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.
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Author Jonathan Stroud delivers such a potent and unforgettable mix of magic, history and intrigue with The Amulet of Samarkand, the first part of his compelling Bartimaeus Trilogy, that it is difficult not to want to read the next novel immediately. Undoubtedly the shortest 480 pages you'll ever read, The Amulet of Samarkand is a superb novel of revenge and adventure with the most original central character for years.
Bartimaeus is a wisecracking Djinni (pronounced "Jinnee" we're reliably informed) unlike no other. Summoned from some otherworldly place to do the bidding of a pipsqueak trainee magician called Nathanial, he sets about his given task reluctantly but with aplomb. Nathanial is after revenge and that makes him dangerous. Previously humiliated by a powerful magician called Simon Lovelace in front of his impotent master, Nathanial has spent every waking hour for years cramming knowledge of the highest magic into his head so that he can exact his own special kind of vengeance.
Bartimaeus is charged to steal a precious and powerful object--the Amulet of Samarkand--from Lovelace's residence, which the Djinni achieves but not without angering a few old mates on the same astral plane and having to spend the night annoyingly disguised as a bird. Bartimaeus, despite being bound to Nathaniel, discovers the boy's real name--a tool he can use to his own advantage. But he is constantly outwitted. Then an overriding danger becomes apparent that threatens the whole fabric of society and they must work together to combat it.
Stroud's fantasy world is familiar, yet fascinatingly different. It's almost Victorian London, yet Magicians hold overall power and inhabit parliament. The writing is captivating, the story intelligent and mesmerising. It's difficult to imagine a more scintillating collection of characters and situations. Unmissable. (Recommended for ages 10 and over.) --John McLayReview:
"Drama, humour and hypnotically engaging storytelling" (Independent)
"The truly original touch is the way Stroud alternates Nathaniel's story with the djinni's own knowing and irascible first-person narrative" (Guardian)
"The narrative slips skilfully from first person to third and back and Bartimaeus's voice is laugh-out-loud sassy, while Nathaniel's story has an engaging poignancy as he tries to prove himself in a world in which he has always been despised" (The Sunday Times)
"Not since Gulliver's Travels has a children's writer managed to combine a thrilling tale of magic and adventure with such deliciously pointed comedy" (The Times)
"Terrific stuff" (Mail on Sunday)
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Book Description Doubleday, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First (1st) Edition. SIGNED by Jonathan Stroud NUMBERED COLLECTOR'S EDITION 888/1500 . Front/Back: New . Spine: New . Printing: n/a . NOT price-clipped . Year: 2004. Signed by Jonathan Stroud. Bookseller Inventory # 234
Book Description Doubleday, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First (1st) Edition. SIGNED by Jonathan Stroud NUMBERED COLLECTOR'S EDITION 888/1500 . Front/Back: New . Spine: New . Printing: n/a . NOT price-clipped . Year: 2004. Signed by Jonathan Stroud. Bookseller Inventory # 188