Intertwines Real Concerns With Sorcery In A Seamless Fashion

Prowling through the church to avoid the neighborhood bully, Johnny accidentally finds a grimy, cobwebbed book that has been carved out to hold an old Egyptian figurine. Disregarding the warning, "whoever removes these things from the church does so at his own peril," he takes the book home, sure that its contents are linked to the curios legend about demented Father Baart, whose ghost supposedly haunts the church. Despite evidence that the artifact is fake, strange things begin happening, and soon Johnny fears that it does indeed hold evil powers. Before long he and his friend, Professor Childermass, are involved in a frightening, intensely dramatic confrontation, concluding in a heart-stopping climax that discloses the mystery surrounding Father Baart. Bellairs intertwines real concerns with sorcery in a seamless fashion, bringing dimension to his characters and events with expert timing and sharply honed atmosphere.

Barbara Elleman
Booklist
Vol. 79, No. 20, June 15, 1983, p. 1335.

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