In this second installment of The Bartimaeus Trilogy, we return to magician-controlled London, two years after the events of the first novel. There, we once again follow Nathaniel (officially called John Mandrake), who now works for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and is in charge of tracking down and ultimately stopping a group of homegrown commoner terrorists, the Resistance.
At the heart of this Resistance is our new protagonist, Kitty Jones. She's a year older than Nat, and far more streetwise and mature than he. She has an innate resilience to magic and, along with ten similarly (and sometimes more) gifted individuals led by the elderly Mr Pennyfeather, she strives to end the magicians' rule of the Empire. Also, we finally get to learn her backstory.
Of course, no book in this trilogy would be complete without Bartimaeus - and after 110 pages, his distinctive narration finally joins us again. True, he also narrated the prologue (set in Prague during Gladstone's conquest, which marked the end of the Czech dominion over the world and the beginning of the British Empire's), but still. I had missed him. Thankfully, this is a 562 pages long novel, and before it ends we have plenty of time to enjoy his ever clever voice.
Once again, this novel's themes range from oppression to class issues, passing by explorations of what is free will. Also, the different interpretations of historical events (such as the fall of the Roman Empire), as would happen in this novel's world of demons and magicians, would be of particular interest to history nerds.