The evil Charmer threatens many worlds; only a small group of companions with the "Correct Combination" of traits can stand against him. Amanda, 12, has always been saddled with a vivid imagination, but that doesn't prepare her for being snatched through an ancient snake-charmer's basket into other worlds, or for being cast into a desperate struggle With an apparently invulnerable soul-stealer. Surviving several narrow squeaks, Amanda and five new friends confront the Charmer in near-future Los Angeles, where--after a rather ritualized battle--they send him packing. The evil here is a creature who can convince whole populations that drugs and mind-control gadgets create real peace and happiness; he is defeated by Amanda's ability to imagine a universe without him. The characters making up the Correct Combination of traits are particularly appealing, especially the nonhumans; an uneasy truce between Rattus, a rat with a wry sense of humor, and proud, catlike Bastable provides comic relief amid the grave goings-on. Winning, well-wrought fantasy.