The infamously likable djinni Bartimaeus is back, only this time readers get to see an exciting, adventurous chapter out of his distant past. Jonathan Stroud, author of the bestselling Bartimaeus trilogy, takes readers back into the ancient world of Jerusalem; 950 BCE to be exact, in The Ring of Solomon.
Even though the disreputable djinni known as Bartimaeus has been around for millennia, since the time of Gilgamesh, he is once again enslaved by the whim and rules of a cruel master, Khaba. But Khaba, an evil and despicable magician, answers to an even more fearsome master, King Solomon. It’s not so much that Solomon is a terrifying and evil master, but more that he possesses the most powerful ring in history. A single twist of the ring brings about armies of monsters and creatures all in abeyance to Solomon, awaiting his every command. People who disobey Solomon disappear in a flash, never to be seen again.
And yet King Solomon doesn’t have everything he desires. He has set his heart on the Queen of Sheba, but she’s not interested in him, even though he asks for her hand in marriage weekly. Then the Queen learns of a plot by Solomon to cause the destruction of all of Sheba, if she doesn’t agree to marry him. Instead, she decides to send Asmira, her most trained assassin to kill Solomon and steal his ring. Only Khaba also has his sights on the ring and becoming king of all the lands. And, naturally, Bartimaeus gets involved in the whole big mess, partially through no fault of his own, and partially because he totally sticks his nose, feet and hands in wholeheartedly.
Stroud brings the lovable character of Bartimaeus back in this great story of intrigue, deception, murder, and terror, as well as fun, hilarity, and even love. Fans will enjoy reading of Bartimaeus once again, as his vanity knows no limits, in his drive to let everyone know he’s simply the best djinni that has ever existed and even when his essence is in danger, he’s going to be sure to let you know that.
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Originally written on January 24, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.