An orphan named Nathaniel is taken in by a Minister of the British Government who is also a Magician, as are all the people in power. Nathaniel quickly discovers Mr. Underwood has little talent and no spine.
Taking matters into his own hands, Nathaniel calls upon a powerful djinn, Bartimaeus, to revenge the insults heaped upon him by Underwood and his friends.
Can Nathaniel continue to exert his control over Bartimaeus? Will the djinn break his bonds and punish Nathaniel for binding him? Who is really in control of the government and are they truly concerned with what is best for the public?
This is the first installment of an expected trilogy. The alternate historical setting and the complex multiple story lines make this a fascinating title for teens who like a good book to disappear into. Recommended read.