The Amulet of Samarkand

The Amulet of Samarkand

Book - 2003
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Part of the "Amulet" triology. The Djinni Abartimaeus is summoned by a young apprentice, Nathaniel, to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from the powerful magician, Simon Lovelace. Chaos and action ensue but the apprentice and the djinn save the day.
Publisher: London : Doubleday, 2003.
Branch Call Number: OLDER FICTION
Characteristics: 479 p. ;,23 cm.
Series Volume: 1.


From Library Staff

A hilarious story about a 12-year old apprentice magician and the ancient, snarky spirit he summons. The series is set in a world where powerful magicians rule Britain and use spirits to control magic. Nathaniel is training under a cruel and cold master who does nothing to defend him when he’s pu... Read More »

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Feb 16, 2021

Another excellent series by Jonathan Stroud. You can't help rooting for Bartimaeus, but you're also pulling for Nathaniel, too. Lots of twists and turns along the way. Also excellent in audiobook.

Jul 20, 2020

Around the world, there has been a major change in power. The up-and-coming British empire, and its premier magician, William Gladstone, have just crushed the Czechs to become the dominant power. 150 years later, the British magicians still hold power around the world. They, with the demons that they command, keep the population under control and expand the British empire around the world.

Nathaniel is an up-and-coming apprentice under the minor minister Arthur Underwood. His ambition and skill are unmatched; he has already summoned an imp and bound it to a scrying disk. All of this seems to be leading him to a high position in the government; that is, until Simon Lovelace, an eminent magician, humiliates him. Seeking revenge, Nathaniel recklessly summons the quick-witted djinn Bartimaeus. The duo must evade Lovelace, his demons, the police, and those commoners willing to resist the power of the magicians.

What I liked about this book is the plot. The plot is engaging, all the while setting up the next book’s main characters, situations, and subplots. In this book, even the most insignificant events become important during the next book. The narrator, Bartimaeus, is witty and engages the reader through footnotes and commentaries pertaining to past experiences or the events of the book. Overall, I would recommend that a reader read this, as well as the other books in the series.

PimaLib_ChristineR Mar 15, 2020

How have I never heard of this book before?!?! This, like the Harry Potter series, is a "children's book" only because of the age of one of the protagonists, Nathaniel. Since our djinni protagonist, Bartimaeus, is about 5,000 years old, I say it balances out and is a perfect read for everyone who enjoys clever adventure with a good dose of humour.

While I wouldn't say it has as many layers of meaning as something like His Dark Materials, it challenges readers in other ways. Nathaniel is a young boy, and while the magician he is apprenticed to isn't a very sympathetic character, it is Nathaniel himself who is more problematic. He's a wizard of rare talent, but he isn't very nice. Often prompted to action by anger or for revenge, he also has no compunction about using a touch of torture on the demons he controls.

Bartimaeus too has his issues, foremost that if he found the slightest leeway he would certainly kill Nathaniel...or would he? The best part of the sections Bartimaeus narrates is his voice. The book abounds with humour and witty footnotes from our djinni.

Together Nathaniel and Bartimaeus uncover a plot. They're not sure what kind of plot, or against whom, but they're sure going to try to find out. Well plotted and full of hair-raising situations, The Amulet of Samarkand is a hidden treasure.

Not only am I excited for the rest of the series, but to grab anything by Stroud I can find.

Aug 19, 2018

This book, despite being the first in a trilogy, stands on its own as an incredible feat of world-building and character development. The other two are pretty good, but I think they suffer from the fact that this book is (and it's very hard for me to say this about a children's book, but I've adored it for so many years that I can't put it any other way) a masterpiece. Sometimes you read a book that is very clever, and you enjoy it while you read it. Afterwards if you think too much about it you begin to realize its faults (poorly written characters, storylines that go nowhere, plotholes, etc.) This is not a book like that. I have read it three times, and it is perfect from start to finish. This book is so great, I am nostalgic for the days when I first read it. Give it a try. You won't regret it.

Liz_the_Librarian Jul 05, 2017

The Bartimaeus Trilogy is a fantastic series with a beautiful blend of humor and drama. The world it builds is unique and fun, and the way it's written is a nice fresh take: One half first unreliable first person, one half omniscient third person, its filled with many good ideas that blend together into a wonderful novel. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy, even if you're older. We may have it in our "teens" section, but I still highly enjoy it as an adult, as much as I did when I was a teen!

Beatricksy Jul 03, 2017

Enjoyable, fast paced, really a terrifically fun read, but also somehow distracted. Partly because it couldn't decide if it was a first or third person book, partly because it blitzed between perspectives without really letting the reader understand either--Nathaniel's chapters were a bit stronger than Bartimaeus's, as the djinni's chapters are really just endless snark. But if you turn your brain off, it's a pretty fun ride.

May 16, 2017

A very enjoyable story but the djinni character Bartimaeus really steals the show. If he shows up in the other stories then I will definitely be interested in reading them as well.

Aug 13, 2016

The Amulet of Samarkhand by Jonathan Stroud is the first book of the Bartimaeus trilogy. It was an interesting and captivating read. Nathaniel is an eleven-year-old boy who is a magician’s apprentice. His past as far as he can remember was all happy till the day he met Simon Lovelace who is also a magician. Simon humiliated Nathaniel publicly once and now, Nathaniel wants revenge. He’s going to steal Simon’s greatest treasure, the Amulet of Samarkhand. This book lost me at some points but overall, it wasn’t that bad. I would probably give a 3 out of 5. - @WizardingInitiate of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

This is a fantasy book like many others, following standard fantasy fare; however, the plot, storytelling, details and world designed to propel all of these things are imaginative to the point of being bewitching. This story is so magical and inventive that it is worth reading just for that. Atop all of these magical elements that make this book so great, the characters of every Jonathan Stroud novel are superb. They have everything you could ever want in a character archetype, and a little more to keep things interesting. If you enjoy fantasy, extremely clever, witty, well-written books, this is one of the best available. In fact, the entire series is marvellous. - @FalcoLombardi of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

Jan 25, 2016

Love this series, espesially how the characters are all flawed. Nathanian is a prissy brat and Bartimus is AMAZINGLY funny......recomend to everyone

Nov 06, 2015

This is a interesting book. If you like some of the initial harry potter series books, you would like this one. Its fast paced. One very unique thing I noticed about this book was its central character. It switches between the magicians apprentice nathaniel and the djinni, Bartimaeus. The perspective switches between a narration and the first person perspective of Bartimaeus. A lot is left for readers reason about the exact nature and personalities of the two lead characters.
It has been a good read and hence I am starting on on the next installment of this trilogy

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Aug 02, 2014

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Jun 27, 2011

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lucky thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over


Add a Summary
Jul 13, 2009

Nathaniel, a magician's apprentice, summons up the djinni Bartimaeus and instructs him to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from the powerful magician Simon Lovelace.

Feb 22, 2009

when Nathaniel is 5, he is taken in as the apprentice of a magician.
he is awed by his master's stupendous magical capability. little does he know that in only a few years, he will be capable of even more.
when Nathaniel summons up bartimeus, one of the most powerful genies in the magical world, he will dive deeper into the vast world of magic than he ever could have fathomed before

lucky Oct 24, 2008

Nathaniel has been adopted by a grudging middle-class magician. He is eager to learn how to summon demons, but has he finally crossed the line? Will it cost him his life?


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Aug 02, 2014

"Sometimes you human beings are so dense" -Bartimaeus


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