Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud
Bartimaeus, the djinni from the author’s Bartimaeus trilogy, returns as the main character in this novel set in the time of King Solomon. Balkis, Queen of Sheba, sends Asmira, a hereditary guard, to Jerusalem to assassinate King Solomon and steal his magic ring because messengers from Solomon have demanded her kingdom’s valuable frankincense as tribute, which would leave her kingdom poor. Saved from an attack on her caravan by the djinni Bartimaeus, on orders of Solomon, Asmira and Bartimaeus travel together back to Jerusalem. Asmira keeps her identity and mission secret, representing herself as a priestess from another kingdom. She releases Bartimaeus from his servitude to Solomon’s magician Khaba through trickery and puts him in service to her. As they work together, Asmira learns all she believes is not necessarily true, and must make decisions on her own. Bartimaeus continues his character from the earlier books, constantly trying to escape servitude to magicians while making humorous comments and avoiding work as much as possible.
Jonathan Stroud has constructed a coherent and believable fantasy world. His practice of putting funny footnotes on many of the pages, mostly with humorous comments from Bartimaeus, make his books completely original. I recommend this book to fantasy fans in general. If you’ve already read any of the previous books in the trilogy, this book will live up to the earlier titles. You will not be disappointed!
Review by Mrs. Goldstein-Erickson