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 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 British author Jonathan Stroud. The first edition was released by Miramax 1 January 2004 in the United Kingdom. There have been 6 million copies sold in 36 countries. It was a N.Y. Times bestseller in early 2004.
The book and series are about the power struggles in a magical dystopia centered in London, England featuring a mixture of modern and ancient, secular and mythological themes.
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. The beast is revealed to be an invulnerable clay golem created by a coterie of magicians in an attempt to discredit and undermine the government.
- Bartimaeus, a mid-level djinn and servant to Nathaniel
- Queezle, (female) demon friend of Bartimaeus
- Honorius, an afrit occupying Gladstone's bones, guarding Gladstone's tomb
- Kathleen "Kitty" Jones, mid-level member of the Resistance
- Terence Pennyfeather, leader of the Resistance
- Jakob Hyrnek, childhood friend of Kitty Jones
- Verroq, a Mercenary of great physical strength and stature
- Clem Hopkins, member and betrayer of The Resistance
- various members of the Resistance including Stanley, Fred,...
- Nathaniel (alias John Mandrake), junior magician in the Security Ministry of the government, and chief protagonist
- Henry Duvall, chief of the Night Police and commander of the golem
- Jane Farrar, assistant to chief of police
- Rupert Devereaux, Prime Minister of Britain
- Gladstone, a powerful dead 19th century British magician
- Jessica Whitwell, Minister of Security, Nathaniel's boss
- Quentin Makepeace, a British magician playwright and behind-the-scenes plotter
- Julius Tallow, Minister of Internal Affairs
- Harlequin, a British government spy stationed in Prague
- Kavka, a master Czech magician in Prague, creator of the golem
Organizations and unnamed characters
- imps, afrits, foliots, djinns, marids, and other spirits
- the benefactor (aka Quentin Makepeace) to the Resistance
- the Resistance, an organization attempting to overthrow the magicians' govermnent
- Magician's Council, the city council of London
- Night Police (werewolves), the main law enforcers of the city
Magical objects, spells and places
- seven planes - somewhat like 'dimensions': the first plane is that of earthly existence, in which all humans dwell. The higher planes may be inhabited by spirits only, and only spirits can normally see into them. The more powerful the spitrit, the higher the plane on which it can exist, and see into. Magicians can see into the first few planes using special devices.
- Staff of Gladstone, casts lightning bolts upon incantation; can destroy even very powerful spirits
- golem's eye, clay in the form of an eye which when inserted into the forehead of a golem, allows one to see through the eyes of the golem, and control it
- other place - a kind of dimension invisible and inaccessible to humans, where spirits normally dwell when not enslaved to a magician
- animation parchment - placed in golem's mouth, in conjunction with a golem's eye, animates a golem
- golem - a large homunculus made of clay and animated by means of a parchment (spell) and golem's eye. While not strictly a magical object, a golem is created by magic and immune to magical attack. Any such attempt is likely to result in a backlash that injures or kills the attacker
- Amulet of Samarkand - a magical amulet named for the ancient city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan, which makes the wearer invulnerable to magical attack
- vigilence spheres - eyes in the sky used for tracking and spying, though it isn't clear whether these are magical or mechanical objects
- Black Tumbler - spell that covers victim with smoke and flames, leaving him/her maimed or disfigured
- Seven-League Boots - boots that allow the wearer to take seven-league strides, thereby attaining great speed
London, England, approximately the current time. The only date reference is in the second book, which states that Gladstone has been dead 110 years. The historical figure William E. Gladstone died in 1898, so the timeframe of the second novel is 2008, and that of the first novel, two years before or 2006. The books were published in 2003 and 2004, so the author has written a (slightly) future history.
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, a magical talisman that casts lightning bolts upon saying the proper incantation, 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 attempts to drown 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 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 was saved from a drowning attempt by climbing into a boat via the 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.
- 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. In a Bartiforums post, Jonathan Stroud had this to say about the incongruity: "As far as Bart's 4th/14th level status goes: yep, it was a continuity error, but I never worried too much about it, because it's all relative and depends on the perspective of who's talking. If you're a humble foliot, for instance, Bart is probably way more than 14 levels above you. In fact, there ARE probably more than 14 sub-levels of djinn below him, but I gravitated towards 4th ultimately because the magicians, who won't be able to assess all the subtle gradations in spirit power, probably only count something like 7 or 9 basic levels - which would make 4 somewhere comfortably in the middle."
- Stroud, Jonathan. "no title".