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The Amulet of Samarkand (Amulet Trilogy) [Hardcover]

Jonathan Stroud
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Oct 2003 Amulet Trilogy (Book 5)
When the 5000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus is summoned by Nathaniel, a young magician's apprentice, he expects to have to do nothing more taxing than a little levitation or a few simple illusions. But Nathaniel is a precocious talent and has something rather more dangerous in mind: revenge. Against his will, Bartimaeus is packed off to steal the powerful Amulet of Samarkand from Simon Lovelace, a master magician of unrivalled ruthlessness and ambition. Before long, both djinni and apprentice are caught up in a terrifying flood of magical intrigue, murder and rebellion.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Children's Books; 1st Printing edition (2 Oct 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385605994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385605991
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 14.4 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 581,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jonathan Stroud was born in Bedford and grew up in St Albans. He studied at York University. He has a strong background in children's books. While writing his earlier novels, Buried Fire, The Leap and The Last Siege, he worked as an editor in a London publishing firm, editing a number of game books and non-fiction titles . Now, with the worldwide interest in the best-selling Bartimaeus trilogy, he devotes himself to writing full-time. He also travels extensively, promoting his books. Ptolemy's Gate, the last title in the Bartimaeus trilogy, has been longlisted for the Carnegie Medal. Jonathan now lives in St Albans with his wife two children.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Author Jonathan Stroud delivers such a potent and unforgettable mix of magic, history and intrigue with The Amulet of Samarkand, the first part of his compelling Bartimaeus Trilogy, that it is difficult not to want to read the next novel immediately. Undoubtedly the shortest 480 pages you'll ever read, The Amulet of Samarkand is a superb novel of revenge and adventure with the most original central character for years.

Bartimaeus is a wisecracking Djinni (pronounced "Jinnee" we're reliably informed) unlike no other. Summoned from some otherworldly place to do the bidding of a pipsqueak trainee magician called Nathanial, he sets about his given task reluctantly but with aplomb. Nathanial is after revenge and that makes him dangerous. Previously humiliated by a powerful magician called Simon Lovelace in front of his impotent master, Nathanial has spent every waking hour for years cramming knowledge of the highest magic into his head so that he can exact his own special kind of vengeance.

Bartimaeus is charged to steal a precious and powerful object--the Amulet of Samarkand--from Lovelace's residence, which the Djinni achieves but not without angering a few old mates on the same astral plane and having to spend the night annoyingly disguised as a bird. Bartimaeus, despite being bound to Nathaniel, discovers the boy's real name--a tool he can use to his own advantage. But he is constantly outwitted. Then an overriding danger becomes apparent that threatens the whole fabric of society and they must work together to combat it.

Stroud's fantasy world is familiar, yet fascinatingly different. It's almost Victorian London, yet Magicians hold overall power and inhabit parliament. The writing is captivating, the story intelligent and mesmerising. It's difficult to imagine a more scintillating collection of characters and situations. Unmissable. (Recommended for ages 10 and over.) --John McLay


"Drama, humour and hypnotically engaging storytelling" (Independent)

"The truly original touch is the way Stroud alternates Nathaniel's story with the djinni's own knowing and irascible first-person narrative" (Guardian)

"The narrative slips skilfully from first person to third and back and Bartimaeus's voice is laugh-out-loud sassy, while Nathaniel's story has an engaging poignancy as he tries to prove himself in a world in which he has always been despised" (The Sunday Times)

"Not since Gulliver's Travels has a children's writer managed to combine a thrilling tale of magic and adventure with such deliciously pointed comedy" (The Times)

"Terrific stuff" (Mail on Sunday) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Read 3 Oct 2003
I am not a huge reader (perhaps 1 or 2 book a year) but when I was passed The Amulet of Samarkand I found it difficult to put down. As soon as I started to read the opening chapters I became immediately absorbed into the story. I felt that the opening pace is well maintained throughout the book which kept me wanting to read 'just one more chapter'. Jonathan Stroud has got the ability to give descriptions which enable you imagine you are seeing, at first hand, all the action - of which there is plenty.
The subject matter is not my usual choice but I felt the combination of fantasy with the reality of possible secret 'goings on' in parliament worked well together.
I feel that the book is aimed at teenagers aswell as adults providing entertainment on different levels dependant on the reader. The use of footnotes is not something that I have experienced in a novel before but they provide some great insights into the characters and their history and are very amusing - so don't miss them out.
Essentially the story is about a young magician (Nathaniel) who seeks revenge on an adult magician (Simon Lovelace) who has made fun of him....oh yes and who also wants to overthrow the Prime Minister. Nathaniel needs to use the powers of a djinni (Bartimaeus) to do his bidding and get revenge upon the magician. This leads both of them into all sorts of trouble which is why the book moves along at such a rapid pace.
I would recommend this book to anyone 10 years old and above and would hope you get as much enjoyment out of it as I did.
Can't wait for the next book!!!!!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We're Not in Hogworts Any More, Hedwig 26 Jan 2004
By Craobh Rua VINE VOICE
The first part of The Bartimaeus Trilogy, "The Amulet of Samarkand" is set in a mostly recognisable London - admittedly, with a few noticeable changes. The Tower of London is still a feared prison and the Empire (which still exists) is at war with the Czech Republic. Magicians are the ruling class, holding all positions of power, while the non-magical human masses are referred to as commoners. Indeed, the Prime Minister is described at one point as a rather vain magician whose speciality is Charm - though he rarely bothers even with that nowadays. Clearly - ahem - that has no basis in reality at all. These magicians derive their power from their ability to summon and control a variety of demons - for example, afrits, djinn and imps.
The book begins with the first summoning of a djinn called Bartimaeus by a magician's apprentice called Nathaniel. Nathaniel orders the Bartimaeus to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from a very powerful magician and minister called Simon Lovelace. One thing leads to another and, sooner than you can say "N'gorso the Mighty", there's murder, mystery and mayhem - with the added bonus of some young and mysterious human revolutionaries. Needless to say, Lovelace is at the heart of the wrongdoing and the Amulet is clearly at the crux of his dastardly plans.
Nathaniel and Bartimaeus are the story's central characters and the focus of the story alternates back and forth between them. As things progress, we learn more about both our heroes - for example, how Nathaniel came to be a magician's apprentice, why he's picking on Simon Lovelace and a little about Bartimaeus' former masters.
Stroud has taken an interesting approach - he writes Nathaniel's story ("Nathaniel's eyes narrowed"), but the djinni tells his own ("I sat on the ground cross-legged").
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant! 3 Oct 2003
By A Customer
There has been a lot of hype surrounding this book and when I opened it, I have to admit I was a little cynical; it was hard to read it without constantly analysing "Is this book really worth 2 million?" But soon I stopped caring. The book had me gripped from start to finish. Cleverly structured, it alternates between the first-person viewpoint of a djinni and Nathaniel, a young magician who sets out to take revenge on Simon Lovelace. The characters are brilliantly drawn and by setting up a conflict between Nathaniel and Lovelace, the author sets the stage for a wonderful battle of mighty opposites...
In terms of imagination, this book far outstrips Harry Potter. I recognised some of the magical background in the novel, having read the odd text myself out of interest, and one senses that the author did plenty of careful research - the result is that, though the book is a fantasy, there is a sense of versimilitude and even in its wierdest moments it remains convincing. In terms of character depth and insight, I thought this surpassed HP5; Nathaniel is a far more convincing angry adolescent than HP.
Above all, the author has an elegant, seductive, intelligent prose style. Maybe this isn't as amazing as Pullman, but it comes close and I cannot wait to read the rest of the triology.
This book deserves the hype!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Amulet of Samarkand (Amulet Trilogy) 7 Nov 2003
By Steve
Fantastic! I cannot wait for the next installment. This book is well written and moves quickly. Set in London this book has all major politicians depicted as magicians who dabble in intrigue. Into this situation comes Nathaniel, a very able boy and apprentice to Mr. Underwood. Angered at the slow pace of his tuition Nathaniel studies hard and learns quickly. His timid and self conscious master proceeds too slowly for Nathaniel and Nathaniel soon discovers this causing him to view his master contemptuously. Summoning a djinee he sets off a chain of events that coninually spiral out of his control. Written alternately from the boy's and djinee's viewpoints this book is a refreshing slant on the current magic fixation as well as giving a more modern (English?) setting to some of the Arabian Nights fantasy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended
Enjoyed good story
Published 21 days ago by Sarah P
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
I read this when i was young and loved it. 13 years on and it still has the same appeal to me. Great start to a great series
Published 4 months ago by Mr A C Mitchell
2.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre at best
While the story keeps you reasonably engaged, it is a bit weak and meanders a lot. I would not buy all the books in this sequence until you have read the first to ensure like them
Published 4 months ago by JW
5.0 out of 5 stars Bartimaeus
Witty footnotes, withering comments, weird, magical beings... there's a lot in store for you when you pick up a Bartimaeus book. It is, literally, unputdownable. Read more
Published 5 months ago by mazzo
5.0 out of 5 stars A much wanted Xmas present
My daughter absolutely loved this and the other 3 in the series when she opened them on Christmas morning
I love it when playing Santa pays off
Published 7 months ago by wendy Kay
5.0 out of 5 stars Goetia for twelve year olds
Well I really enjoyed this book. To my surprise. Gripping throughout, well written, well edited. All credit to the unusual ploy of having the djinni/ "demon" Bartimaeus write... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Peter King
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't Put It Down
I first read this book some years ago as a teenager when it was bought for me as a present. I was captivated by it then and a couple of weeks ago, I found myself at a loose end and... Read more
Published 10 months ago by AlexithymicDream
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Entertaining
I read the trilogy again and again. So funny and very enjoyable to read. I am sure I will continue to re-read the book.
Published 11 months ago by J. Gough
4.0 out of 5 stars My review
This book is fast paced, exciting and intriguing all at once!!!! The other books in the sequence are also brilliant!!!
Published 12 months ago by Ali Rashed
3.0 out of 5 stars An good start to a steadily improving series
I enjoyed this book but I was not overly impressed. It is in that vein of books which attempt a humorous approach to fantasy; an approach best characterized by Terry Pratchet. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Freke
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