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The Five Fakirs of Faizabad: Children of the Lamp, Book 6


The Five Fakirs of Faizabad: Children of the Lamp, Book 6

The time has come when you must observe a tradition in the Marid tribe that we call taranushi.…each of you will go somewhere of your own choosing and find someone you consider to be deserving of three wishes.

Twins John and Philippa Gaunt have now turned 14 and are still considered novice djinn.  Nimrod has carefully explained and laid out a plan for their taranushi initiation. They need to keep their journey a secret so that no one will block their efforts. Also, they must take care in choosing a deserving person for the wishes and are cautioned to consider the ramifications of granting wishes; they can’t be thoughtlessly given to someone who might misuse them. As Nimrod wisely points out, the mundanes (humans) can be unpredictable and greedy. If the adjudicators (panel of judges) decide that the wishes are not justified, the young djinns can have their powers taken away for a year. This is all very serious business.

John decides to accompany their faithful butler, Mr. Groanin, on his holiday to Bumby (much to the butler’s disapproval). Bumby, known as the unluckiest town around, is exactly that: Bumby was a grim, inhospitable place…. now only famous as being the place where Count Dracula had stopped, very briefly, before continuing his voyage to the nearby town of Whitby

If something bad was going to happen to or in a town, it was sure to happen in Bumby. Things that occurred there were often strange and bizarre, from computer viruses to invasions of stinkbugs. Yes, something was definitely amiss in Bumby. So it was looking like John would have some serious challenges here, and he was more than ready.

For the time being Philippa ends up in Italy, enjoying Pompeii’s charms as she carefully observes the climate of its people. Mainly she is anxious to meet the unluckiest man in the world, Silvio Prezzolini. In fact, his reputation is so well known that he is being studied by a team of Princeton University scientists to see if the effects of these unlucky events can be measured. She feels that it is perfectly possible that someone as unlucky as Silvio might also be the unhappiest man in the world, and therefore a good candidate for three wishes. She is totally shocked, however, when she discovers that he considers himself to be one of the luckiest men in the world and that he is content with his life. As far as the three wishes go, he responds:

To grant all a man’s wishes is to take away his dreams and his ambitions. Life is only worth living if you have something to strive for.

Is it possible that Philippa’s work is finished here? Of course it’s not, and unsuspecting, she heads back to London to let her uncle know of her latest adventure.

Bumby is proving even more interesting to John, especially when he meets an invisible ape who calls himself Zagreus. Zagreus is actually a jinx (someone who does not make a proper reincarnation and can cause great havoc around them) and remembers little about how he became what he is now. John decides to take him back to see his Uncle Nimrod, who perhaps will be able to break the spell. 

When John and Philippa arrive in London, there are even more surprises awaiting. The misfortunes Bumby has been suffering are spreading rapidly around the world. In fact, so much is happening that Britain’s secret intelligence service has been called in (SIS for short) and the KGB (King’s Gambling Board), headed by Lady Silvia Stone (Moo), who is beginning to investigate all the bad luck. Naturally she is consulting Nimrod, as he is one of the self-appointed guardians of luck in the universe. It is through her that he discovers the balance of luck in the world (measured by the homeostasis) is definitely askew. With the world’s luck in shaky balance, they all begin one of the most unusual and frightening journeys they’ve ever experienced --- not knowing that Groanin’s life would be at risk and that they would encounter some of the greatest evil and the greatest good in one fell swoop.

Many new and fun characters take part in the exciting adventure that takes Nimrod, Groanin, Philippa and John around the world. Riding magic carpets, dealing with golems, Fakirs and evil djinns, not to mention discovering that Rakshasas’s spirit has taken another form, the little party risks life and limb. They end up in a holy, magical place known as Shamba-la, where they make one of the most amazing discoveries of all. It is there that they begin to say goodbye to some of their closest allies.

Fans of the Children of the Lamp books will love the twists and turns of this multi-layered story as Philippa and John discover what real djinns can do. Settle back for one of the best installments in P.B. Kerr’s exciting series.

Reviewed by Sally Tibbetts on October 1, 2011

The Five Fakirs of Faizabad: Children of the Lamp, Book 6
by P. B. Kerr

  • Publication Date: October 1, 2011
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0545126592
  • ISBN-13: 9780545126595