Ptolemy’s Gate (The Bartimaeus Trilogy Book Three) by Jonathan Stroud © 2006

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    Ptolemy’s Gate (The Bartimaeus Trilogy  Book Three)  by  Jonathan Stroud  © 2006 Miramax Books  ISBN  1-4231-0116-2   Hardbound  501 pages  $17.95 (U.S.)


    Bartimaeus, the sharp-tongued, ill-tempered djinni is back in this final installment of his story.  He is still in the service of Mr. John Mandrake (nee Nathaniel).  The two previous books (The Amulet of Samarkand and The Golem’s Eye) have given us the background and built up our perceptions of the world inhabited by the characters, a world similar to the modern one with a few notable exceptions – Britain still rules America and her empire (although there is revolution brewing in Boston); magic is, if not common, an ordinary part of life; magicians rule the empire; and the commoners are forming a Resistance to that rulership.


    As I remarked previously, I have a soft spot for snarky demons (Aahz in the Myth series by Robert Aspirin comes to mind).  In fact, that is one of the reasons I have bought this series to review over the years.  But on top of that is Mr. Stroud’s style of writing.


    The battle between rival magicians; the rising resentment of the commoners; the disquiet in the eider world are all having their effects on Whitehall and the British empire at large.  Add into the mix the possibility of Mr. Mandrake developing a conscience (what is the world coming to?) and you have a recipe for confusion.


    This is a very different world from that occupied by those youngsters at Hogwarts and the employees of the Ministry of Magic.  This world is darker, nastier, and more dependent on the enslavement of demons.  But, what happens when the demons (okay, it’s only one to start with, but you know how these things tend to snowball) find a way to break the spells binding them?


    The commoners are developing a resistance to magic (called resilience by the ruling magicians).  They are beginning to become more aware of it.  Some of them (okay, again it’s only one) begin to learn magic without working their way through the apprentice system (dear me, what is the world coming to?)


    I won’t tell you how the story ends.  In fact I won’t even hint at the ending.  I will say that some of the battle scenes approaching that end seem a bit too pat.  That’s not to say that they aren’t well-written.  They are.  But you can definitely see them coming.


    If you get the chance to purchase the entire set at once (assuming you haven’t been reading it right along), do so.  In that way, the plot lines will be fresh as you make the change from one book to the next.


    This is an excellent series for those who prefer a bit more mature approach to a magical world, even if the hero isn’t much older than a certain scar-marked young wizard.  Read it and enjoy it.


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