Book 3 in The Bartimaeus Trilogy
The assassins dropped into the palace grounds at midnight, four fleet shadows dark against the wall. The fall was high, the ground was high; they made no more sound on impact than the pattering of rain.
The third book in this series, Ptolemy’s Gate is the final chapter in the story of the djinni Bartimaeus and his master Nathaniel, aka John Mandrake. Three years have passed since the end of the second book, and in that time Nathaniel has become more and more John Mandrake the magician, and less and less Nathaniel the person. He has also kept Bartimaeus around for far too long, two years without respite, and now the djinni is far from his best, weak and almost powerless, yet never without a sarcastic remark to make.
Kitty also makes a return in this book, although this time without the Resistance. She has grown disillusioned with the futility of trying to battle the magicians, and the constant talk but little action from many of the “commoner’s groups”. But she does have a plan of her own. One that involves Bartimaeus and his past, and the reason he so often takes on the guise of an Egyptian boy.
As in the other books we get a variety of narrators, each with their own style and humour, from Bartimaeus to Nathaniel, to Kitty to an omniscent narrator. My favourite has to be Bartimaeus, maybe because I am partial to footnotes and sarcasm.
This is a little dark in places, but overall a fun, entertaining, humourous read. I’m also tempted to say that it may possibly have political overtones, what with an overly authoritarian government spying on its own people “for their own good” but I won’t bring that up. There are some very nice touches throughout the book, whether that is rewriting history and myth so that events fit into this alternate world, or just Bartimaeus’ views on the world. Well worth reading.