The Hand of the Necromancer
When Professor Childermass lends a bizarre collection of artifacts to the Gudge Museum, he secures a summer job for Johnny Dixon in exchange. Soon afterward the very strange Mattheus Mergal appears at the museum insisting that Johnny show him the objects, which were made by the evil wizard Esdrias Blackleach. Mergal is determined to steal the most powerful object of all: the wooden hand made by Blackleach just before his death. If Mergal posesses this frightful relic, nothing -- and no one -- can stop him from terrorizing the world. And as Johnny and the professor race to halt the demon, the wooden hand's force becomes ever stronger....
"Strickland's first original story using Bellairs' characters, and he does an excellent job of recreating Bellairs' style." - Roanoke Times
About the Book
This is the tenth book in the Johnny Dixon series. It is the first book written entirely by Brad Strickland.
Before his death, Bellairs had discussed adding a girl to the Dixon series; this is the first book to feature Sarah Channing.
Strickland reflected years after the book was published that he was not satisfied with the title. "I think Necromancer is too much of a mouthful now. If I had the chance of doing it again, I might call it something like The Museum, the Hand, and the Wizard or some such."
One famous writer (John Greenleaf Whittier) avoids another (Sophonsoba Peabody) in 19th Century Duston Heights.
A half-eaten lunch and no sign of the professor reminds Sarah of the ghost ship Mary Celeste.
Johnny and Sarah take in the sites of Duston Heights - including the park mear Round Pond.
Johnny learns that Duston Heights had an outbreak of witchcraft hysteria similar to the Salem witch trials.
"Want to explore?" asked Sarah. She put her foot on the threshold.
Johnny grabbed her arm. "No! There's something wrong about this --"
Sarah screamed. Johnny's jaw fell open as he stared into the darkness. From the deep gloom someone was coming toward them -- someone or something. It was as tall as a man, but it moved with a shambling loose step, as if it were about to fall apart.
And then it stumbled close enough for the light from the open door to fall on it.
It was a walking skeleton, dressed in the flaking scraps of a Pilgrim suit, with a tall, conical hat atop its pale, grinning skull. Ancient dried shreds of moldy green flesh stuck to its cheeks, and cobwebs busy with spiders filled its eye sockets. The long, tattered coat that it wore hung open, and inside the skeleton's rib cage gray shapes moved, huge, red-eyed rats that gnawed the bones with their yellow teeth. The skeleton thrust its arms out as if it were blind in the light, and Johnny saw that its left hand was missing. The shape lurched forward, its jaws gaping, a hollow groan coming from its bony mouth --