People are always comparing new children's books to Harry Potter, you can't go a week without hearing about 'The New successor to Harry Potter!'. I'm not going to. This book really speaks for itself as an original, and stands out from the crowd of recent childrens books riding on the coat-tails of HP. 'The Amulet of Samarkand' is set in a world not unlike our own. Time seems to have followed a slightly different path, and the London in the story bears marked differences to our own London. Britain in the time of 'The Amulet of Samarkand', is run not by politicians, but by magicians. Debates are not settled with words, but with duels. The story revolves around a boy named Nathaniel, who was fostered to a magician as an apprentice when he was a young boy. Nathaniel endures a harsh childhood, slowly learning his masters profession. The pace of learning is far too slow for him, and he secretly begins to study more and more of his master's texts - and is able to summon Imps and Djinnis well before any other boy his age could. When Nathaniel is humiliated by powerful magician Simon Lovelace - infront of a group of powerful minsters, he uses his talents to summon a powerful Djinni named Bartimaeus, in order to exact revenge.....and soon uncovers a murderous plot..... The story is told jointly through following Nathaniel, and through the very humourous and somewhat sarcastic narration of the Djinni Bartimaeus. Barimaeus is an excellent narrator, injecting enough humour and light heartedness into what would otherwise be a very dark tale. 'The Amulet of Samarkand' is rated as a children's book, but it is one of those wonderful books that adults can read and enjoy too. As part of a trilogy, I'm certainly looking forward to the next installment.