Saturday, April 22, 2006

Ptolemy's Gate

Ptolemy's Gate by Jonathan Stroud, 2006

I finished this book earlier this week. I sat very still for a moment and then closed the book to get on with my life when suddenly my lower lip started trembling and the tears began flowing. I do not think I have had such an emotional reaction to the conclusion of a book since Frodo left the Shire for the last time.

To tell you much about the plot would deny you the profound enjoyment of discovery that Stroud's fine writing provides. It is not spoiling anything to say the story picks up about three years after the conclusion of The Golem's Eye and Nathaniel, aka John Mandrake, is now part of the top tier of magicians that run the country. Kitty has assumed a new identity and is working as an assistant to a minor magician. Nathaniel has kept the djinni, Bartimaeus, on Earth for too long. Denied a return to The Other Place, Bartimaeus’s powers are weakening and he is losing his essence.

Stroud brings all the threads of the story together as the events unfold. His character, Bartimaeus is a voice for all time. His humor, insight and heart are unforgettable.

The door is open for a sequel. I understand he wants to write in other directions but it is my profound hope that he will pass this way again.

A definite "gotta have it."


Michele said...

Yes !! I thought exactly the same thing - there's the potential for a further story featuring one or two of the "three"...

I'm relieved to know I wasn't the only one who cried at the ending !

Anonymous said...


(I posted this on someone else's blog, but thought I might post here as well.)

I *just* finished Book II of this trilogy.

I have a bigger problem with the book. At first, I had no idea when the book was set. I thought, "Hmmmm... Edwardian England, maybe?" (Colonialism is still a huge part of English identity in this book and there is a fetishization of all things from the East.) However, once I realized that the book was supposed to be set present-day, well, I just got even more annoyed and somewhat angry. Why would Stroud want to create a world in which a European power was still an Empire? Why is almost everything sinister/magical in this book "from the East"?

Do you think I am being too sensitive? Should I read Book III?


Camille said...

First of all, yes, read Book III. Stroud brings all the questions to an entirely satisfying conclusion.

I saw the setting of the book as a fantasy London. I have imagined it as a Victorian/Edwardian/Present Day with a automobiles. I did not perceive all things sinister and evil in the story coming "from the East." Rather the evil and trouble emanates from the magicians'government and their ongoing use of slaves (the demons and djinnis) to do their dirty work.

In fact the spirits and demons are the victims of the corrupt power of the magicians. The government is embroiled in an ongoing foreign war in America (a la American Revolution.) The warfare between the magician-ruling-class and the commoners is coming to a head. It may be shades of Colonialism, but Stroud is not saying this is a good thing.

The Golem's Eye is a transitional book, much like The Two Towers in Lord of the Rings. It sets the reader for the conclusion. Don't know if you are a Lord of the Rings fan but imagine not knowing if the Ring is destroyed?

I do hope you read Ptolemy's Gate. I loved it.

Unknown said...

i loved this book so much!!

Anonymous said...

i loved this book a lot... I was just wondering if anyone knew of another series similar to this one