Jonathan Stroud, Author . Hyperion $17.95 (562p) ISBN 978-0-7868-1860-0

The sharp-witted shape-shifting djinni returns in Stroud's second volume of the Bartimaeus Trilogy, this time dealing with a mysterious attacker that is terrorizing London. Nathaniel (aka John Mandrake), now 14, is apprenticed to Jessica Whitwell (as established at the close of the first book), "one of the four most potent magicians in the government." When several terrorist attacks take place, the ruling party blames the Resistance, the young commoner idealists introduced in the previous title. Nathaniel, rapidly rising through the ranks and serving as assistant to the Internal Affairs minister, Julius Tallow, suspects something larger at work. He once again summons Bartimaeus; the djinni's charge: "Pursuit and identification of an unknown enemy of considerable power." When it appears that a golem is behind the attacks, the duo's mission takes them to Prague to uncover the magic behind the creature's appearance. Readers learn more about Kitty, previously met as a member of the Resistance, as the narrative shifts among her, Bartimaeus and Nathaniel. Kitty aids Mr. Pennyfeather, leader of the Resistance, in the group's effort to rob the grave of the legendary magician Gladstone to gain power. Bartimaeus once again steals the spotlight; his pages are the most entertaining (one of his signature footnotes points out that his guise as a feathered, winged serpent "used to bring the house down in Yucatan"). Although the thrill of discovery of Stroud's magical realm may have worn off slightly, fans of book one will enjoy revisiting this delectably uneasy bond between boy and djinni. Bartimaeus's pointed humor makes for a story worth savoring. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/16/2004
Release date: 08/01/2004
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-7569-6515-0
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Downloadable Audio - 978-0-7393-5319-6
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