First UK edition
|Author||Diana Wynne Jones|
|Genre||Children's fantasy novel|
|Media type||Print (hardcover)|
|Pages||393 pp (first edition)|
|Preceded by||Mixed Magics|
|Followed by||The Pinhoe Egg|
Conrad is the protagonist, a twelve-year-old boy sent to work at the local Stallery castle with a magical mission to kill someone neither named nor described. Fifteen-year-old Christopher Chant (The Lives of Christopher Chant) applies for work at the same time on a personal mission. They are both hired.
The Chrestomanci books are collectively named for a powerful enchanter and British government official in a world parallel to ours, who supervises the use of magic —or the Chrestomanci, an office that requires a powerful enchanter and is responsible for supervising. Conrad's Fate is set perhaps three decades ago in a world quite different from ours, during the adolescence of Christopher Chant who is Chrestomanci in five of the books.
Conrad Tesdinic lives in Stallery, a small town in the English Alps, a mountain range present in Series Seven worlds where the British Isles are still connected to the European mainland. Conrad's father is dead; his sister Anthea has left home to go to university; and his mother, Franconia, is an eccentric feminist author whose books are sold exclusively in her brother's bookshop, where she and Conrad also live.
In the mountains high above Stallery lies Stallery Mansion, known as a "possibilities mansion," and home to the Count and his family. Conrad's uncle tells him that someone up at Stallery Mansion is pulling the possibilities – that is, changing the details of the world. Judging from the affluence of Stallery, this person is making a great deal of money by doing so, perhaps by playing the stock market; but this is adversely affecting the rest of the world. At first only small details change – the colour of the postboxes, the titles of books – but the changes keep getting bigger and bigger.
According to his uncle, Conrad is going to die within the year unless he kills the person pulling the possibilities—someone he should have eliminated in a past life. In order to kill this person, Conrad will need to secure a position at Stallery Mansion, and then summon a Walker, someone who will give Conrad what he needs to defeat his nameless foe. Conrad's uncle and his group of magician friends work a strange spell on a cork, giving Conrad, who has possession of it, the power to summon a Walker at will. Conrad needs to be sure who this person is before he summons the Walker, however, so instead of moving forward in school with his friends, he is sent to work at Stallery and study its inhabitants, one of which is the person Conrad needs to defeat.
Conrad soon finds that he is not the only one snooping around the mansion. He befriends his fellow servant-in-training, Christopher "Smith" (really Christopher Chant), who is searching for his friend Millie. Together, they discover that she is trapped in one of the possibilities. Conrad and Christopher must stop the person behind all the mischief, rescue Millie, and fix Conrad's fate, all without spilling soup on the Countess although Conrad's bad Karma isn't helping along the way.
Conrad Tesdinic: Conrad decides to take an alias at Stallery, and calls himself "Conrad Grant", as "Grant" is his uncle Alfred's surname. Christopher suspects this is false, and so calls him "Grant" in a superior and often sarcastic way all throughout the book. Conrad's uncle runs the bookshop in town, and so he has a great love of books – which makes the pulling of the possibilities very irritating for him, as the book titles and minor details within the books change overnight. He brings his camera with him to Stallery and makes great use of it.
Christopher Chant: Christopher also has an alias: "Christopher Smith". The character we see here is around fifteen, older than in The Lives of Christopher Chant, but younger than in the other Chrestomanci books. He is witty, confident, charming, he also seems to have a very soft spot for Millie. Christopher can often talk his way out of a situation, even though he goes rather vague at times...
Millie: Christopher's friend. She becomes lost in the possibilities at Stallery while running away from boarding school. Christopher's chief reason for coming to Stallery is to find her. When found by Conrad she becomes a maid for a while.
Mr. Amos: The pear-shaped, severe butler of Stallery. He insists on discipline and impeccable dress at all times. But even through his reiteration of and insistence on a servant's place, Conrad and Christopher cannot help but feel that there is more to his place than he is letting on.
Anthea Tesdinic: Conrad's sister, who left home a few years before the bulk of the story. Appears again in a sticky mess she can't see.
Count Robert: The supposed owner of Stallery who marries Anthea. His real name is Robert Brown.
- The infobox provides data from ISFDB for the first UK edition (from "Publisher" to "OCLC Number"). Conrad's Fate (first edition) publication contents at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2012-04-28.
- Conrad's Fate by Diana Wynne Jones: HarperCollins Children's Books 9780007190850 Hardback with paper jacket, First edition & printing - Booksort Retrieved 11 Feb 2013
- Chrestomanci series at ISFDB.
- "Diana Wynne Jones". The Locus Index to SF Awards: Index to Literary Nominees. Locus Publications. Retrieved 2012-04-28.
- The Locus Index to SF Awards: 2007 Locus Awards
Chrestomanci series listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB). Retrieved 2012-04-28.
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