Ptolemy's Gate

Jonathan Stroud, Author . Hyperion/Miramax $17.95 (501p) ISBN 978-0-7868-1861-7

Three years have passed since the events of The Golem's Eye , but there's more trouble than ever in the young magician Nathaniel's London. At 17, he's climbed to the highest ranks of the British government but his now-"crippling" workload includes trying to sell an unpopular war in the American wilderness to the commoners who must fight it, and battling terrorist attacks and political corruption on the homefront. There's enough of an explosive plot in this final installment of Stroud's trilogy to fuel several novels. After two years of nonstop service to Nathaniel (known as John Mandrake), Bartimaeus has had it: "Irritable and jaded, with a perpetual itch in my essence that I cannot scratch," is how the djinni puts it. Kitty, the commoner and former Resistance leader, plays the Hermione Granger role of social conscience here: her new mission is to break the bonds that enslave the djinn to the ruling magician elite. The narrative shifts among these three, although as usual, Bartimaeus—even in his melancholy mood—steals the show. (It is an unusual novel whose best lines appear in the footnotes, but the djinni's wisecracking asides continue to be well worth the disruption in narrative flow.) This final volume fills in Bartimaeus's backstory, exposing a vulnerability not seen before, and preparing readers—after a galloping run against imps, Pestilence, Detonations, shields, charms and countercharms—for a potent ending that is at once unexpected and wholly earned. Ages 10-up. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 01/23/2006
Release date: 12/01/2005
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 501 pages - 978-0-7868-3868-4
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-7393-5313-4
Paperback - 334 pages - 978-89-6030-240-2
Compact Disc - 13 pages - 978-0-8072-1981-2
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-307-28571-3
Open Ebook - 528 pages - 978-1-4464-8032-8
Hardcover - 514 pages - 978-0-385-60616-5
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