The Amulet of Samarkand: The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 1 : Bartimaeus

  • by Jonathan Stroud
  • Narrated by Simon Jones
  • Series: Bartimaeus
  • 13 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Nathaniel is eleven-years-old and a magician's apprentice, learning the traditional art of magic. All is well until he has a life-changing encounter with Simon Lovelace, a magician of unrivaled ruthlessness and ambition. When Lovelace brutally humiliates Nathaniel in public, Nathaniel decides to speed up his education, teaching himself spells far beyond his years. With revenge on his mind, he masters one of the toughest spells of all and summons Bartimaeus, a five-thousand-year-old djinni, to assist him. But summoning Bartimaeus and controlling him are two different things entirely, and when Nathaniel sends the djinni out to steal Lovelace's greatest treasure, the Amulet of Samarkand, he finds himself caught up in a whirlwind of magical espionage, murder and rebellion.
Set in a modern-day London spiced with magicians and mystery, The Amulet of Samarkand is an extraordinary, edge-of-your-seat thriller with many unexpected twists. Following Bartimaeus and Nathaniel in turn, the story introduces us to two wonderfully memorable characters destined to go through many adventures together and bound by a spell that is nearly impossible to break.

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What the Critics Say

"One of the liveliest and most inventive fantasies of recent years." (Booklist)
"Spun into surprisingly colorful cloth." (The New York Times Book Review)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Terrific Trilogy

'The Bartimaeus Trilogy' gets 5 stars for all three books, not only for plot and story, but for Simon Jones' award-winning narration.

Set in a London full of greedy and back-stabbing magicians, who get their power by summoning and enslaving entities (not Demons; Bartimaeus finds that insulting) from the 'Other Place', we first meet Nathaniel as a 12-year-old magician's apprentice. Talented, eager and impatient, he's not always a 'good' boy or even very likeable. We can understand him though, and see why he acts like he sometimes does; it is the way other magicians behave, and we can see what motivates him and why. Deep down, we also realize he does indeed have a caring and good soul.

Bartimaeus, the 5000-year-old djinni Nathaniel enslaves to do his bidding, is a riot, and also has a few tricks up his sleeve to keep Nathaniel in line. He is one of the funniest beings I've ever come across. Bartimaeus is also a character with many sides, and his relationship with another young master thousands of years ago is actually very emotional as we learn more about it over the course of the three books.

Kitty completes the trinity of main characters, and gives our third point-of-view, that of a commoner fighting the oppression of the magic users. At first eager, then disillusioned, and in the finale more enlightened than any one, she provides a good balance to the goings on of Nathaniel and the upper-class of magicians.

Over the course of these three books, our three heroes change and mature, taking us along on a thrilling ride full of witty humor, scathing sarcasm, melodrama, tragedy and pathos.

Simon Jones does the story proud with brilliant narration and voices. Ranked as a Golden Voice by AudioFile Magazine, nominated for nine 'Audie' awards -two of them won- in 2006, he was also named 'Narrator of the Year'(2005) by Publishers Weekly. Star of stage and screen, we can all be thankful he still finds time to tell us stories like this one.
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- Randy

Favorite Book in a Long Time!

I love listening to books when I can't read them. But I am rather picky about narrators. With the wrong narrator, I can't even make it through a book I highly enjoyed reading. In the car, or working around the house with my iPod docked, I listen to children's books because I have two small children and I don't want them hearing profanity or adult content. All that being said, this is the ONLY book that I have ever become completely enthralled with in the first 5 minutes of listening! The author was extremely witty and Simon Jones does an excellent job. I can't say enough about Simon Jones with this set of books!!! He easily replaced Jim Dale as my favorite narrator (which I thought could never happen). Some kids books are hard to listen to- this one is not. I can't imagine anyone, old or young, not enjoying this book and this series!
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- Emiko

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-24-2003
  • Publisher: Listening Library