|The Lives of Christopher Chant|
|Author||Diana Wynne Jones|
|UK Release Date||1988|
|US Release Date|
|Preceded by||Charmed Life|
|Followed by||The Magicians of Caprona|
Christopher Chant comes from a family rich in magic, but he's never been able to work any. Then he starts dying -- multiple times.
The most interesting fact about this book is that it was published 11 years after its sequel, Charmed Life. The two books are so cleverly intertwined that it leaves no sense that they were not written together -- story elements that are critical to one book are explained or given more substance in the other, and characters who appear in both are true to their personalities as presented in the other book.
This book tells the story of Christopher Chant before he becomes the new Chrestomanci. His origins are very Victorian -- his father wears a frock coat, a tall silk hat, and luxuriant black whiskers, with his black hair parted carefully in the middle. His mother wears wide silk skirts, full of frills and draperies, and her hair is very elaborately styled. However, Christopher himself is left to the care of a long succession of nurserymaids, each of whom leaves in a huff after a very short time in the household.
An only child, Christopher therefore has no one to tell his troubles or triumphs to. His parents are so absorbed in their prickly relationship that they have no time for him, and the nurserymaids have no patience. As a result, when Christopher starts having very interesting dreams, in which he gets out of his bed, walks around a corner near the fireplace, and into an endlessly fascinating landscape full of exotic places and people, he has no one to tell about it.