Ptolemy's Gate (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book #3)

by Jonathan Stroud

Paperback, 2007



Call number

PB Str

Call number

PB Str

Local notes

PB Str




Disney-Hyperion (2007), Edition: Reprint, 512 pages


Dangerous adventures continue for the djinni Bartimaeus and his master, seventeen-year-old Nathaniel, a powerful magician who is serving as England's minister of information.



Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

512 p.; 5.25 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member Lman
Bartimaeus is back… and how! And I’m glad. In this final book his substantial presence and expected sharp-tongued vernacular, the pithy commentary alongside the customary pearls of footnotes, but with a not-so-alien attitude as he'd like us believe - all this ensures, once again, a story-line
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which delights, entertains and ultimately satisfies.

Set another few years after the last book, Ptolemy’s Gate finds Bartimaeus initially suffering under a prolonged spell of summoning by the now Whitehall Minister for Information, John Mandrake; and without the necessary respite for his essence, he is steadily losing his strength, and thus his power. In contrast, Kitty Jones is thriving and her power is burgeoning, literally – inasmuch as life for a commoner hiding her identity can allow. And, inevitably the paths of Kitty, Nathaniel and Bartimaeus intercept again, but not through anticipated directions, as they are forced to unite in a desperate fight to save the whole of London and perhaps the world. The original conspiracy begun three books back, and the identity of the main players and the desired outcome for their plots are finally revealed, along with the ultimate disclosure of the basis to the relationship between Bartimaeus and Ptolemy; the background, the rapport and the cornerstone for their bond so strong, that it still influences the actions of the djinni thousands of years later.

Ptolemy’s Gate is a fitting finale to a wonderful trilogy. Jonathan Stroud has again used his mastery of language, and a superb writing skill, to mould together such assorted characters into a robust, convincing but sympathetic totality of a fantastical world. Whilst these books are pointedly directed to a youthful appeal, they hold much for a reader of any age, with their clever ingenuity, brilliant other-world constructs and analogy to political conniving, upheaval and power-plays, often applicable to many instances today. Fittingly, as Nathaniel changes his name so, too, does the story complement his persona, becoming obnoxious and unlikeable as John Mandrake, but redeeming and uplifting as the young magician returns to his roots, and his birth name; emphasising to the reader the need to be, like Bartimaeus and Kitty, constant to your true self, even as you grow.

It is very refreshing to find a set of three books which maintains the quality and the reader’s interest consistently throughout the whole, as this series did; and importantly, without disappointing at the very end. Ultimately this is a tale of friendship in adversity, and diversity; though quite bleak at times, it is funny, engrossing and heart-warming, an eminently enjoyable read. But it would be nothing without the wearied, ancient, laconic voice of Bartimaeus himself – whose scathing remarks and acidic determinations cut keenly to the crux of the matter, with enough humour, poignancy and accurate perception to produce a wry, intelligent observation of ourselves. And how we need it. I do hope Bartimaeus can be summoned back again soon!
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LibraryThing member atimco
In the final installment of his Bartimaeus Trilogy, Jonathan Stroud merges his separate storylines to create the crowning volume of the series, Ptolemy's Gate. Though it picks up three years after the events of the previous book, Ptolemy's Gate also delves into Bartimaeus's distant past to explore
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his relationship with the one magician he loved. In this story, Bartimaeus is summoned by the least likely person imaginable... yep, Kitty. She is living secretly in London and has found employment with a doddering magician who has no ambitions but to study magical history. Through this work, Kitty gathers the knowledge that she needs to summon the cynical djinni who once saved her life. And her reason is a rare one; it's been a couple thousand years since Bartimaeus has heard it.

Meanwhile, Nathaniel is digging himself deeper and deeper into the hole of power, but soon finds himself out of favor once again. But this time it's not just scheming politicians using demons to accomplish their nefarious ends — the demons themselves have a plan to end their bondage forever. And don't forget the unrest and rebellion fomenting among the commoners! All of these groups are taking part (some unwittingly) in the larger historical cycle of magicians coming to power through their magical servants, resilience building up over the centuries among the commoners through constant exposure to magic, and the ultimate overthrow of the magicians' government. The cycle begins all over again when another empire based on magical dominance is formed.

There's just so much going on in this book, it's difficult to summarize. Stroud has developed believable motivations for his characters, and the political unrest feels very immediate. The ending is both satisfying and sad — a rare combination! The touch of romance is just right. It is a testament to Stroud's skill that his characters are so accessible and that they inspire so much empathy in the reader (or at least, in this reader). The redemptive promise hinted in the first two books is fulfilled, but not in the way I expected. I loved the conversation with Ms. Lutyens; what a moment of revelation for Nathaniel. Painful though.

As with The Golem's Eye, I read this in a day. I just couldn't put it down. A couple days after finishing the series, I found myself yearning for another such immersive experience in fiction. It reminded me so much of my reading habits when I was younger, when I could lose myself in a book and emerge hours later with one foot still in the fictional universe I'd been exploring. I think I'd forgotten how to read like that — to be hungry for a book. With its blend of YA fantasy, deep themes, well-written, believable characters, and wonderful humor, the Bartimaeus Trilogy is the perfect reminder to me of why I read fiction in the first place. And Ptolemy's Gate is an excellent conclusion to an enthralling series. Recommended!
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LibraryThing member davidpwhelan
Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy is exceptional children's literature. While part of the djinni vogue that appears to have been the craze at the start of this century, Stroud's writing is gripping, moving quickly and keeping you engaged. The trilogy's three main characters - a magician, a
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"commoner", and a djinn - are constantly in rotation as you follow the story from each point of view.

Discrimination and Machiavellian politics are mixed with magic and fantasy, but always within the framework of the story. Like J.K. Rowling, Stroud is an excellent story teller but, unlike the Potter series, his books are tightly written, with no extraneous plot lines. The language is challenging but not overwhelming; the footnotes for Bartimaeus' asides are hysterical. Anyone who is looking for something a bit more challenging than Harry Potter, or Angela Sage's Septimus Heap (Magyk) books, will find a lot to love in this trilogy.
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LibraryThing member littlegeek
I loved, loved, loved this trilogy. All three books were superb. Bartimaeus is sarcastic, bombastic, egotistical and hilarious. For most of the time, the human characters' negative traits win out over their occasional attempts to do the right thing. The ostensible heroine, Kitty, is tne most
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consistently "good" but even she has moments of lost faith or horrible failures that leave others hurt. The hero Nathaniel seems to become a hopelessly lost cause, but there's always a spark of goodness in there somewhere. Their foibles, fears and failures make these characters very human, and the bittersweet ending even more affecting.

I find it extremely heartening to read a children's book that has the courage not to stoop to cliche ideas of good vs. evil, or stock bland-yet-perfect heroes. And the history/mythology is all over the place between fact and fiction! I pity future teachers for the botched ideas it will inspire in their students' essays.
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LibraryThing member Cecrow
The Bartimaeus books join that rare breed of trilogies in which every volume shines. This third in the series depends more frequently on coincidences launched by whims and hunches to guide the characters more easily through the plot, but that's a minor nitpick. Nathaniel is now a full-fledged
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minister of the government and at first seems entirely divorced from conscience, until we learn his memories of the second book's events are weighing on his mind. Kitty has remained in London and found means to begin learning ... something that adds an interesting twist to the story. Bartimaeus has been too long in this world and is greatly weakened, so he has to rely on his wits more than ever to see him through, full of the sarcasm he's become known for. Through flashbacks we learn more about his relationship with Ptolemy in ancient Egypt.

The first half of the novel is a bit slower paced than we saw in "The Golem's Eye", as the plot is being set up and Bartimaeus is hampered by his weaknesses. Into the latter half however, things heat up considerably. A mix of old and new names are stirred together, machinations that were subtly set up in the previous volume come to fruition, and some unexpected developments no one was prepared for take centre stage. The author displays his usual flair for magical confrontations, but often it was the quieter moments where I appreciated his writing skills even more; an encounter between Nathaniel and a mentor from his childhood was especially moving, both for Nathaniel and the reader.

Without delving into spoilers I found the ending very satisfactory, neither entirely conventional nor outrageously against the grain. One or two minor mysteries remain outstanding, but it put a fine exclamation point on both the book and the series. I strongly recommend this trilogy to anyone sampling YA fantasy fiction.
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LibraryThing member hopeevey
Serious spoiler action going on here - sorry!!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH Nathanial should die at the end!!!!!!!!! Yes, I expected him to dismiss Bartimaeus at the last moment, but I thought Bartimaeus would bring him along to the other side or something. How can he just die?!?!?!? What's the
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point of redeeming yourself if you're not alive to enjoy the rewards? Hell, it's not fair to Kitty for Nathanial to die!

Yes, I do feel strongly about a fictional death. It is totally worth this level of emotional involvement.

Okay, yes, the staff had to be destroyed, or someone would have made themselves the next dictator with it. Yes, with Nathanial dead that means none of the entrenched powerful magicians are there to re-establish the status quo. Screw what's best for the world! Nathanial has hardly ever gotten to enjoy being himself, as he is. He's only just found himself again, then goes and dies - not fair at all! He had to tell Kitty he loved her by lying to her to get her to leave. That he thanked Bartimaeus by snarking him is pretty much par for that course, though :)

Okay, okay, maybe it is the best way to end the trilogy. It breaks my heart none the less. In a way, Nathanial's legacy is more than the destruction of Nowda. He's given the people of Brittian the chance to work together to create a better nation. I suppose (grudingly) that could be a goal worth dying for. Maybe.
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LibraryThing member fallenstar
I think this is Stroud's best work by far. The book is surprisingly touching for a book about a satrical djinn. It is as witty and full of satire as its ancestors, yet it is deeper. When Ptolemy dismissed Bartimeaus before his death, so as to save him, I nearly cried, and when Nathaniel did the
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same for Bartimeaus, linking this story to a full circle, I did cry. A true masterpiece that balances of humor and profoundity subtlely. A stunning conclusion befitting of a bestseller series, which is rare indeed.
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LibraryThing member Anduril85
The last book of the series is just as enjoyable as the first, brining everything to a close even if it is in a rather sad and depressing way but the ending really makes you feel for the main character another nice read by Stroud I'd read this series over Mr. scar on my forehead makes me so cool
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any day.
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LibraryThing member Wanderlust_Lost
For those that expected a smashing end to the Bartimaeus trilogy they were not disappointed. This book wraps up the series beautifully and the story is hilarious, but also dark and sad. I loved this book and I found the emotional depth in it (a depth not reached in the previous two novels) moving
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and yet not over-done.
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LibraryThing member elbakerone
In this exciting conclusion to The Bartimaeus Trilogy (The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem's Eye) Jonathan Stroud reunites readers with the adventures of Kitty Jones, Nathaniel - aka John Mandrake - and the footnote talking djinni Bartimaeus. This is perhaps Stroud's strongest entry in the series as
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all three main characters must band together to save London (and the whole world). Also, more insight is revealed into Bartimaeus's past including his unique relationship with Ptolemy. Wit and excitement abound to make this a truly enjoyable novel from cover to cover.
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LibraryThing member krypto
Superb conclusion to the story of the world's most sarcastic djinni, which began with The Amulet of Samarkand and continued with Golem's Eye. Beautifully written, too.
LibraryThing member heidilove
this final chapter in the Bartimaeus trilogy is a wonderful conclusion both to the plot and to the issues raised. nicely done.
LibraryThing member Crewman_Number_6
While I was not disappointed in this book, I didn't find it as interesting as the other two. All the social commentary was distracting and a real drag. I found myself plodding through long passages about the evils of war and slave trading instead of enjoying the story. However, it is still a good
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read and a good conclusion to the trilogy although the ending was not what I was hoping for.
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LibraryThing member FrogPrincessuk
This gets 5 stars for being one of the best endings to a series that I have ever read.
LibraryThing member yarmando
I love the Bartimaeus trilogy, and read this last installment in a rush when it came out, remembering little about it. It was a treat to listen to the audiobook during my commute. Simon Jones was a splendid reader.

An excellent cap to the series, filling in why Bartimaeus has remained so devoted to
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Ptolemy, redeeming Nathaniel, and bringing Kitty the culmination of her life's work to establish a just society for commoners.
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LibraryThing member readingrat
A wonderful ending to a wonderful trilogy.
LibraryThing member maita
Can Djinns have compassion for humans and vice versa? Bartimaeus does. For a great child named Ptolemy was kind to him and even considered hima friend not just a mere tool or a mere demon. Bartimaeus was feared by most but not ptolemy who was his one true friend.
Now, the friendship of Kitty and
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Nathaniel to Batimaeus reminded him of ptolemy and his great sacrifice. In the end, Kitty was able to cross Ptolemy's gate and Nathaniel made the ultimate sacrfice.
It was quite touching. Bartimaeus is a very lovable character. While Nathaniel is busy being a pain in the ass, Kitty and Bartimaeus hatches plans and makes their friendship a bond.
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LibraryThing member donkeytiara's rare that a series follows it's first with something that leaves you feeling like it just might have been better than the first book.....this one does that!! Bartamaeus hasn't lost his edgy humor and the characters all round out a little more to make this a series that no child should
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LibraryThing member francescadefreitas
A hugely satisfying conclusion to this wonderful trilogy. This isn't a tacked on ending at all, characters and events from the first books pop up and are critically important to the final resolution. While John's change back to Nathaniel happened quickly, it was entirely believable under the
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It felt good to hear about Bartimaeus's relationship with Ptolemy, and to see how power changed Nathaniel, and the path Kitty chose after the resistance.
While I'll miss hearing about these characters, I am glad that the series ended on such a high note.
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LibraryThing member wyvernfriend
The last in the series and what a finale, Kitty learns how to wield magic, Nathaniel learns more about himself and Bartimaeus learns more about humans.
Complicated politics and interesting characters makes this story live and breathe and be infinitely interesting.
LibraryThing member SiSarah
The Bartimaeus trilogy is one of the few book series that improves as it goes along. Whereas in the first book the characters may seem a little shallow, a little pat, complexity and depth increase as the series continues. So of the three books, Ptolemy's Gate is the one that I have re-read the
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most, thought about and talked about the most and the reason I recommend the series so highly. It broke my heart, in the best possible way, while still being the entertaining, adventuresome read the other two are.
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LibraryThing member tundranocaps
Second time reading the series.Great book, and I just love Bartimaeus's narrating voice, so dry, so sarcastic.
LibraryThing member heidialice
In the final volume of the Bartimaeus Trilogy, Bartimaeus is weakened, since Nathaniel can't afford to let him recharge in the "Other Place". Politics are tense in London, as the differences between commoners and magicians come to a head. Kitty, meanwhile, has schemes of her own, and has dedicated
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her time to learn as much as she can about the demons, and Bartimaeus in particular. In a dramatic conclusion, the plotlines come together, as do the major characters.

This is the best of the trilogy, in my opinion. Characters finally take on a hint of 3-dimensionality, we get a hint of Nathaniel's inner world, and the traitor is finally exposed. The plot and magic are original and compelling. If you can make it through the first two, this one is highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member rocalisa
Fantasy. Solid conclusion to a solid series.
LibraryThing member camarie
SPOILER ALERT: I loved this book probably the best out of the three, though it is terribly hard to choose. The tension between Bartimaeus and John Mandrake (Nathaniel) mounts, and so does the conflict between commoners and magicians. The suspense and action all lead up to a satisfying climax,
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though the ending is heartbreaking. I did not want Nate to die of course, and maybe he could have saved London and his own life, but really, if he had saved the day again, he would just revert back to the greedy, selfish jerk he had become. He finally went back to being Nathaniel, the innocent, caring child he was, instead of his alias, John Mandrake, associated with all of the bad pieces of his personality. By sacrificing himself to save London, he remained Nathaniel forever.
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(1305 ratings; 4.2)
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