Book II of the Bartimaeus Trilogy Eagerly awaited sequel to The Amulet of Samarkand an unputdownable combination of magic, adventure and political ambition, with an enigmatic djinni as complex as ever!
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 -working at Walker, in their Game Book and Non-Fiction departments and Kingfisher Publications, editing children's non-fiction. He has written and edited a number of game books and non-fiction titles for Walker Books and had three novels published by The Bodley Head before writing the Bartimaeus trilogy. Jonathan now lives in St. Albans with his wife and small daughter.
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.
Gr 7-9-In the second book (Hyperion, 2004) in Jonathan Stroud's fantasy trilogy, the viewpoints of the djinni Bartimaeus, his sometimes hapless magician owner Nathaniel, and teenaged "commoner" Kitty weave a plot with various counterplots along the themes of revenge, greed and, ultimately, growth. Nathaniel, at 14, is full of himself and tends toward the foppish in both the views of Bartimaeus and the reader/listener. Bartimaeus continues to seem to be both smug and smarter than Nathaniel. Kitty is the most sympathetic of the bunch, but she appears to have no problem with plotting government overthrow of a very messy sort. During the long trajectory of this book, a Czech golem (a clay giant animated by blood-written magic) lays waste to the British Museum and Kitty helps unleash more cultural destruction by unburying the supposed dead at Westminster. Simon Jones provides voices for each of these characters, as well as their assorted minions, who include Kitty's badly magic-wounded childhood friend Jacob, the elderly commoner Mr. Pennyfeather who recruits her into the magic resistance force, and Nathaniel's mentors, none of whom seem to have a really good side. While plotting and fantasy are both well-developed here, the audience will have trouble feeling completely sympathetic towards any one of these protagonists; rather than a flawed hero, what we have here is a small group of folks-magical and otherwise-who are more arrogant than they are vulnerable. Those unfamiliar with the first volume, The Amulet of Samarkand (Hyperion, 2003; Listening Library, 2003), will have a little trouble working into the story at the beginning, but there's enough action to hold listeners' attention as they gather clues to what has brought about the current crisis-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.