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The Amulet of Samarkand

Narrated by: Steven Pacey
Series: Bartimaeus , Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 30 mins
Categories: Children, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
4.5 out of 5 stars (58 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus is summoned by Nathaniel, a young magician's apprentice, he expects to have to do nothing more taxing than a little levitation or a few simple illusions. But Nathaniel is a precocious talent and has something rather more dangerous in mind: revenge. Against his will, Bartimaeus is packed off to steal the powerful Amulet of Samarkand from Simon Lovelace, a master magician of unrivalled ruthlessness and ambition. And before long, both djinni and apprentice are caught up in a terrifying flood of magical intrigue, murder and rebellion.

Set in a modern-day London controlled by magicians, this hilarious, electrifying thriller will enthral listeners of all ages.

©Jonathan Stroud; (P)Random House

Critic Reviews

"Steven Pacey's ebullient narration of Jonathan Stroud's The Amulet of Samarkand is a tour de force. Amulet is the first volume of a trilogy centred on the anarchic and enterprising djinni Bartimaeus, a powerful spirit whose experiences stretch back to Ptolemy, his favourite master. He is surprised to find himself summonded by Nathaniel, a precocious self-taught twelve-year old apprentice in magic... Stroud is a convincing manipulator of magic, and adults will enjoy the antagonistic alliance and perilous adventures as much as children will." (The Times)
"Drama, humour and hypnotically engaging storytelling." (The Independent)
"The truly original touch is the way Stroud alternates Nathaniel's story with the djinni's own knowing and irascible first-person narrative." (Guardian Review)
"The narrative slips skilfully from first person to third and back, and Bartimaeus's voice is laugh-out-loud sassy, while Nathaniel's story has an engaging poignancy as he tries to prove himself in a world in which he has always been despised." (Sunday Times)

What members say

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  • Laurel
  • Adelaide, Australia
  • 20-05-2015

Great read

This is clearly going to be a family favourite once my son gets hold of it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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An amiable romp through fantasy

I haven't read the books and do understand how those who have would be disappointed about the lack of the footnotes, that seem to place a very important role in the book itself. But as a listener, I really enjoyed it. I don't think it's brilliant, but it's well written, fun and I think kids would adore it. And after some dodgy Audible narrators, Steven Pacey was an absolute delight.

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Brilliant story, brilliant narration

Brilliant story, brilliant narration, Another series to escape reality into that i struggled to stop myself from going just one more chapter every time i ought to have been doing something else,

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Beautifully poetic!

Seamlessly written, an amazingly detailed fantastical world close to Harry Potter itself. Not usually by cup of tea but now I can't wait to start reading the next one. Jonathan Stroud got me hooked!

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Delighted

A delight from start to finish. Beautifully written and read. I definitely recommend this trilogy.

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  • Rob
  • 03-09-2007

Truly Magical

I am a big fan of this whole trilogy and the audio version certainly does the book justice - you will not be disapointed with this one. Loved by children from 7 up and the parents too!

Imagine a world ruled by magicians deriving their power from their ability to control Djinn. The Sassy Djinni Bartimaeus is summoned by Nathaniel, a 12 year old apprentice. Very clever and thoroughly enjoyable mayhem ensues.

Highlights include cunning use of accepted mythology to enhance reality, superb characterisation, great villains and a very interesting sideways look at the recent past of Europe. Listeners will be delighted to learn that there is not a hint of Harry Potterness about this.

Even better is that there are two more books in the series which build on the plot very effectively.

You really want to download this!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Wong Hsien Hsen
  • 05-09-2017

Disappointed with abridged version, but great

Any additional comments?

I've read this trilogy, plus the additional Ring of Solomon, countless times over the years, each time finding the series tremendously enjoyable and entertaining. Not many books in the magic fantasy genre tell the story from the pov of the non-magician. This particular djinni is witty and cheeky. I recommend this book to anyone I know that enjoys any kind of fantasy fiction.

That said, I have to say I'm extremely disappointed this was an abridged version. One unique feature of this book is that the author has included footnotes, where the djinni telling the story has included interesting (and often sarcastic) snippets in them, such as cats having the ability to see up to plane #2, while some extra perceptive humans can see parts of the higher planes, and therefore claim they can see ghosts. Unfortunately, these footnotes are not included in this version. I guess an abridged version is the best way they can include some sense of these footnotes in the narration, but I find the footnotes to be much more enjoyable.

I'll probably stop listening after book 1 and continue reading e-books myself for the rest of the series, so that I can refer to the footnotes.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sean
  • 20-05-2013

Thoroughly enjoyed it

Where does The Amulet of Samarkand rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I haven't listened to too many audio books but this one is awesome.

What about Steven Pacey’s performance did you like?

I felt like he captured the way Bartimaeus would talk, he was excellent to listen to.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed multiple times. Highly recommend this book for a good time.