Cover image for The Amulet of Samarkand
The Amulet of Samarkand
Stroud, Jonathan.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Hyperion Books For Children, [2003]

Physical Description:
462 pages ; 22 cm.
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.
General Note:
"Miramax books."
Reading Level:
800 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG+ 5.9 19.0 73958.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 4.8 26 Quiz: 34370 Guided reading level: Y.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult
X Young Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Young Adult
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult
X Young Adult Fiction Fantasy

On Order



Presenting a thrilling new voice in children's literature-a witty, gripping adventure story featuring a boy and his not-so-tame djinni.
Nathaniel is a young magician's apprentice, taking his first lessons in the arts of magic. But when a devious hotshot wizard named Simon Lovelace ruthlessly humiliates Nathaniel in front of everyone he knows, Nathaniel decides to kick up his education a few notches and show Lovelace who's boss. With revenge on his mind, he masters one of the toughest spells of all: summoning the all-powerful djinni, Bartimaeus. But summoning Bartimaeus and controlling him are two different things entirely, and when Nathaniel sends the djinni out to steal the powerful Amulet of Samarkand, Nathaniel finds himself caught up in a whirlwind of magical espionage, murder, blackmail, and revolt.
Set in a modern-day London spiced with magicians and mayhem, this extraordinary, funny, pitch-perfect thriller will dazzle the myriad fans of Artemis Fowl and the His Dark Materials trilogy. And with the rights sold in more than a dozen countries, and a major motion picture in the works, the Bartimaeus trilogy is on the fast track to becoming a classic.

Author Notes

Jonathan Stroud, best selling fantasy ficton author, was born in Bedford, England on October 27, 1970. While growing up he experimented with different kinds of writing. He went on to read English Literature at York University. After graduation he worked in editing at Walker Books, in London and continued there for several years. His first novel, When Buried Fire, was published in 1999. In 2001 he began writing full-time. He is the author of the wildly popular Bartimaeus Sequence and Lockwood and Co, series.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Gr. 6-12. Picture an alternative London where the Parliament, composed of powerful magicians, rules the British empire. When five-year-old Nathaniel's parents sell him to the government to become a magician's apprentice, the boy is stripped of his past and is given over for training to a grim, mid-level magician from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Over the next seven years, Nathaniel studies the lessons given by his cold master, but in secret he delves into advanced magic books, gaining skill beyond his years: he summons a djinn to steal the powerful amulet of Samarkand. Inspired by a desire for revenge, this bold act leads to danger and death. Nathaniel's third-person narrative alternates with the first-person telling of Bartimaeus the djinn, a memorable and highly entertaining character. Rude, flippant, and cocky, his voice reflects the injustice of his millennia of service to powerful magicians who have summoned him to do their capricious bidding. His informative and sometimes humorous asides appear in footnotes, an unusual device in fiction, but one that serves a useful purpose here. Stroud creates a convincingly detailed secondary world with echoes of actual history and folklore. The strong narrative thrust of the adventure will keep readers involved, but the trouble that is afoot in London extends beyond the exploits here. The unresolved mysteries will be more fully explored in the next two volumes of the trilogy. One of the liveliest and most inventive fantasies of recent years. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Nathaniel is a 12-year-old magician in training in an alternate London where magic is real and perilous creatures and artifacts abound. Bartimaeus is a cocky, 5,000-year-old djinni whom Nathaniel summons to help him get revenge against an arrogant adult wizard. The plot involves stealing the powerful amulet of Samarkand, which Bartimaeus does, setting off a series of increasingly dangerous events. Stroud's popular prose fantasy series elevates a familiar situation with multileveled characters; sharp, evocative writing; and a fascinating setting of wizardly government that, far from being wondrous, is more often mundane or selfish. This graphic novel adaptation by Donkin and Sullivan wisely keeps all the virtues of the original, adding fantastic visuals of this complicated world and colorful characters. While sometimes the narration goes on longer than is strictly necessary when a picture is supposed to be telling a story, it's usually in the service of Stroud's lively dialogue. The comics version doesn't quite improve the tale-Sullivan's characters tend to have only a handful of expressions-but it does justice to the imaginative, engrossing original. Ages 9-12. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Often described as the anti-Harry Potter, The Amulet of Samarkand also stars a boy wizard in a magical modern-day London. Nathaniel is a snot-nosed apprentice seeking revenge on the magician who humiliated him. To that end, he summons a 5000-year-old djinni, Bartimaeus, and forces him to steal a powerful amulet. Listen Up: Jones is a past winner of Audiofile magazine's Golden Voice Award and played Bridey in the famed PBS miniseries Brideshead Revisited. The story alternates between third- and first-person narration, with delightful asides from the not-so-easily-controlled Bartimaeus. In the text, these asides take the form of footnotes, which can interrupt the flow on the page. Jones's skillful reading smoothes out the bumps and makes this first book in a complex trilogy even more fun to listen to than it is to read.-Angelina Benedetti, King Cty. Lib. Syst., WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-9-Eleven-year-old Nathaniel is a magician in training. So far, his life hasn't been easy, having been sold to the government by his birth parents when he was just five years old. His master, a cowardly magician of mediocre ability, cares little for Nathaniel's welfare. Set in a modern-day London where magicians are prevalent in a multi-layered world populated by a wide variety of magical entities, Nathaniel might well be Harry Potter's darker cousin. And, like Harry, Nathaniel practices his magic arts secretly, and progresses far beyond his years. But when he is publicly humiliated by a more powerful magician, Simon Lovelace, Nathaniel, unlike Harry, vows revenge. He summons Bartimaeus, a 5,000-year old genie (djinni) to steal Lovelace's Amulet of Samarkand, a talisman that protects him from the dark arts of others. Ironically, Nathaniel finds himself overmatched trying to control Bartimaeus, who shines in his role as witty immortal and wise magical lackey. British author Jonathan Stroud's appealing story (Hyperion) stars a defiant and reckless youngster bent upon revenge and a djinni whose ennui at carrying out the nefarious tasks of others is hilarious. Read by actor Simon Jones, the delivery adds the perfect touch to the novel's tongue-in-cheek tone. Stroud switches points of view from Bartimaeus' flippant, conspiratorial tone to third-person narrative for Nathaniel, a maneuver that casts listeners as observers and confidantes to the action. Jones's reading of Bartimaeus' sarcastic irreverence toward wizard-kind makes for many amusing detours. A sophisticated fantasy that will appeal to Eoin Colfer neophytes, diehard J.K. Rowling fans, or anyone looking for a good-vs.-evil tale with a bit more dash and depth.-Celeste Steward, Contra Costa County Library, Clayton, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.