Synopses & Reviews
Presenting a thrilling voice in children's literature a witty, gripping adventure story featuring a boy and his not-so-tame djinni.
Nathaniel is a young magician's apprentice, taking his first lessons in the arts of magic. But when a devious hotshot wizard named Simon Lovelace ruthlessly humiliates Nathaniel in front of everyone he knows, Nathaniel decides to kick up his education a few notches and show Lovelace who's boss. With revenge in his mind, he masters one of the toughest spells of all: summoning the all-powerful djinni, Bartimaeus. But summoning Bartimaeus and controlling him are two different things entirely, and when Nathaniel sends the djinni out to steal the powerful Amulet of Samarkand, Nathaniel finds himself caught up in a whirlwind of magical espionage, murder, blackmail, and revolt.
Set in modern-day London spiced with magicians and mayhem, this extraordinary, funny, pitch-perfect thriller will dazzle the myriad fans of Artemis Fowl and the His Dark Materials trilogy.
"A seemingly omniscient narrator begins this darkly tantalizing tale set in modern-day London, ushering readers into a room where the temperature plunges, ice forms on the curtains and ceiling, and the scent of brimstone fills the air. Suddenly, the voice reveals itself as the djinn Bartimaeus, appearing in front of Nathaniel, the 10-year-old magician who has summoned him ('Hey, it was his first time. I wanted to scare him,' Bartimaeus explains). The djinn thinks of himself as rather omniscient, having been present for some major historical moments (as he explains in various footnotes, he gave an anklet to Nefertiti and offered tips to legendary architects 'Not that my advice was always taken: check out the Leaning Tower of Pisa'). Debut novelist Stroud plunges readers into a quickly thickening plot: Nathaniel commands Bartimaeus to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from Simon Lovelace, a task that the djinn completes with some ease. Other factors quickly become more interesting: the motive for the boy's charge, how Simon came by the Amulet and the fallout from the theft. What these reveal about the characters of Simon and Nathaniel makes for engrossing reading. Stroud also introduces the fascinating workings of the 'seven planes' (magicians can see three of them only with special spectacles), the pecking order of magical beings, and the requirements of various spells and enchantments plus the intrigue behind a group of commoners mounting a Resistance (this loose end, presumably, will be explored in the remainder of the planned Bartimaeus trilogy). The author plants enough seeds that readers will eagerly anticipate the next two volumes. Ages 10-up. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Stroud creates a convincingly detailed secondary world with echoes of actual history and folklore....One of the liveliest and most inventive fantasies of recent years." Booklist (Starred Review)
"[A] thrilling adventure....Many chapters end in suspense, suddenly switching narrators at key moments to create a real page-turner." Kirkus Reviews
"Stroud has woven an intricate fantasy set in an alternative London....There is plenty of action, mystery, and humor to keep readers turning the pages....[A] must for fantasy fans, and in particular for those anxious for the next Harry Potter." School Library Journal
"[A] long, involved, original, and exciting fantasy....This is refreshing because it is nothing like Harry Potter....After page 250 or so I couldn't put it down and read straight through to the end at just under 500." Beth Guldseth, Children's Literature
"For me, The Amulet of Samarkand seemed too cluttered, too tricked-up, the better to keep short attention spans attentive. But for those who are hooked on [Harry] Potter, another world...awaits." Dallas Morning News
"[T]his first installment of the Bartimaeus series promises interesting developments and deeper, richer storylines in future novels." Denver Post
"The story...is fast-paced and funny....Loose ends are deliberately left untied, as this is the first book in a trilogy, a happy prospect for readers of this delightful tale." KLIATT
Set in modern-day London, this first book in a gripping new trilogy introduces young magician's apprentice Nathaniel. Humiliated by a hotshot wizard, Nathaniel summons the not-so-tame djinni, Bartimaeus, and sends him to steal the Amulet of Samarkand.
Nathaniel is a magician's apprentice, taking his first lessons in the arts of magic. But when a devious hot-shot wizard named Simon Lovelace ruthlessly humiliates Nathaniel in front of his elders, Nathaniel decides to kick up his education a few notches and show Lovelace who's boss. With revenge on his mind, he summons the powerful djinni, Bartimaeus. But summoning Bartimaeus and controlling him are two different things entirely, and when Nathaniel sends the djinni out to steal Lovelace's greatest treasure, the Amulet of Samarkand, he finds himself caught up in a whirlwind of magical espionage, murder, and rebellion.
Galen and his apprentice, Raffi, are searching for the ancient relics with the power to save their city, Anara. First they hear of Flian’s Coronet, which might be the only way to defeat the encroaching evil—but the Coronet has not been seen for centuries, and they must enlist some dangerous allies to find it. And then, when Raffi knows he is being hunted, he must face his deepest fears in the deepest, darkest part of Anara, the Pits of Maar—and there, evil is unmasked, loyalty is tested, and the greatest secret in all of the city is revealed.
“Anyone who has kept up with the story will be on tenterhooks.”—Kirkus Reviews on The Hidden Coronet
About the Author
Jonathan Stroud is a former publishing executive who has published several children's books in England. He lives in London.