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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.

©2010 Johnathan Stroud (P)2010 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fun story

Would you listen to The Amulet of Samarkand: The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 1 again? Why?

Yes, I have. The book is always A fun one.

What did you like best about this story?

The humor and the narrator.

Which character – as performed by Simon Jones – was your favorite?

Um, Bartimaeus.

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Alright, good, not great

I got the wrong impression from this book. I was expecting Magicians. Instead it was a book about humans controling demons and the age old struggle of high society politics. I did listen to the whole book but there were times I almost didn't. I don't think this has anything to do with the book being bad. It was just not the style I enjoy. The performance was very good and fitting for this book. So I gave it three stars as I recognise there isn't anything wrong with the book. I just didn't enjoy it much due to taste preference. I will not listen to other books in this series.

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Great Series, well performed.

Both my daughter and I really liked this series. She listened to it several times. The production values were great and the narration top notch. I'd highly recommend this for youth and adults alike.

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  • Liesl
  • BOULDER, COLORADO, United States
  • 04-06-12

FANTASTIC!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Amulet of Samarkand: The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 1 to be better than the print version?

Simon Jones does an incredible job getting just the right tone for our snarky Bartimaeus. The whole family (one husband, wife, 11yr old, 9yr old) all loved it. We listened to it on a long drive and ran inside to continue the story once we got home. Very exciting and an excellent performence.

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Entertaining!

This is an entertaining listen. The magically gifted boy and the laid back demon are an amusing combination. The narrator did a fine job! It made me want to hear the next book.

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  • Erin
  • Elk River, MN, United States
  • 10-27-11

Fantastic Fantasy!

Do not compare this book to any other. It simply won't do you any good. The Amulet of Samarkand is unique in plot, witty, exciting, history-packed and performed by an all-star narrator. For the non-literary types, it has a thrilling story line filled with imagination. For the literary-types, this book is pure gold. As a writer by trade and a picky novel reader, I can say that this is my fall-back out of all of my print and audiobooks. This is perhaps the best young-adult novel for you to use your credit on.

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  • dorothy
  • adair, IA, United States
  • 10-21-11

My kids loved this series

My daughter begged for this book. She is now begging for more audio books.

  • Overall
  • Julie
  • COTATI, CA, United States
  • 06-21-11

Terrific story + wonderful reader = fabulous!

I'd read Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy and loved it. When I saw it available at Audible, I had to have it. The entire trilogy is one of those rarities... rich, complex characters AND a terrific story line. In the Amulet of Samarkand, we meet the 5,000 year old djinni, Bartimaeus. He's quite the egotistical smarty-pants and acts as our guide to Stroud's universe. He's summoned by the magician, Nathaniel, and a prickly relationship develops between them. Stroud's universe is fascinating, with magicians controlling the British government, commoners getting trampled underfoot and... well, I don't want to reveal too much. It's a fun and engaging read.

And now I have to say that Simon Jones' reading was wonderful! I loved his interpretation of the characters, especially Bartimaeus. He's perfect! And he has wonderful range, portraying all sorts of characters... wealthy and poor, weak and strong, good and bad and everything in between.

  • Overall
  • Jennifer
  • Warrensburg, IL, United States
  • 04-03-11

Enjoyable series

I randomly discovered this series on Audible and decided to give it a try. The world of magicians in this book is quite different from usual magician stories. In this world Jonathan Stroud created, you are picked to be a magician and there is no difference between magical powers of commoners and magicians. It all depends on who controls the "spirits from the other place" or demons. If you think of demons as a bad thing, it is not exactly the case in these stories. They are called to do the bidding of the magician, and bound to that. I think the message sent is about the evils of greed and power.

  • Overall
  • erin
  • sherman oaks, CA, United States
  • 02-24-11

give me more!

almost there but not quite... great setup, great ideas, just not the sparkle that i needed... that extra something that makes it special and different from the countless other magician books... Bartimaeus is hysterical though, yet that adds more disappointment when i think about the potential lost with a lackluster story. i will finish the series, but am not in a hurry, which as an obsessive reader, says a lot! I am crossing my fingers that the story gets better as the books progress but am not holding my breath.