The Golem's Eye

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The Golem's Eye
The Golem's Eye.png
Author Jonathan Stroud
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series The Bartimaeus Trilogy
Genre Children's, Fantasy novel
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date
1 January 2004
Media type Print (paperback & hardback)
Pages 570 pp (first edition, hardcover)
ISBN 0-552-55273-9
OCLC 224065200
Preceded by The Amulet of Samarkand
Followed by Ptolemy's Gate

The Golem's Eye is a children's novel of alternate history, fantasy and magic reminiscent of the Harry Potter series but much darker in tone. It is the second book in the Bartimaeus trilogy written by Jonathan Stroud. The first edition was released by Miramax 1 January 2004 in the United Kingdom.

Synopsis[edit]

Like the rest of the Bartimaeus Trilogy, The Golem's Eye is set in somewhat modern-day London in an alternate history in which magic is commonplace and magicians are an accepted part of society; in fact, most magicians are in positions of power. They comprise the government, and commoners are treated as inferior. The main character is Nathaniel, a magician who works for the government in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. His (unwilling) partner is the wisecracking spirit Bartimaeus. Together they embark on a quest to discover the secret behind the commoners' resistance to magic and the mysterious beast that is stalking the city of London.

In an echo of Kafka's parody of existentialist cause and effect, Kitty eventually wakes up to the realization that in using demons to fight magicians, the Resistance has become that which they loathe.

Principal characters[edit]

  • Nathaniel, junior magician and chief protagonist
  • Jessica Whitwell, Minister of Security, Nathaniel's boss
  • Julius Tallow, Minister of Internal Affairs
  • Bartimaeus, a djinn servant to Nathaniel
  • Kitty Jones, mid-level member of the Resistance
  • Fred, subordinate member of the Resistance
  • Stanley, subordinate member of the Resistance
  • Mr. Pennyfeather, leader of the Resistance
  • Mr. Hopkins, an informant for the Resistance
  • Jakob Hyrnek, childhood friend of Kitty Jones
  • Simpkin, a foliot
  • Queezle, (female) demon friend of Bartimaeus
  • Rupert Devereaux, prime minister of Britain
  • Henry Duvall, chief of the Night Police and commander of the golem
  • Honorius, an afrit
  • Gladstone, a powerful dead British magician
  • Harlequin, a British government spy stationed in Prague
  • Kavka, a master Czech magician in Prague
  • Verroq, a Mercenary

Unnamed characters

  • minor spirits
  • 'the benefactor'
  • demons
  • Mercenaries
  • afrits
  • djinns
  • foliots
  • golems
  • the Resistance
  • Council
  • Night Police
  • Underwoods

Unexplained objects and places

  • Staff of Gladstone

Plot[edit]

The book begins two years after the events of The Amulet of Samarkand. Nathaniel is apprenticed to the Minister of Security, Jessica Whitwell; and is working as an understudy to the Minister of Internal Affairs, Julius Tallow. At the exceedingly young age of fourteen he is now a government official and a competent magician, but he no longer uses his original servant, Bartimaeus. When the book starts, he is working on a case involving a shadowy group of rebelling commoners, known as the Resistance. Nathaniel knows only a few facts about the group including three of their members' names: Kitty, Fred, and Stanley from his unpleasant encounter with them from Book One. He tries to search for these three through written records but to no avail. He disguises several minor spirits as commoners and sends them out to find the Resistance, but they too find no trace of the elusive group.

Kitty Jones is on a mission for the Resistance during a performance of The Swans of Araby in a posh London theatre, and is having doubts about the point of her working for the Resistance. Her reverie takes her back to her childhood reasons for joining the Resistance: she and her friend Jakob Hyrnek were recruited by a man she met who offered to pay her fine for a childhood offense. That man later turned out to be Mr. Pennyfeather, leader of the Resistance. She was soon placed in command of small groups of raiders, vandalising magicians' property. Her reverie is broken by intermission of the play. They leave the theatre and go to the nearby carpet shop that sells posh carpets for magicians. They break in, steal some documents and magical items, and Fred and Stanley set fire to the shop with an Inferno stick. Kitty is worried about being caught and harming commoners, but Stanley and Fred disagree, ignoring her protests against the fire. They return to the theatre in time for the rest of the play.

Afterwards, several major shops in London are broken into by a mysterious enemy; everyone sent to investigate or on duty there is killed. From the foliot Simpkin's point of view, he sees the attacker as a cloud of darkness. Nathaniel switches to investigating the incident, discovering that six policemen and eight spirits including Simpkin were also killed by the creature. Most of the government suspects the Resistance of being behind the attack but Nathaniel thinks otherwise, citing the enormous scale of the attack. Nathaniel and his master, Ms. Whitwell, are called to meet with the prime minister, Rupert Devereaux. He orders Nathaniel to find the Resistance and put a stop to their activities. Nathaniel returns home, searches for a competent demon for surveillance, and finally decides to summon Bartimaeus again, remembering various woefully unsuccessful demons he previously experimented with. He instructs Bartimaeus to find the unknown attacker, identify it, and destroy it if he can.

In the meantime, Bartimaeus meets an old friend named Queezle, and the two hunt for the mystery attacker, commanding a force composed of multiple djinn and foliots. Eventually, as Bartimaeus and Queezle split up to patrol, the attacker runs across Queezle and promptly kills her. Hearing her scream, Bartimaeus returns to assist her. He arrives too late, but is able to track the attacker to the British Museum. He destroys the perceived black mist which conceals the attacker, and discovers that it is a golem, unharmable by djinn and other spirits. However, the golem attacks him as he flees, crushing him under an entire section of the Museum. Bartimaeus is rescued the following morning, and reveals the marauder's identity to Whitwell, Duvall, Nathaniel, and Tallow. Whitwell then orders Nathaniel to travel to Prague, the origin of golem magic, and find out who controls the golem.

Nathaniel travels to Prague to collaborate with a spy named Harlequin to discover who the magician that created the golem spell is. During the second meeting, the Czech police engage him and Bartimaeus, and kill Harlequin, after he gives Nathaniel the magician's name: Kavka. Bartimaeus easily evades the police with Nathaniel, and they arrive at the magician Kavka's house. After 'breaking in', they convince Kavka not to create a second golem. The dreaded Mercenary from the previous book suddenly appears, and casually threatens the three of them. Kavka then destroys the golem manuscript, and a combat scene follows, ending with Bartimaeus blasting Verroq, the Mercenary, through a window with a hurricane, hurling him hundreds of feet away, but not killing him.

Kitty, while this occurs, meets with her friends in the Resistance, including their informant, Mr. Hopkins, and they are told that they will raid Gladstone's tomb in Westminster Abbey for artifacts of great power. Kitty meets with a magician, whose identity remains unknown and is referred to as 'the benefactor', and who gives them the materials to enter the tomb. That night, they enter Gladstone's tomb. As they loot his coffin, Stanley is killed by a powerful afrit named Honorius, caged in Gladstone's bones. The afrit then engages Fred in a blade fight, which delays it long enough for the rest of the living Resistance members to flee the tomb. As Kitty urges her aged leader, Mr. Pennyfeather, up the steps, Fred is killed by the afrit's antique sword, and the afrit quickly drags Mr. Pennyfeather off. At this point, as Kitty flees, the afrit calls her back, imitating Mr. Pennyfeather. Kitty hesitates, and Honorius attempts to kill her; she is saved by her pendant of silver due to all demons' antipathy to the metal, and Honorius' distraction at his rediscovering of the stars. She escapes, with only the staff of Gladstone in exchange for her friends' deaths.

Nathaniel then returns to London, whereupon he is immediately whisked away with Whitwell to an emergency meeting with the prime minister. Nathaniel learns of the Resistance's raiding of Gladstone's tomb, and learns that Honorius is terrorizing all of London. Nathaniel sends Bartimaeus to take care of Honorius, and Bartimaeus eventually drowns Honorius in the Thames, which should have killed him. Bartimaeus returns to Nathaniel, without much praise. Nathaniel then hatches a plan to lure Kitty Jones, who possesses a historical and powerful artifact, Gladstone's Staff, into his clutches, by kidnapping her childhood friend Jakob Hyrnek. When Kitty goes to rescue her friend, she is attacked by the Night Police. Nathaniel, angry at the Night Police's intervention, sends Bartimaeus to escape with Kitty. He does so and takes her to the abandoned building where Nathaniel and Bartimaeus hid after the death of the Underwoods.

There, the two share an enlightening conversation about the endless cycle of conflict between humans and spirits. Meanwhile, Jakob Hyrnek and Nathaniel are apprehended by the Night Police and are taken before the Council, who decide that if he can recover the Staff, he will be set free. Vigilance spheres follow them to the building, and Kitty reveals where she hid the Staff. She takes them there, and they recover the Staff. However, when Kitty and Jakob attempt an escape, they are confronted by Honorius, who is revealed to have climbed on a boat from an anchor chain. The ensuing chaos is interrupted when the golem intervenes. When the vigilance spheres flee, Nathaniel tells Kitty he will give her and Hyrnek one day to leave the country. Honorius is destroyed by the golem, and Nathaniel attempts to destroy the clay beast with Gladstone's Staff. He fails, and is knocked unconscious by the magical backlash. Kitty takes a desperate gamble, and yanks the animating parchment from the golem's mouth, thus saving Nathaniel. Jakob and Kitty leave the scene, and when Nathaniel comes to, he and Bartimaeus trail the golem, which is returning to its master. Henry Duvall, the Chief of Police, is revealed to be the perpetrator, and is arrested. A few days later, Duvall attempts escape, unintentionally killing himself. And much to Nathaniel's displeasure, the Staff is stored away.

Errors[edit]

  • In The Amulet of Samarkand, Bartimaeus is said to be a djinni of the fourteenth level. But, in The Golem's Eye, it says that Bartimaeus is a djinni of the fourth level. Jonathan Stroud has admitted this to be a mistake.[citation needed]