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The Cobra King of Kathmandu: Children of the Lamp, Book 3


The Cobra King of Kathmandu: Children of the Lamp, Book 3

In the third volume of the Children of the Lamp series, we briefly time-travel back to the birth of djinn (genie) twins John and Philippa Gaunt when their djinn uncle Nimrod is called upon to help the British Prime Minister, who is possessed by a djinn. As Nimrod exorcises the djinn, the Prime Minister's doctor becomes a little too fascinated by Nimrod.

The story then returns to the present. Twelve-year-old djinn Dybbuk uses his powers to steal a test from a teacher for himself and a friend. When the friend's father is told that Dybbuk (or "Buck") took the test using his powers as a thief (instead of saying he used his djinn powers), the father asks him to steal a baton once owned by Goering, Hitler's deputy. The baton supposedly holds a treasure. Buck's friend's father asks him to swap a fake baton for the one in the military museum. Buck, reasoning that he will return the real baton after finding the treasure, agrees. But will he be able to keep the secret of being a djinn from his friends? When the mission is accomplished, the treasure proves to be priceless drawings from artists such as Michelangelo --- drawings people would "kill to get."

Meanwhile, Philippa and John are preparing to throw their first djinn birthday party. While they argue with their mother, they are unaware that she will soon leave to become the Blue Djinn of Babylon.

After their party, two strange robbers break into the twins' apartment. They appear to be after the box holding the twins' wisdom teeth. Mrs. Gaunt changes the robbers into bottles of wine. Philippa finds a clue in the carpet --- a flat stone with an orange snake engraved on it. The twins' mother isn't sure what the medallion is, so she sends it to Nimrod "by djinnternal mail" (she swallows it; Nimrod coughs it up). But she also mentions something ominous: Dybbuk is missing, and his friend and the friend's father are dead.

When Nimrod retrieves his mail, he calls upon Rakshasas, his ancient djinn friend, who shudders upon seeing the stone. Rakshasas believes it signifies that a new cult is on the loose, a Cobra cult so evil and dangerous that Rakshasas instantly fears for the twins. Of course, John and Philippa are also wanted by Iblis, the incredibly wicked djinn, who wants them "bottled and caught."

This book continues the Children of the Lamp tradition of being intriguing and full of hilarious bits (the Prime Minister sleeps with a teddy bear; a computer support team has a dastardly motivation). As much as I enjoyed the book, though, I had a few minor quibbles. A meeting with one of the computer support people seems a bit too coincidental and a rescue from a mountainous ice field just a hair too convenient. Gross-out references to snot, earwax and toe jam seem out of place in this adventure book (with P. B. Kerr's considerable talents, I believe he could indicate more subtly that someone is despicable).

However, all in all THE COBRA KING OF KATHMANDU is another fine romp, leaving some questions lingering regarding Dybbuk and the twins' mother, which beckon the reader on to the next book in the series.

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on January 1, 2007

The Cobra King of Kathmandu: Children of the Lamp, Book 3
by P. B. Kerr

  • Publication Date: January 1, 2007
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Orchard Books
  • ISBN-10: 0439670233
  • ISBN-13: 9780439670234