The Conference of the Birds is the fifth book in the Peculiar Children series by Ransom Riggs. It was released on January 14th, 2020.

Synopsis

A FRAGILE PEACE.

AN APOCALYPTIC WARNING.

CHAOS WAITING IN THE HEART OF THE STORM.

With his dying words H-Jacob's last connection to his grandfather Abe's secret life- entrusts Jacob with a mission: Deliver newly contacted peculiar Noor Pradesh to an operative known only as  V. Noor is being hunted. She is subject to an ancient prophecy, one that foretells a looming apocalypse. Save Noor- Save the future of all peculiars. With only a few bewildering clues to follow, Jacob must figure out how to how to find V, the most energetic, and most powerful, of Abe's former associates. But V is in hiding and she never, ever, wants to be found. Time is running out. And even as Jacob and his friends are working feverishly to descipher the prophecy and it's warning...

When the prisons are blown to dust/ And chaos reigns

And beginning...

And the betrayers summon their king/The old  ones from their sleep are torn 

And come true.

An age of strife will soon be born

With enemies behind him and the unknown ahead, Jacob Portman's story continues as he takes a brave leap forward in The Conference of the Birds, the newest installment of the beloved, #1 bestselling Miss Peregrine's Pecular Children series.

Plot

Main Story

As Leo’s men search an alleyway covered in tanks of water and crabs for Jacob and Noor, the later of who is hiding them in darkness, he wonders to tells her about the Prophecy or not. He starts to tell her but Leo’s men get close and he stops. They reveal they found Horatio dead and then leave but one man, Bowers, stays behind. Noor blinds Bowers and Jacob tries and fails to wrestle his gun away. Bowers fires two shows that causes the tank to break, which triggers a chain reaction and hundreds of gallons of water and glass crush Bowers. The two run and meet up with Bronwyn Bruntley and Hugh Apiston, who reveal that Emma deduced that he would go after Noor and they had Addison MacHenry track him down. They run to a subway station and lose Le’s guards multiple times. On the train ride, he starts to tell her about the prophecy, but wants to tell her alone. They make their way to an abandoned hospital, which has an entrance to the Panloopticon, and run into Dogface, who charges them a fee to use the entrance, and the untouchables, peculiars who cannot pass as normal and are rejected by the clans, who take them to the morgue, the entrance, just as Leo’s men track them down. Noor is reluctant to get in a freezer, but Jacob convinces her to do so and they leave just as Leo’s men find them.

They reach the Panloopticon and hurry out, but they run into Sharon, who informs Jacob he missed the meeting before going about his duties. They exit the facility and run into Javier, a peculiar with long legs putting on a play of how Jacob saved Peculiardom. They pass streets and make their way to the new home for Miss Peregrine’s wards and his friends bombard him with hugs and asks where he was. Soon Miss Peregrine arrives and asks to speak with Jacob in private. He tells her about H and then Noor comes in asking him about the prophecy and he tells the two, they invite Horace inside and ask him what he knows, but nothing comes to mind. When they mention V, Emma Bloom reveals she and the others have been listening in and Miss Peregrine invites them in. Jacob says they were told to find V in the heart surrounded by wind. They examine a map they took with them but find no indication of where it is. Miss Peregrine has Millard Nullings take the map to Miss Avocet for a possible answer to V’s location.

As they sit down to dinner they talk about the current affairs of peculiardom, Miss Peregrine explains that the talks between the ymbrynes and the American clan leaders is called the Conference of the Birds and that it is of little priority compared to rebuilding their society. They eventually bring up the prophecy and the Organization and Miss Peregrine explains that it is not a group of normals hunting peculiars due to them spending centuries in loops, as it could be Wights who hired human mercenaries or hypnotized them somehow. She mentions Percival Murnau, Caul’s second in command who was captured in the downfall and that the other wights are afraid of him. After the meal they go to bed and Miss Peregrine tells everyone she is going early to the conference. Jacob dreams of the night his grandfather died and sees a hollow coming at him saying “He is coming.” He and the others wake up to an explosion and are told through a loudspeaker to stay put. Millard sneaks out and comes back with news of four wights killing their guard and escaping through a hole they dug. They then took the Rogue Hollow powering the Panloopticon out and escaped into a loop before the reserve power could go out and setting off a bomb to stop them from being followed. Seconds later a young man named Ulysses Critchley, a peculiar who has a lesser hold of gravity, asking Jacob to meet with Miss Bkackbird, Millard, Enoch, Bronwyn and Noor decide to join him.

Ulysses takes them to the Panloopitcon to speak with Miss Blackbird but are interrupted by Sharon who takes them to the basement where the hollow powering the loops was stolen and Jacob sees the blood. Soon Miss Blackbird arrives and reveals she wants Jacob to find a new hollow to power the loop entrances and the others are shocked at this but she drags him away to the scene of the attack and reveals she does not want him to find another hollow, but use his abilities to track the one the wights took with them and he agrees. As they exit they are bombarded with reporters until Sharron scares them away. Jacobs friends meet up with him and Millard goes to speak with Perplexus Anomalous. Jacob and Noor are bombarded with mud thrown by Itch and are sent to a house in the modern day due to the mud having flesh eating bacteria in it. After they clean up Jacob is surprised by how beautiful Noor is before Hugh and Emma come to tell them they found something. They meet up with Miss Avocet and she has one of her student ymbrynes Francesca read what they have of the prophecy and she reveals Noor was brought to them as a baby with her powers active from Bombay after her parents were killed and given an experiment to seal away her powers until she became a teenager. After showing her a picture of V (Velyana) and Noor reveals she raised her until the age of six when her was killed, but it is revealed that it was a wight attack and that she lived but put her in foster care to hide her and that a man named Gandy would check in on her from time to time and that her memory was party erased. They call in Reggie Breedlove , who can retrieve lost memories, to help her out. She describes a river and plants they believe are native to the eastern United States.

They meet up with Olive, Claire, and Enoch in the mapping department and search atlases on the eastern United States until Hugh, who was looking at an atlas of Ireland, storms off when he states they never put this much effort in finding Fiona Frauenfeld and Emma goes after him. They tell Noor about Fiona and that she is presumed dead, something Hugh refuses to believe. Horace then reveals he saw Fiona in a dream of his sitting on a bus with a boy in a green tunic looking scared. They ask why he didn’t share it before and he reveals he’s not sure if it was real or not. Hugh and Emma return with stew and they work until closing time and walk around. Noor lags behind think of everything she learned before Jacob catches up and they talk. She then tells him she knew he and Emma dated at one point. Then then meet a group of anti-ymbryne protesters and are meet by Sharon, who invites them to a meeting. They argue about a shift in peculiar politics regarding the ymbrynes over the past century until and explosion is heard and Sharon says something about the new battery being ready to soon. They arrive home due to curfew and Jacob tells Noor about his early days within the peculiar world before they go to bed.

Jacob is woken up by Miss Blackbird knocking to learn Miss Peregrine needs his help with the peace talks. She tells him to bring two friends with him and he chooses Emma and Enoch. He and Noor have a moment before he leaves and he kisses her head. They rush to the Panloopticon and take a loop door, an elevator in the attic, to the conference loop where Miss Peregrine informs them a girl from the Californios are accused of kidnapping Ellery, an earthmover for the Northers clan, who then took a member of the Californios as retribution and the two are on the brink of war and she believes the wights are involved. She takes the three to a saloon to meet with John Parkins, leader of the Californios, Antoine LaMothe, leader of the Northerners, and Leo Burnham, leader of the Five Burroughs. The meet up with the clan leaders and Miss Peregrine tells them Jacob can sense hollows and Leo, after calming down when realizing who Jacob is, says he believes this as a wight, actually H, used this ability to control a hollowgast when “taking” the recent contacted Noor from his base of operations. They explore the crime scene but he finds nothing, however Miss Peregrine announces a fake trail and he plays along until he finds real evidence of the hollow and a hidden passageway in and out of the loop. Parkins then demands the hostage back, but LaMothe is still holding holding on to them until Ellery is found. LaMothe shows Jacob a picture of Ellery and, due to Jacob‘s abilities, asks him to track it down and, along with Leo and Parkins, halts talks until she is found due to their beliefs that the ymbrynes did not try hard enough to keep them imprisoned.

Jacob, Emma, Enoch, and Miss Peregrine take time tunnel to the loop entrance the Americans used end end up in a Wild West theme part. Miss Peregrine reveals she saw an indentation in the grass of a glob of hollow fluid and saw a girl’s shoe print. As Jacob tracks the residue, Emma shows normals the wanted posters for the wights and finds something. They learn they boarded a bus to Cleveland and they get tickets. As they wait Miss Peregrine tells Jacob she has been getting dreams of Caul as well and reassures him that is al her brother could do. She then tells them to focus more on the wights then Ellery and she reveals they will be going without her but Hugh will be joining them, who shows up just in time. They board the bus and Hugh distributes things he brought with him, such as a map of modern loops, peculiar sheep wool sweaters, and light from Noor. When Hugh and Enoch fall asleep, Emma and Jacob talk about the call she gave Abe. She reveals that she did end it with his grandfather and he says he’s glad she said he is not Abe. They agree they can no longer pursue a romantic relationship with one another but agree to remain friends in a calmer tone this time. When the bus stops somewhere in Iowa they search station and find nothing. Later on they wake up in a traffic jam and see the wreckage of a bus, the bus the wights took. They get off and search the woods, finding Ellery dying of her injuries. She tells them that a girl who the wights forced to kidnap her crashed the bus by wrapping the tires in ropes. Hugh then runs to get help and when the paramedics arrive, she started to age forward and soon LaMothe and a few ymbrynes, Miss Peregrine among them. arrive in a helicopter and give her something to slow her aging, but doubt it could save her. They then go to the crash sight and see Hugh holding the rope around the tires, which was really a vine covered in dog rose, the same Fiona grew all the time intentionally or not, and they realize she is alive and agree to find her.

As the ymbrynes work to stop Ellery from aging, Hugh is calmed by Emma and Enoch as Jacob hears a voice telling him a new word is coming and refers to lines in the prophecy. He then heads over to an ambulance where a deadman with a crushed face tells him more of the same thing. He jumps out into Enoch who tells him they are leaving. As they fly away Hugh expresses fear that Fiona has aged forward and they need to find her. Miss Peregrine assures him she is safe for the moment as, due to her still being alive, the wights need her. They land at the nearest loop, Locust City, and go in. The guard Karl does not recognize them at first but LaMonthe sets him straight and they rush to get help. Jacob, Hugh, Emma and Enoch wait outside and meet a talkative young girl named Elsie, who takes them to a shivering blue boy named Ted. As Emma warm him up, he explains that he kept a sparkstone in his stomach to warm him that a real ymbryne gave to him. He says that six months ago a visiting doctor asked him to cough it up so he can improve the stone, but then he did he was pinned to the wall by an invisible force and the doctor stole the stone. Jacob finds follow residue on the floor and they realize the wights where their. Miss Peregrine arrives and tells them they are leaving.

They leave Ellery in Locust City as they fly back to Marrowbone. When LaMonthe is asleep, Jacob asks Miss Peregrine if she knew Fiona was with the wights the entire time, which she confirms and believes the girl is being mind controlled at best. Hugh becomes distraught and Miss Peregrine promises they will find her. When they return LaMonthe thanks the others for their survive and they head back to the Devil's Acre. When they return they are met with cheers and congratulations from their friends, the ymbrynes, and other peculiars. When Noor rushes up to him the two kiss before Horace interrupts to tell them about their discovery, that the sign Noor say is for a franchise only in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and that they know more about the prophecy. They have fish and potato stew at the restaurant and talk about a theory they have about the wights working to resurrect Caul. Horace reveals he had a dream about Caul as do Jacob and Miss Peregrine. Soon Millard arrives and takes them to a hidden office belonging to Myron Bentham, who found a way to resurrect someone from Loop Collapse but lied to Caul about it. They find Nim, who reveals the wights took the formula but he has a copy. He gives it the Miss Peregrine who reads it allowed and faints. When she calms down she reads the six ingredients. One- The castings of an uberworm, such as the worm the wights took from Ellery. Two- Tongue of the seedsprout, freshly harvested (a peculiar who can control plants, such as Fiona). Three- An indestructible flame, such as the spark stone stolen from Ted. Four- Death beetles from the underground hittites, that Nim reveals the wights took with them. Five-The Alphaskull of the well of hope (powdered, five to ten milligrams), none of them know what it is or if the wights have it. Six- Beating heart of the mother of birds, Miss Peregrine believes this refers to Miss Avocet, the eldest of the ymbrynes, but the others feel they well come after her due to being both an ymbryne and Caul’s sister. Miss Peregrine becomes distraught at though but her wards reassure her they will protect her.

The children search through books to find anything on the well of hope or the Alphaskull and come up empty handed. Jacob tries to head back to Marrowbone to see if the Americans know anything about it, but finds it blocked off by orders of the ymbrynes. As they head home. After Olive and Claire go to bed. When the two girls are out of earshot the others agree to sneak into Marrowbone. As they head to the Panloopticon, Horace rememberers a dream he had of Caul by a hill close to the sky with lamps nearby. He also saw graves somewhere in America with the word “new” by it. Just then Miss Peregrine and a group of ymbrynes arrive and, after a short argument, they head back to the house. The ymbrynes reveal they found out about a loop of deadrisers in a town in upper New York State called Hopewell. They also reveal a task force consisting of themselves, a few ymbrynes, some grimbears, and volunteers from the home guard. They set out in the morning and Jacob pulls Noor aside to ask if she wants to sit it out, but she reveals she is putting her quest for V on hold while the operation is underway and that she is one of them.

As they drive to Hopewell in SUVs the Americans lent them, they debate if Caul planned to be trapped in a collapsed loop to gain more power or if he just had it as a precaution. When they arrive in Hopewell they find the town beyond ruins and find the loop entrance in a park. Jacob and Noor enter first but it is sealed off before the others can join them. They arrive in a bright warm summer day and find the town, now intact, still abandoned. They hear voices coming from an unlocked house and find a television. They then find a girl in a bed but she is unresponsive. Soon a boy arrives and asks who they are. They tell him and they are held at knife point by the girl in the bed and brought out the a crowd of cleaver wielding residents who take them to their leader, an eigh year old boy named Josep. He gives them lemonade and explains that all the adults in the loop are normals who died in their sleep when an accident occurred at the nearby chemical plant and most of the children were away at camp, and they turned the town into a school of sorts for deadrisers. As they talk about the wights, Josep explains they arrived a few days ago and are searching the nearby ancient burial mound for the bones of a particular peculiar. He then explains they brought two Hollowgasts with them, they have one guarding them and the other patrolling the town. Josep, after the arrival of two deadrisers- Eugenia and Lyle, allows to let the others in if they can stop the hollow patrolling the streets. After they agree they wait in a car and wait to spring a trap they set with the deadrisers. When the hollow arrives, the biggest Jacob has ever seen, he signals the deadrisers and they have the dead attack the hollow and Jacob drives over it, snaring it under the car and dragging it under him. As the hollow tries to breaks it’s semi-mangaled free they get out of the car just in time and Jacob tries to tame it to no success as it picks him up. Noor covers the street in darkness and has the hollow find her in the form of a moleless wack-a-mole. Jacob still tries to no success and the hollow picks up the girl in the bed, who stabs one of its eyes before it kills her. Jacob finally tames it and has it put him down. Noor dissolves the darkness and they embrace. Josep shows up and congratulates them and reveals he let the others in just as they should his name.

The others explain they tried for an hour to open the loop entrance until it unlocked itself. They make battle plans and Miss Peregrine reluctantly agrees to sit it out but insists to be part of the back up. They ready themselves with Noor storing light, Enoch reanimated the dead, Jacob takes the hollow, and Hugh taking in bees. Josep shows them up the hill and they climb the grave mound and split into two groups. Jacob, Noor, Bronwyn, and Hugh go to the right while Emma, Enoch, Horace, and Claire go to the left with Millard acting as messenger between both groups. Things so smoothly until Jacob hears gunshots fired and Millard says the others are distracting them and Jacob sends the hollow to take out the wights. They notice Hugh is gone and they find him with Fiona, who is being controlled by an Ambrosia-addict. Fiona binds them as Murnau arrives with the skull and attempts to kill them. However Miss Peregrine flies over and attacks Murnau just as the two hollows fight and Jacob’s current hollow is killed and the survivong hollow grabs Miss Peregrine. Noor attacks the addict and Fiona loses her grip. But another wight gives him ambrosia and she goes back to crushing them. However Jacob frees himself and takes control of the surviving hollow, having it release Miss Peregrine and kill the addict and a wight. As the wights escape their back up arrives, consisting of Northerneras, Californios, reanimated corpses, grimbears, and other peculiars, they kill or capture six wights but Murnau escapes. The others check on Fiona and find her covered brushes from the bus crash and her tongue cut out., giving Murnau five of the six ingredients for the resurrection ritual.

They take Fiona back to the Devil's Acre and Rafael tends to her and the others speak to her to try and cheer her up. Jacob and Noor pass some of the captur wights and Noor recognizes them as the vice principals of her school, the ymbrynes confirm that they hid in America for years and made the hollow hunters think they were a group of normals out hunting peculiars. As they eat lunch and cont their search for V, they rule out Ohio and Jacob and Noor head to Noor’s foster family to get her things, on the way they talk about their future in both the normal and peculiar words. When they arrive Noor’s foster sister Amber is their alone and she says her things are in the closet and that she took over there room. As they get her things they find a postcard from V sent from Waynok, Pennsylvania and they decide to go and confront V. They find the address at a storage unit converted from a mill and get past the guard. They reach the fourth floor and find a man pushing an oven into a unit. They help him and find the loop entrance.

Jacob and Noor free fall and land in the mud. As they get up they see a house spinning above them notice two tornadoes. They run to the town for cover and Noor starts singing a song that reveals instructions to find V and survive the tornadoes. They follow an old woman into the grocery store and hide in the spice isle, which is the only part of the store that survives. They exit and follow the lyrics to the destroyed bank with money flying around and stand their until a tornado turns. They then spot a tree that is pulled out of the ground and find the street V lives on, with her house being the only one standing. V reveals she knows who they are and that she is an ymbryne who created the loop to repeat the town’s worked disasters ever half hour. She asks how they found her and Noor tells them about the post card, she reveals she never sent a postcard and then Murdau arrives revealing he sent the card to have Noor lead him to V. He shoots the ymbryne and Noor goes to tackle him but is shot as well. As Jacob charges him but is shot with a dart. Mardau handcuffs him and Noor to the porch and he states Bentham had a false ingredient in the ritual, with the heart being from the mother of storms rather then the mother of birds. Mardau then cuts out V’s heart and flies off in the wind, leaving Jacob and Noor to suffer the same fate as Caul. As Jacob goes in and out of consciousness, he sees a familiar face before blacking out one last time.

Epilogue

As a young girl sleeps, she is awakened from her nightmares by Pensevus, her doll, and walked through how to make a phone call. She calls six individuals and when an ymbryne arrives at the windowsill, she simply says “he’s back”.

Characters

Trivia

  • This is the first book in the series to have an epilogue.
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