I had not previously come across the name of Steven Pacey but now, after listening to him read Jonathan Stroud’s The Amulet of Samarkand, he has now been added to my list of favourite narrators, alongside Frank Muller, Roy Dotrice, Simon Prebble, Sean Barrett and George Guidall.
Pacey narrates the first book in the Bartimaeus Trilogy with perfect pace, using an assortment of excellent and appropriate accents. But most importantly of all he manages to replicate the delightful sense of humour – which is a Stroud trademark – into the narrative.
Pacey does of course have the perfect material on which to use his skills. When the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus is summoned by Nathaniel, a young magician’s apprentice, he expects to have to do nothing more taxing than a little levitation or a few simple illusions. But Nathaniel is a precocious talent and has something rather more dangerous in mind: revenge. Against his will, Bartimaeus is packed off to steal the powerful Amulet of Samarkand from Simon Lovelace, a master magician of unrivalled ruthlessness and ambition. Before long, both djinni and apprentice are caught up in a terrifying flood of magical intrigue, murder and rebellion. The Amulet of Samarkand is an absorbing tale of magicians and demons, a Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell for the younger reader.
This is one of the very best fantasy audio-books. The book was written by a highly skilled author and now read by a highly skilled actor. Bartimaeus is one of the finest additions to the fantasy genre in recent years and Pacey’s portrayal of the irascible djinni is perfect. This audio-book is very highly recommended, one of the very best.
The Amulet of Samarkand (abridged) by Jonathan Stroud
Narrated by Steven Pacey
Length: 9 hours, 33 minutes
Publisher: Random House AudioBooks