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The Amulet of Samarkand Hardcover

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  • Hardcover
  • ASIN: B001736FDK
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 15 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,181,331 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.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Craobh Rua VINE VOICE on 26 Jan. 2004
Format: Hardcover
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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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "matthewdrew2" on 3 Oct. 2003
Format: Hardcover
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 By KP crisps on 4 May 2006
Format: Paperback
5 Stars

One of the best books that I have ever read.

When Nathaniel, a fast learning magicians apprentice, tries to get one back at his enemy, Simon Lovelace, for humiliating and beating him at a meeting(for being a bit too clever) a few years ago, he doesn't realize who he's fighting with.

He summons a very high ranking spirit, a fourteenth level Djinni, Bartimaeus; he orders it to steal a very precious item from the magician, the Amulet of Samarkand.

Lovelace becomes furious and suddenly Nathaniel and Bartimaeus are plunged into a bloody, murderous adventure full of excitement.

I am a 12 year old boy who loves the fantasy and fiction kind of books. I got this book for Christmas last year and was contemplating whether I should read it or not, I wasn't sure what to do for I have loads of books that I could read. In the end I decided that I would try it out...

...That book was absolutely AMAZING! The plot was a very well thought out and exciting one. The author has made the accounts told from two very different sides of the story and I thought that that was very cleverly done. The footnotes are great, sometimes even hilarious. The mix of wit and hilarity goes perfectly. The writing is very imaginative and clever.

As soon as I finished this book I found myself turning the first page of the next book, The Golems Eye.

I recommend this book to anyone of any age, especially young people who love fantasy.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Oct. 2003
Format: Hardcover
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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