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The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus Series #1)

The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus Series #1)

4.5 322
by Jonathan Stroud, Simon Jones (Read by)

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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


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.

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
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)

Product Details

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

Meet the Author

Jonathan Stroud (www.jonathanstroud.com) is the author of four previous books in the Lockwood & Co. series as well as the New York Times best-selling Bartimaeus books, and the stand-alone titles Heroes of the Valley, The Leap, The Last Siege, and Buried Fire. He lives in England with his wife and three children.

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The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus Series #1) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 322 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is an amazing book. It is very original and is one of the best books I've read in forever. It isn't one of those stupid superficial books. It has depth and wonderful characters. My favorite character is Bartimaeus. I love his side commentary. He always gets me laughing. My favorite quote is, "One magician demanded I show him an image of the love of his life. I rustled up a mirror"
The_Old_Spoke More than 1 year ago
Liked Potter? Me, too, but I like Bartimaeus and it is completely different. Once again an author manages to show me a world I've never imagined, but that under author Jonathon Stroud's guidance becomes familiar and enduring. I was reluctant at first as it is pitched as a kid's book, but this Oh-so-not-a-kid found it absorbing and rewarding for the characters and ideas that came alive on the page.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you enjoyed being part of a secret magical world with Harry Potter, you'll love the plot twists and turns of the Amulet of Samarkand. The footnotes are some of the funniest lines in this book, so don't forget to read those (at least once in a while). The story takes you on a journey with a young boy who is apprenticed to a magician in London. As this child becomes a young man, the reader learns about different magical creatures, conjuring spells, and other basic rules of "magician-hood" that set the stage for this story. The writing and language are mature, but certainly straight-forward enough to understand for a mature 11-15 year old. There are definitely surprises in the action and up until the last page, I was unsure of the young boy's fate. It is story-telling like this, that makes this book worth reading and that will impel me to pick-up the 2nd book in the series.
henryj55 More than 1 year ago
masterful work of literature by stroud my hat off it the best fantasy trilogys i've read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I first read this it did get confusing at times, but me being a little older now I understand it completely. It's one of those books that you could keep in your collection for years. I've re-read the whole Trilogy many times. Now Jonathan Stroud is making another book about Bartimaeus which should be coming out in 2010, and im very eager to see how that will play out. Bartimaeus Trilogy &Harry Potter are one of my all time favorite books, and that's saying something.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was my favorite of all-time, until I read the final book of the trilogy. The story is so well set up and is always interesting and fun. You could read it over and over again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did skim some parts, but I think thats more of a personal thing anyway, and actually when I went back and read those parts and reread the book it made me love the story that much more. And I think the 10 year olds this book is supposedly for will skim the same parts. This books main attraction for me was the cahracters as usuall, so I suprised myself loving everything else that makes a good book about it. All in all the book is very happening So the first and second page. I skimmed over the description then put the book down but I am SO GLAD I went back and read it. Bartimaeus...hes pure gold. Hes a 5000 year old enslaved demon or djinni. He ties up with all my other favorite characters. For me, it was litteraly a laugh a page or more when the story is in his point of view. And hes had 5000 years of reasons to not be how awsome and likable he is today. Then it switches to Nathaniels POV the young magician. I skimmed over his parts to until the middle of the story, just to understand things. It may not look like it at first but I find Nathaniel to be a fascinating character. He dosen't seen to be likable at first but he wasn't loved as a child, his parants sold to the magicians. He almost never leaves the house. Hes seperated form other children. His room is the attic in a 5 floor mansion. And his master set him up to perposely terriffy him at 6 years old, and so set him against 'demons' very young. And he turns out to be a hero in the end, even though driven at first to solve the stories mystery by ambition. Great story. Long live Barti <3
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is highly riveting and definately exciting. It's perfect for those just starting to really dive into big reading, as it never for a moment leaves you bored. The characters are different, especially Bartimaeus, who's sarcastic attitude constantly deflects any feelings of over- cliche attached to the book. The main character seems at first to be your every day, predictable hero and yet he turns out to be so much more. Complex plot, interesting ideas, and hilarious footnotes make it a must-read for anyone who calls them self a fantasy lover. The only complaint I, a nit-picker and fantasy freak, can have, is that the villian is a bit... tired. He is very one- sided. The evil, dark haired, mean and arrogant, and yet incredibly powerful bad-guy who wants to summon an evil demon, kill all of the wizards and, basically, destroy the world. There's a little more explanation, but not much. It leaves an intelligent reader wondering, 'But what's the STRATEGY in destroying the world, except to stroke your ego?' When placed next to Bartimaeus, who is, arguably, the best, and most well planned character I've ever read of, he dwindles. All and all, a definate read for those who love a fast- moving plot, high fantasy, and sarcastic footnotes. Four and three-quarter stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book a couple of weeks ago, sat down to read it on a Saturday afternoon, and finished it Saturday evening. The tale of young Nathaniel, an apprentice magician, that involves murder, revenge, and demons. This book is not for people who fancy themselves the upright church goer, it involves conjuring demons, which in all honesty is one of the most entertaining metaphores in the book. Bartimaeus is a 5000 year old djinni, who is summoned by Nathaniel to steal the amulet of Samrkand from a magician by the name of Simon Lovelace. Simon is a magician and more importantly is an evil magician (or as Bartimaeus might say ambitious not evil). The events in the book start out with an arrogant young boy, who is really somewhat innocent, but then he loses that innocence and starts on a journey into adulthood. This book is one of the only books that I have ever seen pull off a narrative by two different people and do it well. The footnotes that Bartimaeus leaves are sometimes distracting because they are so funny they can make you lose your concentration. I wouldn't recommend this to really young children, but from the age of 10 up should be safe.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
Had picked this up at an airport bookstore, looking for something to read. Cover looked interesting as the summary. Wasn't sure if I was going to like this. Didn't like Nat and Kitty at first. The genie was interesting. Writing was pretty good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is not your typical fantasy book (orcs, epic battle scenes, heroes controlling the evil forces, etc.). This book is about a hillariously sarcastic, smart-mourhed, and comedic demon(Bartimaeus) who loves nothing mpre than pissing people off and eaves-dropping. It gets down-right comedic how ticked he gets when his master, a young child, outwits him,and vis versa. The two, after a while, develop a strange relationship where the master technically has no power of Bartimaeus, but he still helps out(extremely rare). Good book for everyone. I'm Travis and this is my review on 'The Amulet Of Samarkand'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down for the first 150 pages and then, it started to unravel, wander, plod. The spectacular ending was consumed in a single gulp. I keep wondering, with all the filler in the middle, why did the ending happen so fast? And I was disappointed in the farewell ending. At least it's a single book and not "to be continued" (though apparently, it is). I know there's more out there, but when the author is wandering, it's just too painful a read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was absolutely amazing. I loved it. It had a little bit of everything that I like. Magic, suspence... all that it was missing was a little bit of romance. I think I actually like this book better than Harry Potter. This is a great compliment!!!!!!
Anonymous 12 months ago
Good read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this a few years ago, but still remember the witty insults and plot twists. Stroud does a wonderful job combining his own imagination with realistic politics and Euro-Arabian folklore.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Silver <br> Gender: female <br> Apearance: silvery grey fur and blue eyes with flecks of silver. <br> Job: organizer <p> Name: Snowykit <br> Gender: female <br> Apearance: white with grey spots here and there. Blue eyes. <br> Job: kit <br> Relations: sister of Slippingkit <br> Crush: nope <p> Name: Zebrakit <br> Gender: male <br> Apearance: white and black tabby. Yellow eyes. <br> Job: kit <br> Relations: none <br> Crush: no <p> Name: Slippingkit <br> Gender: tom <br> Apearance: pure white with red eyes. Is albino. <br> Job: kit. <br> Relations: brother of Snowykit <br> Crush: none <p> Name: Futurepaw <br> Gender: female <br> Apearance: black with white and grey streaks, starry-ish eyes, and extremely small. <br> Job: apprentice. <br> Relations: none <br> Crush: none
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very funny and smart...a great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was agood book but it was a little confusing when it whent from charachter to charachter
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have lissened to all of them on odio all but the ring of solomon it did not capture me Iam embarised to say this but i once had a crush on simon loveless!!! Yuck i know but noww i love love bartimaeus he is osom!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago