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The Amulet of Samarkand (The Bartimaeus…

The Amulet of Samarkand (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 1) (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Jonathan Stroud

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6,784218544 (4.05)325
Title:The Amulet of Samarkand (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 1)
Authors:Jonathan Stroud
Info:Miramax (2004), Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (2003)

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» See also 325 mentions

English (205)  German (7)  French (2)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  Vietnamese (1)  Spanish (1)  All (218)
Showing 1-5 of 205 (next | show all)
Quite delightful! Lots of action to keep the younger set interested; lots of subtle references and character development to intrigue the grown up reader. I can't wait to share this one with my nephew! ( )
  hopeevey | May 20, 2018 |
Nathaniel is a 12 year old boy apprenticed to a magician who holds a post in the government of England. Not an unusual occurrence as all ministerial positions are filled by magicians in this version of reality. Unfortunately for Nathaniel, his master, Arthur Underwood, didn't really want an apprentice and doesn't really care for having "the boy", as he calls him, around. To Nathaniel's way of thinking this means his training is not going as fast as he wants it to and he bears no feelings of affection for the man. This feeling is further exacerbated when his master fails to intercede when another magician publicly humiliates him during a gathering of his master's acquaintances. Nathaniel does have a voracious appetite for knowledge and he puts what he's learned to good use when he concocts a plan of revenge against his tormentor, Simon Lovelace, which will also include his master. He summons the djinni, Bartimaeus, to steal an artefact that Lovelace has just acquired in nefarious circumstances and hide it in Underwood's study. But as is the tendency of many revenge plots this one also goes awry and with Lovelace desperate to recover the artefact to enact a scheme of his own and prepared to do anything within his considerable power to retrieve it then Nathaniel and Bartimaeus will have to be at their best to avoid being revealed as the perpetrators.

The story is related via alternating chapters from the viewpoints of Nathaniel and Bartimaeus. While the former is a fairly typical young boy frustrated at what he feels to be slow progress careering from one crisis to another when events cascade beyond his control the latter is a snarky, aggrandizing demon who's not afraid to meddle if it will benefit him and provides amusing anecdotes in the form of footnotes to describe other beings or past events in which he, of course, played a pivotal role. It's a fast paced tale and quite cinematic in its telling and I wouldn't be surprised to see a movie adaptation springing up at some time. While the main plot of this book is fully wrapped up there is one strand left open to continue into the next instalment of the trilogy and there was enough here for me to want to pick that up at some point. A decent, though not spectacular, opener to a young adult fantasy series.
  AHS-Wolfy | May 11, 2018 |
Nathaniel is an apprentice magician who summons a djinni before he's technically allowed and *way* before he should be able to do so, skill-wise, but he's precocious and cocky and hell-bent on revenge. Bartimaeus is the irritable, summoned djinni, who does as he's ordered but chafes under the command of a 12-year-old boy. The narrative switches between the two, and from both viewpoints the story of the apprentice's stumbling plan for revenge-cum-saving-the-country-from-a-magical-coup unfolds.

The alternate London (one openly governed by wizards) and the intertwining stories of Nathaniel's dissatisfaction with his lot and the plot against the government are great, plus Nathaniel and Bartimaeus are both fantastically drawn (the djinni's sarcastic and witty first person narrative makes him especially fun). Definitely recommended, and I hope to get round to the read of the series soon. ( )
  electrascaife | May 3, 2018 |
enjoyed foot-notes more than the book. ( )
  Sujathanath | Apr 11, 2018 |
This book was quite a daring read for me at the time since I was about 12 and it dealt with necromancy, or black magic. It was a fascinating and captivating read. ( )
  thebacklistbook | Mar 20, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 205 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (39 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jonathan Stroudprimary authorall editionscalculated
Grant, MelvynCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
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 on 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.
Haiku summary
Wizards rule England
with help of pouting demons.
Man, they're sarcastic.

A young magician
and his mischievous djinni
foil conspiracy.

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0786852550, Paperback)

Nathaniel is a boy magician-in-training, sold to the government by his birth parents at the age of five and sent to live as an apprentice to a master. Powerful magicians rule Britain, and its empire, and Nathaniel is told his is the "ultimate sacrifice" for a "noble destiny." If leaving his parents and erasing his past life isn't tough enough, Nathaniel's master, Arthur Underwood, is a cold, condescending, and cruel middle-ranking magician in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The boy's only saving grace is the master's wife, Martha Underwood, who shows him genuine affection that he rewards with fierce devotion. Nathaniel gets along tolerably well over the years in the Underwood household until the summer before his eleventh birthday. Everything changes when he is publicly humiliated by the ruthless magician Simon Lovelace and betrayed by his cowardly master who does not defend him.

Nathaniel vows revenge. In a Faustian fever, he devours magical texts and hones his magic skills, all the while trying to appear subservient to his master. When he musters the strength to summon the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus to avenge Lovelace by stealing the powerful Amulet of Samarkand, the boy magician plunges into a situation more dangerous and deadly than anything he could ever imagine. In British author Jonathan Stroud's excellent novel, the first of The Bartimaeus Trilogy, the story switches back and forth from Bartimaeus's first-person point of view to third-person narrative about Nathaniel. Here's the best part: Bartimaeus is absolutely hilarious, with a wit that snaps, crackles, and pops. His dryly sarcastic, irreverent asides spill out into copious footnotes that no one in his or her right mind would skip over. A sophisticated, suspenseful, brilliantly crafted, dead-funny book that will leave readers anxious for more. (Ages 11 to adult) --Karin Snelson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:16 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Nathaniel, a magician's apprentice, summons up the djinni Bartimaeus and instructs him to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from the powerful magician Simon Lovelace.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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