Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The Amulet of Samarkand

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud, 2003

Bartimaeus is an ages old djinni who is annoyed to find himself summoned by a scrap of a boy and sent on a mission to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from a very powerful magician. The setting is London and magicians run the country as members of Parliment. The amulet is currently in the possession of one of the most powerful "politicians" in England. Who is this apprentice magician and why is he dabbling with powers beyond his years? Bartimaeus doesn't care, he just wants to fulfill his mission and be released. As the story unfolds we see the story though the kid's eyes and through the wry asides of the djinn in footnotes. In this society magicians may run the government but there are non-magic s who are causing problems.

The reader is drawn into this world. Nicholas is a very young but talented apprentice to a "master" who is a second rate magician/politician. Nicholas has known very little kindness in his young life and is impatient to advance his learning. Bartimaeus is a funny and saavy djinni who admires Nicholas in spite of himself.

Even as the story concludes there are big questions that remain. Who are those street kids who seem to "sense" magic items and remain unaffected by it? Thankfully this is The Bartimaeus Trilogy and book two, The Golem's Eye has just been published, September 2004. I must get it now and see what happens next. This was a great read.

This book has been enthusiastically endorsed by 8th grade and 6th grade reading guys I know.

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