By Jonathan Stroud
Published by Corgi
ISBN 978 0 552 56294 2
Excellent news: Bartimaeus, the devious, wise-cracking and highly entertaining djinni (or spirit) is back, and no one could be more welcome.
Bartimaeus is an Arabian djinni full of trickery, cunning and witty one-line cracks for every occasion. He has been enslaved to, and has served, hundreds of magicians in his long 5,010-year captivity, and the one thing he wants above all else is his freedom. But this is the nature of being a djinni. You are at the beck and call of any magician who has the skill to conjure you up from the other side.
Tough luck if that magician only wants you to do his dirty work for him. And even tougher luck if your new master wants you to build him something like a temple or a palace all on your own. A djinni never knows what he is in for when he is called up, but cunning Bartimaeus is more than a match for even the most powerful of magicians, and that includes the legendary King of Jerusalem, Solomon the Wise.
Jonathan Stroud's The Ring of Solomon is a stand-alone adventure following the acclaimed Bartimaeus Trilogy, which introduced the wily djinni to appreciative readers.
It's the year 950 BC, and King Solomon holds power over Jerusalem and beyond, by means of his infamous magic ring and a team of magicians, with countless spirits and djinni working away to keep everything moving.
Khaba, the king's chief magician, summons up Bartimaeus to help in the building of a new temple for Solomon; but Bartimaeus resents being a mere stone-layer, and causes as much trouble on the building site as he can. He is banished well out of the way, into the desert, where he crosses paths with Asmira, who has been sent by the Queen of Sheba to infiltrate Solomon's court and kill the king.
Bartimaeus joins the young Sheban spy in her mission to assassinate King Solomon, hoping that this will help him gain his freedom after centuries of slavery.
The stage is set for an epic adventure that will thrill fans of the original trilogy, and introduce new readers to one of the most entertaining characters in contemporary youth fiction.
Stroud is a classy storyteller who packs a great deal of detail, atmosphere and wit into the Bartimaeus books. The three original novels are quality reads that deliver superior entertainment on all levels, and this latest addition to the series is fantasy story-telling at its very best.
John Millen can be contacted on MillenBookshelf@aol.com