Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Bartimaeus Trilogy: Book Three – Ptolemy’s Gate

The Bartimaeus Trilogy: Book Three – Ptolemy’s Gate

Jonathan Stroud
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Hyperion, 2005   ISBN: 978-0786818617

Three years have passed since the Golem was unleashed on London. Seventeen year old Nathaniel is now the Information Minister, spending a great deal of his time trying to make the highly unsuccessful American War look better in the eyes of the public. He is also in charge of recruitment and his propaganda has, so far, kept the military supplied with a steady supply of eager young men. Unlike his powerful and suave master, the djinni Bartimaeus is in a very bad way. Nathaniel has not allowed him to go back to the Other Place to rest and recover and Bartimaeus is quite frankly falling apart.

On a wider front the situation in the Empire is looking very bad indeed. The war in America is going badly. Enemies in Europe are getting stirred up, and the commoners in Britain are very discontented with their lot. Riots and skirmishes with the police are commonplace now and an increasing number of commoners are apparently able to resist magic attacks. When information surfaces regarding a cell of terrorists, Nathaniel decides to use Bartimaeus and some of his other demons to gather information. Poor Bartimaeus is just not fit enough for the job but he does gather some extraordinary information which is shocking beyond belief.

Meanwhile Kitty Jones, whom Nathaniel believes was killed by the Golem, is trying to find a way to overcome the enmity between demons and humans. Her encounter with Bartimaeus during the Golem incident had a profound effect on her and she is determined to find a way to bridge the gap between her own species and the demons. One other person has tried to do this, Ptolemy, one of Bartimaeus' masters. Perhaps she will succeed where Ptolemy did not. Kitty decides that she, like Ptolemy before her, will go to the Other Place, the place where all demons live unless they are summoned by humans. Perhaps if she makes this gesture something can be done to heal the rift.

Nathaniel Bartimaeus and Kitty are brought together in the most extraordinary way when the mastermind behind the theft of the Amulet of Samarkand, the creation of the Golem, and the theft of the staff of Gladstone makes his final and most terrifying move. It would appear this one man, this master criminal, has one last plan which involves taking over the entire British Government. What he does not realize is that his plan is full of flaws and it is doomed to fail. The resulting disaster could very well be end of everything.

This final book in the Bartimaeus trilogy will keep readers riveted to their seats as they follow the extraordinary events in the story. As always Bartimaeus' narrative is delightfully funny with its wry sarcastic comments and its mocking disdain for humans, human history, human establishments and human mannerisms. Nathaniel's narratives provide an interesting view into the heart of this young man. We are able to see how Nathaniel changes, how he comes to realize that he, Nathaniel, has become something he despises. He has in fact become very much like the magician he once worked for.

This is a wonderful conclusion to what has been a fantastic journey. For readers who have a soft heart, a box of Kleenex is recommended for the concluding chapter.