 'Children of the Lamp'". moviefone.com. 16 July 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
- "CHILDREN OF THE LAMP setup by Dreamworks". whatculture.com. 16 July 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
- "Paramount Eyes Robert Rugan to Helm ‘Children of the Lamp’". variety.com. 12 April 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
- "Robert Rugan to Direct CHILDREN OF THE LAMP". movies.ie. 16 April 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013.