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Bartimaeus Books In Order

Publication Order of Bartimaeus Books

The Amulet of Samarkand (2003) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Golem's Eye (2004) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Ptolemy's Gate (2005) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Ring of Solomon (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Amulet of Samarkand Graphic Novel (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The Bartimaeus Sequence is a series of magical, fantasy and alternate history novels by Jonathan Stroud the British novelist. First intended to be a trilogy, the first novel in the series “The Amulet of Samarkand” was published in 2003, followed by two more titles in 2004 and 2006, and a prequel in 2010. The lead character Bartimaeus from whose name the series is named, is a five millennia old djinn with a reluctant and boisterous spirit. The novels are about Nathaniel a teenage magician who learning magic, summoned Bartimaeus during the period when London was at the peak of world dominance as a magical oligarchy. Even as it is set in an alternate history period of London, most of the people, events, and cities are derived from real history. However, the novels assume that demons, magicians, and magic throughout the centuries have radically altered history. The political and social system of the day is an oligarchy composed of two classes – the commoners and the ruling class that are the magicians. The magicians are normal humans with no special magic powers but they hold all the prime jobs in government that gives them all the power. But even as they are humans they have the power to summon, bind, and control a variety of spirits from down under, and make magical artifacts. The majority commoners are ignorant of magic and are kept in check through ignorance and fear. With modern technologies such as e-mail and airplanes mentioned, the series blends past epochs with a twentieth century England that is the overlord of Europe.

According to Jonathan Stroud, the Bartimaeus trilogy was supposed to be some type of Bartimaeus bible. He even went as far as making all the series’ characters take Bible names. The lead character Bartimaeus, is none other than the famous blind man cured of his ailment by Jesus in the New Testament. Ptolemy, John, and Nathaniel are derived from the Gospel of John narrative, which tells the story of Bartholomew the Apostle. However, the magician Mandrake takes his name from a newspaper comic strip. The Bartimaeus Sequence has many characters in all the social stratification, but the most prominent are Nathaniel the magician, Kitty Jones the commoner, and the djinn Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus is one of the most important characters in the series, and is a five millennia old djinn with a cheeky and sarcastic temperament. Although only a middle class djinn, he is very powerful and clever, which serves him well when he finds himself in difficult situations. Despite his powers, he has a hilarious, wry, and cheeky side that brings out the nature of spirits in his world. Kitty Jones, otherwise known as Kathleen is a mid-level youthful member of the Resistance, a group of people opposed to Britain being ruled by the magical cabal. Similar to many in the Resistance, she can resist attacks from demons or from the magicians that would typically spell the end for a normal human. Over the course of the series, she becomes an even more important character as she seeks to bring peace between the djinns and humans. Mandrake the magician also known as Nathaniel is the second most powerful magician in the British ruling council of magicians.

The narrative of the novels is in three related story arcs that become evident as the books progress. The dominant plot is the rise and fall of the city of London as the political and social capital of the world. The second and third stories are more personal and involve Bartimaeus, Kitty, and Nathaniel. Nathaniel changes from a noble though pitiful boy to the arrogant and power-hungry magician John Mandrake, before coming back full circle to assume a nobler and humbler disposition. The third novel sees Kitty the commoner show her sincerity to Bartimaeus when she goes to their underground abode, where no non-demon had ever tread. Nathaniel in his new character of John Mandrake also displays unusual loyalty and courage by saving the life of the demon Bartimaeus when he did not have to, thus restoring the trust between the two warring races. The three novels in the series take their names from either a spell or magical artifact. The Amulet of Samarkand makes the wearer immune to magical and demonic attacks, Golems Eye is a magical clay piece that makes it possible for the wearer to control the golem; while Ptolemy’s Gate is a technique that humans use to access the spirit world, named after Ptolemy the ancient mathematician and astrologer of the Greek empire.

“The Amulet of Samarkand” is a stirring novel introducing the Bartimaeus Sequence series of novels by Jonathan Stroud. When the story opens, Nathaniel is a magician apprentice that had been offered to the Powerful ruling magicians of Britain, in what his parents call the ultimate sacrifice in the quest for a nobler destiny. Still smarting from having to leave his parents’ house, he finds Arthur Underwood his new master to be a cruel, cold, and condescending magician. But he gets some reprieve from Martha Underwood his masters wife, who displays genuine affection towards him that he repays with fierce loyalty. Life is tolerable enough for the young apprentice until his eleventh birthday, when Simon Lovelace the ruthless magician finds joy in his public humiliation. As is typical of his cowardly master, Arthur Underwood does nothing to protect him. Vowing revenge, he hones his magical skills and voraciously reads magical texts even as he pretends to his master that all is well. He finally achieves enough strength to summon Bartimaeus a 5000-year-old genie that he intends to use to exact revenge of Simon Lovelace. Using Bartimaeus, he intends to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from the wily magician. While he does not know it, he is now in a more deadly and dangerous situation than any he has ever faced before.

“The Golem’s Eye”, the sequel to “The Amulet of Samarkand” is a roller coaster of political skullduggery, adventure, and magic that sees the fates of Kitty, Bartimaeus, and Nathaniel come together. The fourteen-year-old magician Nathaniel is rising fast through the ranks of the British government. It would seem that there is nothing too complex for the young magician to handle. Given his prowess, he is charged with stamping out the burgeoning Resistance Movement that has become a concern for London residents, with its constant raids and theft. Defeating the Resistance will be no mean feat as Kitty and her troops are a very elusive cabal, and the search for them soon puts Nathaniel’s own life in danger. With pressure mounting after a series of new terrorist attacks in the city, he adopts some desperate measures to find the Resistance. Traveling to Prague, a city crawling with his enemies, he is forced to summon the quick witted, enigmatic, and troublesome djinn Bartimaeus, to help him in his quest.

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