Books: A Case Of Fowl Play

A less magical book tries to horn in on Harry Potter

Publishing abhors a vacuum, and 2001 has been unfolding around a doozy of emptiness. Here is a vast new worldwide audience of readers galvanized by J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels, and no new Harry Potter installment will appear this year to slake the pent-up cravings of the boy wizard's devotees. Millions of people bereft! What's worse, many more millions of dollars unspent at bookstores!

That background explains why the publishing world has whipped itself into a fine froth of hype and hoopla over a rather creepy 12-year-old fictional hero named, as is the novel he stars in, Artemis Fowl. British rights...

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