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Golem's Eye (Bartimaeus Trilogy) Hardcover – 7 Oct 2004
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Bartimaeus is back! After delighting many fantasy fans with his ancient wit and wily wisdom in the first instalment of Jonathan Strouds Bartimaeus Trilogy, The Amulet of Samarkand, the wise-cracking centuries-old djinn returns for the sequel and is on sparkling form once more. And despite the strong human stars in this superior magical adventure, it is difficult to think of any other character as its star. As follow-ups go, its almost as good and equally as enjoyable.
Nathanial, a talented magician and now fourteen, is a rising star in the Internal Affairs office of a magician-controlled government in a quasi-historic city of London. Confident of his abilities, there seems like nothing he cannot handle in his glittering career. But the growing resistance movement is disrupting the capital with its thefts and raids and Nathanial is asked to deal with it. When he makes little progress to track down the movements leader, Kitty Jones, Nathanial recalls the services of his familiar--Bartimaeus.
However, the young magicians task is made more difficult when a series of terrifying attacks occur. They are perpetrated on London by a monster Golem who is manipulated by an unknown wizard, yet blamed on Kittys marauders. Bartimaeus and Nathaniel venture to Prague and beyond in their efforts to track their real enemies down.
Along the way, Strouds plots and counter-plots, class wars and magical phenomena, provide a ceaselessly readable narrative that is always entertaining. Chapters are alternately viewed from Bartimaeus, Nathanial and Kittys points of view and the added perspectives really help the reader to fully appreciate the authors intricate plotting. Here is an invented fantasy world that rivals Garth Nix at his best and is rich and complex enough to be appreciated by some readers many years older than its intended younger audience. (Age 10 and over) --John McLay
From the Inside Flap
'You're a natural.' Ms Whitwell told Nathaniel. 'Work hard and you'll go far.'
Two years have passed since the events of The Amulet of Samarkand, and the young magician Nathaniel is fast rising through the government ranks. It is up to him to put an end to the thefts and raids inflicted on London by the mysterious Resistance.
But it is not an easy task: the ringleader Kitty and her friends remain elusive, and Nathaniel's job - and perhaps his life - are soon at risk. As the pressure mounts, he is distracted by a new series of terrifying attacks on the capital. Is is the Resistance again, or something more dangerous still? Nathaniel must uncover the perpertrators fast, and this means desperate measures: a journey to the enemy city of Prague and - worse - summoning once again the troublesome, enigmatic and quick-witted djinni, Bartimaeus.
Meanwhile Kitty and her fellow rebels are planning their most daring exploit of all - one that will make their fortune and change the history of London for ever.
A thrilling sequel to the best-selling The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem's Eye is a roller-coaster ride of magic, adventure and political skulduggery, in which the fates of Nathaniel, Bartimaeus and Kitty explosively collide.See all Product description
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Nearly three years have passed since the events of "The Amulet of Samarkand". Nathaniel (more widely known as John Mandrake) is now apprenticed to Jessica Whitwell, the Security Minister, and works at the Department of Internal Affairs. His boss, Julius Tallow, is a typical magician : cruel, arrogant and self-serving, he would happily throw another (such as Nathaniel) to the wolves if it meant saving his own hide. (These same qualities, with extra ambition, have also become more pronounced in Nathaniel). However, since Tallow has more problems than he's aware of, Nathaniel's main rivals are the Chief of Police (Henry Duvall) and his assistant (Jane Farrar).
Nathaniel has been put in charge of pursuing the Resistance, a group of commoners who oppose the Magicians' Rule. Generally, their attacks have been limited to small-scale thefts, nothing that would've left Nathaniel under any great pressure. However, the night before Founder's Day (Gladstone's Birthday), a number of shops are attacked and practically destroyed. Policemen were killed, while a number of demons and search spheres used in investigate are missing. However, there are no indications the attack involved the use of magic - although Nathaniel is far from convinced, the Resistance are the most obvious culprits. Under no illusion that results are required, he realises he has to summon Bartimaeus again.
Bartimaeus (the fourth-level djinn summoned by Nathaniel) is caustic, irreverent and hopelessly vain - he boasts about the walls he built at Uruk and Karnak, but never mentions his work at Jericho. While he wasn't too fond of Nathaniel when they first met, he is even less impressed with his master in this book : in fact, he is determined to let Nathaniel down whenever and wherever possible. The last time the duo worked together, they briefly stumbled across three of the Resistance's members - a small group, led by a girl called Kitty. In this instalment, they share the spotlight with Kitty - a commoner with a limited natural resistance to magic.
While Kitty's introduction reduces the amount of time Bartimaeus features, it gives some indication of how the commoners are treated and why there is a Resistance. It means fewer wisecracks (Bartimaeus is the book's funniest character), but it adds to the story and action significantly. The focus from one chapter to another switches between the characters, though the story never stalls. Stroud writes Nathaniel's and Kitty's stories ("Kitty and her parents watched him in silence"), while the djinni tells his own ("I could tell it was Prague as soon as I materialised"). "The Golem's Eye" is very easily read and very enjoyable - but I would recommend starting with "The Amulet of Samarkand".
I've tried to analyse why I found it something of a chore initially, and concluded there were two possible problems. Firstly, Bartimaeus, whose witty voice added so much humour to the first book seemed to be somewhat underused. I always felt that in book one, it was his chapters that really sparkled - so hearing less of him was certainly a disappointment. I suspected that the prologue was added to inject a bit of excitement and start the book from Bartimaeus's point of view, instead of waiting a hundred or so pages for him to appear - but otherwise, it added little to the overall story. Instead we have new narrator, Kitty - and although, at first, I found her a dull substitute for the djinn, it was eventually her part of the story that held my interest and kept me reading. I warmed to her in a way I never managed with Nathaniel.
The second problem was that Nathaniel seemed even less likeable than in book one. Whereas, in 'The Amulet of Samarkand' he had some redeeming features and won the reader's sympathy by being the underdog - in this book he seemed cold, hard and very unsympathetic. I realise that he has to have some kind of emotional growth curve over the series and will, no doubt, learn from his mistakes - but I would've preferred him to be a little easier to relate to; after all, he is the main character.
In retrospect, I decided that I enjoyed the book, despite my early doubts - and look forward to the next instalment.
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