Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Revenge of the Wizard's Ghost by John Bellairs

The Revenge of the Wizard's Ghost by John Bellairs with artwork by Edward Gorey
Somehow I got the Johnny Dixon books out of order, so I read The Eyes of the Killer Robot before the next book in the series, which was The Revenge of the Wizard's Ghost. This book picks up shortly after the The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull. Warren Windrow, the evil sorcerer who was trying to kill Professor Childermass, comes back as a ghost who possesses Johnny Dixon. The ghost threatens to kill Johnny to get back at them all for thwarting his efforts in the previous book. So it is up to Professor Childermass and Fergie to exorcise the evil spirit from Johnny. Professor Coote, a friend of Professor Childermass who specializes in magic and folklore, does some research on the Windrow family, and figures out that they must have had the Urim and Thummim, which are highly religious objects from ancient Jewish history. Professor Coote believes that the objects are hidden away in a tomb for Ensign French, who married into the Windrow family, and the tomb is at the old Windrow estate.

This book is shorter than the others and a very quick read. Johnny Dixon really doesn't feature in the book, other than as a possessed body lying in the hospital at the brink of death. Fergie, after all the evil and magical things that have happened to him, is a skeptic, and just thinks that there is nothing mysterious or evil going on. Both Johnny's grandparents and Fergie's parents seem cool with their children hanging out with a nutty old professor, and Fergie's parents let him go on an weekend excursion up the Hudson River with the Professor. Of course, there are lots of chills, and the evil spirit of Warren Windrow is exorcised. As with the other books, Edward Gorey did the cover art, which you can see here. Gorey's art does a great job of capturing the spirit of the story. So far, although this book has some weak spots, I found it the most enjoyable of the Johnny Dixons that I have read.

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