Ptolemy's Gate: The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 3
Miramax, 2006 (2006)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
love spending time in the universe of the genial (as long as you stay in your circle)
Bartimaeus' universe. The trilogy of adventures involving the demon, his boy master Nathaniel, and valiant resistance fighter Kitty Jones started with
The Amulet of Samarkand
and continued in
The Golem's Eye
. The tales are told from Bartimaeus' perspective, complete with hilarious footnotes giving a
's eye view of mankind's (and especially magicians') foibles.
his episode shunts back and forth in time to show Bartimaeus' relationship with a humane master who was also a trusted friend, Prince Ptolemy of Egypt. In the modern day, the poor
is frayed, frazzled, and dangerously weak, not having been permitted by his master John Mandrake (once the boy Nathaniel and now the Empire's Information Minister) to return to the
and recover his essence. Mandrake has subdued '
the glimmerings of his conscience
' and is busy with Internal Affairs police work and propaganda, attempting to control a populace (more and more of whom are being born with the ability to see demons) on the verge of rebellion over high losses in the American war.
n the meantime, Kitty has been working two jobs under aliases, one with magician Mr. Button, from whom she's gradually learned
. Guess who she summons for a chat? You got it, and Bartimaeus is not happy about it. But he's committed to a
mission by Mandrake, to spy on a supposedly minor magician. He escapes that one by the skin of his frog's legs. Mandrake finds out that Kitty survived their previous adventure, and goes looking for her, pulling her into a trap set for him and others. Foolish humans have been duped by vengeful demons and all hell breaks loose in London. Only Kitty and Nathaniel can save the world, through separate perilous quests, in which neither is likely to survive.
n their darkest moment, Kitty reminds Nathaniel of
, emotions long forgotten by him as he followed the cruel path of magical ambition. And facing a heroic choice, Bartimaeus throws in his usual sarcastic footnote - to a comment that '
According to some, heroic deaths are admirable things
' he chips in '
Generally those who don't have to do it. Politicians and writers spring to mind.
' I really, really hope that the end of the trilogy does not signal the last of Bartimaeus' engaging adventures.
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