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The Amulet of Samarkand

The Amulet of Samarkand is the first book of the Bartimaeous Trilogy. Bartimaeous is a djinni (pron: jinnee). He falls under the third order of magical creatures and is the most exalted of them all. A lowly twelve-year-old, whose birth name is Nathaniel, summons him. The Amulet of SamarkandNathaniel appears to be unremarkable, but in reality he is a shrewd and calculating (though impatient) magician. A year back, a fast rising and powerful magician, Simon Lovelace, humiliated him in public - and Nathaniel craves his revenge. He knows that the Amulet of Samarkand is Lovelace`s most prized possession, and also that he acquired it by stealth and murder. In the beginning, Nathaniel`s intentions are merely to steal the Amulet, gather evidence of Lovelace`s fiendishness and in turn, humiliate and destroy him. However Nathaniel soon discovers that he underestimated the Amulet`s enormous power and Lovelace`s evil intentions. And Bartimaeous and he set on an adventure that surpasses even the five thousand and six year old djinni`s experience and expectations. The story is wonderfully full of rib tickling humour and wonder. The author, Jonathan Stroud has written three other novels: Buried Fire, The Leap and the Last Siege. Previously an editor in a London publishing firm, he is now a full-time writer.

Jonathan Stroud was born in Bedford and grew up in St Albans. He studied at York university.

He has a strong background in children`s books -working at Walker, in their Game Book and Non-Fiction departments and Kingfisher Publications, editing childrens non-fiction.

He has written and edited a number of game books and non-fiction titles for Walker Books. Jonathan now lives in St. Albans with his wife.

Excerpt
"Keep going,` I grinned. One day, if you work hard and stop all these stupid mistakes, you might make a real grownup wizard.
The kid said nothing. He got painfully to his feet. By pure fluke, he had dived pretty much straight down and so was still safe within his pentacle. I didn`t mind. I was looking forward to whatever mistake he would make next.
But his brain was working again. He stood still for a minute and took stock.
`Better get shot of me quickly,` I said in a helpful sort of way. `Old man Underwood will be coming to see what all the noise is about.`
`No, he won`t, We`re too high up.`
`Only two floors.`
`And he`s deaf in one ear. He never hears anything.`
`His missus -
`Shut up. I`m thinking. You did something then, both times…What was it…?`
He snapped his finger. `My name! That`s it! You used it to deflect my spells, curse you.`
I studied my fingernails, eyebrows raised. Might have, might not. It`s for me to know and you to find out.`
The kid stamped his foot again. `Stop it! Don`t speak to me like that!`
`Like what?`
`Like you just did! You`re speaking like a child.`
`Takes one to know one, bud.`
This was fun. I was really riling him. The loss of his name had made him lose a rag. He was seconds away from another attack, I could tell - he had the stance and everything. I adopted a similar, but defensive pose, like a sumo wrestler. I had taken Ptolemy`s shape. Ptolemy had been exactly this boy`s height, dark hair and everything (better looking by far, of course), so it was nice and symmetrical.
With an effort the kid controlled himself. You could see him flicking through all lessons, trying to remember what he should do. He had realized that an ordinary quick-fire punishment was out of the question now: I`d just send it back at him.
`I`ll find another way,` he muttered darkly. `Wait and see.`
`Ooh, I`m really scared,` I said. `Watch me shiver.`

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