Jonathan Stroud (www.jonathanstroud.com) is the author of two previous books in the Lockwood & Co. series as well as the New York Times best-selling Bartimaeus books, and the stand-alone titles Heroes of the Valley, The Leap, The Last Siege, and Buried Fire. He lives in England with his wife and two children.
Gr 6 Up-This sequel to The Amulet of Samarkand (Hyperion, 2003) takes place two years later. Now 14, Nathaniel works in the Department of Internal Affairs trying to stop a group of commoners who are responsible for small rebellions against the magician-run government. As he pursues the elusive Resistance, he discovers that an unknown individual is using ancient magic to control a golem and wreak havoc on the city of London. Meanwhile, readers get a look into the heart of the Resistance through the eyes of Kitty, a resourceful young commoner. She was born with a "resilience" to magic, an ability that drew her to the attention of the rebels, and her motivations for joining them are clearly presented. As events unfold, Nathaniel and Kitty are faced with choices that will test their courage and honor. The third-person narrative switches focus between the two characters. As in the first book, occasional chapters narrated by the demon Bartimaeus add sarcasm and irreverent humor to the text and offer a break from the ever-growing tension. The story, which stands alone nicely, retains all of the strengths of Stroud's first installment and adds many more details to his already vivid fantasy world. The characters are well developed and the action never lets up. A must-purchase for all fantasy collections.-Tasha Saecker, Caestecker Public Library, Green Lake, WI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
"A must-purchase for all fantasy collections."
The sharp-witted shape-shifting djinni returns in Stroud's second volume of the Bartimaeus Trilogy, this time dealing with a mysterious attacker that is terrorizing London. Nathaniel (aka John Mandrake), now 14, is apprenticed to Jessica Whitwell (as established at the close of the first book), "one of the four most potent magicians in the government." When several terrorist attacks take place, the ruling party blames the Resistance, the young commoner idealists introduced in the previous title. Nathaniel, rapidly rising through the ranks and serving as assistant to the Internal Affairs minister, Julius Tallow, suspects something larger at work. He once again summons Bartimaeus; the djinni's charge: "Pursuit and identification of an unknown enemy of considerable power." When it appears that a golem is behind the attacks, the duo's mission takes them to Prague to uncover the magic behind the creature's appearance. Readers learn more about Kitty, previously met as a member of the Resistance, as the narrative shifts among her, Bartimaeus and Nathaniel. Kitty aids Mr. Pennyfeather, leader of the Resistance, in the group's effort to rob the grave of the legendary magician Gladstone to gain power. Bartimaeus once again steals the spotlight; his pages are the most entertaining (one of his signature footnotes points out that his guise as a feathered, winged serpent "used to bring the house down in Yucatan"). Although the thrill of discovery of Stroud's magical realm may have worn off slightly, fans of book one will enjoy revisiting this delectably uneasy bond between boy and djinni. Bartimaeus's pointed humor makes for a story worth savoring. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.