The Golem's Eye
|The Golem's Eye|
|Series||The Bartimaeus Trilogy|
|Genre||Children's, Fantasy novel|
|1 January 2004|
|Media type||Print (paperback & hardback)|
|Pages||570 pp (first edition, hardcover)|
|Preceded by||The Amulet of Samarkand|
|Followed by||Ptolemy's Gate|
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. Kitty is having doubts about the point of her working for the Resistance, and she begins to reminisce about her past and why she joined the Resistance. She remembers her childhood, where she lived, somewhat poorly, next door to a Czech family who owned a factory that printed books for the magicians. Kitty often played cricket with her friend Jakob Hyrnek, son of the family that lived next door. One day, she accidentally hit a ball through the window of a magician's car as it passed. The magician came out and ordered his demon, a green monkey called Nemaides, to perform the "Black Tumbler", a magical attack, on Kitty and Jakob.
Kitty is then woken up from her dream-like reverie by Fred and Stanley, the Resistance members she is commanding, who chastise her for sleeping on the job, as the intermission of the play has started. 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.
The book returns to Kitty and her memories, continuing from where they left off earlier. Kitty and Jakob had both been sent to the hospital, and Jakob was badly burnt. Kitty escaped mostly unharmed—although she did not know it at the time, this is due to her innate resistance to magic. Kitty attempts to sue the magician but soon finds the justice system tilted in favor of magicians, and the magician gets away without charge, claiming Kitty and Jakob were trying to rob him. Kitty is fined £100 for compensation to the magician for the damage to his car, and she also has to pay the magician's penalty (£500) for coming late, as per tradition which dictates that fines awarded to winners are passed on to losers of the cases. She thus has to pay £600. As Kitty distraughtly leaves the court, a man asks her to meet up with him later, assuring her he will pay the full fine. She is rather suspicious of the stumbling little old man, but when she returns home and talks to her parents, she finds out the only way they can come up with the money is to sell the house. Kitty quickly decides to meet the man, who turns out to be the leader of the Resistance by the name of Mr. Pennyfeather. This eventually leads to her joining the Resistance, and being placed in command of small groups of raiders, vandalising magicians' property.
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.
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. 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. Kitty retreats and meets Anne. As they escape the Abbey, Anne is killed by the afrit. 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 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. 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.
Literary significance and criticism
While the book was well-received, some critics claimed that Bartimaeus's role was diminished too much in the book. Nathaniel also seemed "more aggressive", which was thought to make fans sympathise less with him.
- 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.