The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus Series #1)

The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus Series #1)

4.5 324
by Jonathan Stroud, Simon Jones
     
 

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Nathaniel is eleven years old and a magician’s apprentice, learning the traditional arts of magic. All is well until he has a life-changing encounter with Simon Lovelace, a magician of unrivaled ruthlessness and ambition. When Lovelace brutally humiliates Nathaniel in public, Nathaniel decides to speed up his education, teaching himself spells way beyond his… See more details below

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Overview

Nathaniel is eleven years old and a magician’s apprentice, learning the traditional arts of magic. All is well until he has a life-changing encounter with Simon Lovelace, a magician of unrivaled ruthlessness and ambition. When Lovelace brutally humiliates Nathaniel in public, Nathaniel decides to speed up his education, teaching himself spells way beyond his years. With revenge on his mind, he masters one of the toughest spells of all and summons Bartimaeus, a five-thousand-year-old djinni, to assist him. 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.
Set in a modern-day London spiced with magicians and mystery, The Amulet of Samarkand is an extraordinary, edge-of-your-seat thriller with many unexpected twists. Following Bartimaeus and Nathaniel in turn, the story introduces us to two wonderfully memorable characters–destined to go through many adventures together and bound by a spell that is nearly impossible to break.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a starred review, PW called this novel narrated by an ancient djinn, Bartimaeus, bonded to a 10-year-old magician in modern-day London a "darkly tantalizing tale. Readers will eagerly anticipate the next two volumes." Ages 10-up. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Here is a long, involved, original, and exciting fantasy. England is in the power of magicians who hold all government offices. Young Nathaniel is apprenticed to a mediocre bureaucrat who does not see the boy's exceptional talents. When Nathaniel is humiliated by a most powerful and evil magician, he sets out on his own to extract revenge. This is refreshing because it is nothing like Harry Potter, and the author even manages a little dig in that direction: "Well, unless age-old practices were now being dropped and apprentices were being bused off to boarding school (hardly likely)...." Told from two points of view, the djinni Bartimeus's and the author's, the story is not hard to follow. After page 250 or so I couldn't put it down and read straight through to the end at just under 500. 2003, Miramax/Hyperion, Ages 10 to 14.
— Beth Guldseth
KLIATT
Eleven-year-old Nathaniel has been the apprentice of magician Arthur Underwood since he was five, but he is largely self-taught. His pompous and stuffy master constantly underestimates Nathaniel's ability and fails to defend him from humiliation at the hands of fellow magician Simon Lovelace. Nathaniel plots his revenge carefully, summoning a demon called Bartimaeus to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from Lovelace and subsequently humiliate him. But Nathaniel and Bartimaeus get far more than they bargained for as they uncover a plot to overthrow the government and run into a group of "commoner" children who can detect and are stealing magical objects. The story, told alternately in first person by Bartimaeus and from Nathaniel's point of view in third person, is fast-paced and funny, although at times it takes a serious tone. Nathaniel grows from a whiny, petulant and self-involved boy to a character with strength and courage, retaining enough of his former attitude to maintain credibility. Bartimaeus, a demon with an extraordinarily high opinion of himself, tries to maintain that his service is entirely enforced by the summons, but by the end of the book, the reader knows better. Loose ends are deliberately left untied, as this is the first book in a trilogy, a happy prospect for readers of this delightful tale. (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book One). KLIATT Codes: JSA*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2003, Hyperion, 452p., Ages 12 to adult.
—Donna Scanlon
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Nathaniel has been apprenticed to Mr. Underwood for several years. At the age of 12, he has finally been Named and is on his way to becoming a real magician. Suddenly, London is in an uproar. The Amulet of Samarkand has been stolen from the powerful magician Simon Lovelace. Only Nathaniel knows what really happened because it was he who commanded the 5000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus to steal it for him. Now, with a rebellious demon under his control and all of London searching for the thief, he must figure out a way to keep the amulet hidden. Stroud has woven an intricate fantasy set in an alternative London where the most influential members of society, and even the Prime Minister himself, are magicians. The richly rewarding story unfolds in chapters that alternate between Bartimaeus's first-person narration, which includes arcane and very funny footnotes, and Nathaniel's account, told in third person. There is plenty of action, mystery, and humor to keep readers turning the pages. This title, the first in a trilogy, is a must for fantasy fans, and in particular for those anxious for the next Harry Potter.-Ginny Collier, Dekalb County Public Library, Chamblee, GA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In a contemporary London full of magic, a thrilling adventure unfolds. Twelve-year-old Nathaniel is apprenticed to a politician (which means magician), but early emotional pain leads him toward hardness and anger. Arrogantly summoning a djinni to help him steal an amulet from slickly evil Simon Lovelace, he's swept into a swirl of events involving conspiracy at the highest government level. Nathaniel's perspective alternates with that of Bartimaeus, the cocky, sardonic djinni. No character is wholly likable or trustworthy, which contributes to the intrigue. Many chapters end in suspense, suddenly switching narrators at key moments to create a real page-turner. Readers will hope that Stroud follows up on certain questions-is it slavery to use a djinni? will shaky looming international politics affect the empire? who deserves our alliance? and who are the mysterious children ostensibly running an underground resistance?-in the next installment, sure to be eagerly awaited. (Fantasy. 10-14)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807219539
Publisher:
Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/14/2003
Series:
Bartimaeus Series, #1
Edition description:
Unabridged, 8 Cassettes, 13 hrs. 30 min.
Pages:
79
Product dimensions:
4.13(w) x 6.12(h) x 2.75(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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