A 12-year-old Irish crime lord takes on the realm of Faerie to recoup his family fortune in this madcap leap aboard the Pottermania bandwagon. Having done his homework, thanks to a fairy manual extorted from an alcoholic sprite in Ho Chi Minh City, young Fowl and his omnicompetent butler, Butler, not only seize the equally aptly named Holly Short, feisty member of LEPrecon (an elite unit of the Lower Elements Police) for ransom, but are well prepared when her pointy-eared compatriots rush to the rescue with a combination of old magic and futuristic high technology. In the ensuing battle, fought as much with wits as weapons, Fowl proves himself a brilliant strategist, if not quite as dastardly or self-confident as he’d like to be, and thanks to what amounts to a magical technicality, he comes out of the dustup alive, with a half-ton of fairy gold, and even a wish (which he puts to good use). Though the violence occasionally turns brutal, Fowl and Short make splendid, well-matched rivals, supported by an inspired cast that includes huge rogue trolls, malicious goblins, an irreverent techie satyr, and kleptomaniac dwarf Mulch Diggins—all of whom are likely to reappear in sequels that are even now underway. Readers familiar with Sherlock Holmes, as well as an array of modern fantasists from Roald Dahl on, will find plenty of homage paid in this savagely funny page-turner.