Jonathan Stroud

Jonathan Stroud portrait image to appear alongside the Jonathan Stroud biography.

Jonathan Stroud was born in Bedford and grew up in St Albans. He always had a burning desire to write a full-length work of fiction which he would have wanted to read when he was younger, and so after graduating from York University he embarked on a publishing and writing career in the game book and non-fiction department at Walker Books. He moved to Kingfisher Publications to edit children's non-fiction, and for a time juggled working with writing; but Jonathan is now a full-time writer.

In May 1999, Jonathan burst onto the children's book scene with his first novel, Buried Fire. This powerful and compelling read combines elements of fantasy and mythology in a contemporary setting. It is a pacey story that shows how the dark past lives on and can still have a vice-like hold on the present.

Jonathan's second fantasy adventure The Leap was published in January 2001 as part of the new Definitions list.. The Leap portrays the devastation of grief and the temptations and dangers of a world within a world as Charlie is devastated by the tragic accident up at the disused Mill Pool involving her best friend, Max. Refusing to believe Max is dead she embarks on an emotional journey in her dreams. Soon her dream world becomes more important to her than anything else until this fantasy and real life begin to merge and give rise to strange events in the everyday world.

The Last Siege was published in February 2003. A chance encounter on the snowy slopes of a castle moat throws together three lonely teenagers; Emily, Simon and the highly imaginative but enigmatic Marcus, who is the catalyst for all that follows. At first the ruin is merely the backdrop to a day in the snow. But when the three break in to the forbidden interior of the keep, they find the castle taking on a different and deeper meaning.

The Amulet of Samarkand, the first part of the Bartimaeus trilogy was published in October 2003. This rich and wickedly witty opener introduced the thoroughly irresistible genii, Bartimaeus, and his arrogant young master Nathaniel. Skilfully inventive in plot and structure and vividly atmospheric, this magical epic is Stroud at his best and it has been very warmly received since its publication.

The long awaited sequel, The Golem's Eye, published in October 2004 saw the reluctant duo pair up again, this time with anti-hero Nathaniel working in Internal Affairs in the Government. The Resistance movement is gaining ground and poised to strike at the heart of the Government, and Bartimaeus, the witty and idiosyncratic djinn is back to unravel the mystery. The story mixes political intrigue and mystery to deliver a brilliant sequel to The Amulet of Samarkand.

The trilogy is completed with Ptolemy's Gate, published in paperback in October 2006. The magicians' rule in London is teetering on a knife-edge, with strikes, riots and general unrest. Can Bartimaeus, Nathaniel and Kitty settle old scores if they are to survive and prevent the earth's destruction?

Ptolemy's Gate has been long listed for The Carnegie Medal.

Jonathan Stroud books reviewed


  • Justin Credible’s Word Play World (1994)
  • The Viking Saga of Harri Bristlebeard (1997)
  • The Hare and the Tortoise (1998)
  • Walking through the Jungle (1998)
  • The Little Red Car (1999)
  • Alfie’s Big Adventure (1999)
  • Buried Fire (1999)
  • Little Spike and Long Tail (2000)
  • Golidilocks and the Three Bears (2000)
  • Sightseers: Ancient Rome (2000)
  • The Leap (2001)
  • The Last Siege (2003)
  • The Amulet of Samarkand (2003)
  • The Golem's Eye (2004)
  • The Lost Treasure of Captain Blood (2006)
  • Ptolemy's Gate (2006)
  • Heroes of the Valley (2008)

Critical acclaim


‘Another sophisticated, sardonic satire . . . It is a fast-paced, frightening and funny and you don't want it to end’
The Bookseller

‘The alternating perspective between the three central characters add depth, detail and humour to the action-packed thrills.’
The Times

‘A vast plum pudding of a novel that improves with each mouthful.’
The Independent

‘Fresh, downbeat, witty and wise, this novel is a worthy sequel to The Amulet of Samarkand.’


‘One of the year’s most inventive and ingenious novels’
The Sunday Times

‘Stroud’s fast-paced plot is matched by his witty turns of phrase and excellent metaphors’
Financial Times

‘This is a hilarious read with a stroppy young wizard whose daemon, Bartimaeus, is funny, cynical and totally out for himself.’
The Observer

‘The Amulet of Samarkand offers 484 pages of drama, humour and hypnotically engaging storytelling’
The Independent

‘What a delight is The Amulet of Samarkand. . . A tonic for anyone aged 12 and up’


‘This is packed with suspense and palpable tension. This compeling thriller is impossible to put down.’
The Bookseller

‘Stroud’s novel will engage teenage readers; his characters are convincingly written and the fascination of the castle is strongly conveyed.’
School Librarian


‘makes uncomfortable, compelling reading.’
Guardian Education

‘Atmospheric and intriguing, this is about making choices, knowing when to hang on and when to let go…the quality of writing never flags.’
Daily Telegraph


‘Jonathan Stroud writes like a seasoned veteran with a voice all his own, and tells a cracking story that races to a strong climax’
The Telegraph

‘A gripping tale and an efficacious way to make a parent’s dream of seeing their teenage boy with his head in a book and not in front of the box stand a chance of coming true’
The Observer