The Ring of Solomon

The Ring of Solomon

The Ring of Solomon

Bartimaeus, the wise-cracking, irreverant djinni from The Bartimaeus Trilogy is back for another adventure in which he manages to embarrass, harrass, and outsmart the magician to whom he is supposedly enslaved. It’s always fun to watch Bart get the upper hand! He’s a lot like the genie in the Aladdin movies…but A LOT more sassy. He is enslaved unless a magician doesn’t say the summoning spell correctly or construct it carefully. If there is any kind of loophole at all in the summons, or in the directions that follow, Bart will find it…and EAT the magician. His last master came to such an end:

And that was the end of the old magician. We’d been together awhile, but I never got to know his name. Still, I remember him with fond affection. Foolish, greedy, incompetent, and dead. Now that’s the kind of master worth having. (page 27)

Bartimaeus has been alive for thousands of years and has had many magician masters. This story takes place in Jerusalem in the 900s BC during the reign of King Solomon the Great. King Solomon is well-known for building a great temple that is talked about in the Bible. In this story, Solomon has one of his magicians summon a bunch of demons and djinni to do the work of constructing the temple. One of the djinni summoned is Bartimaeus, who is none too happy about being summoned AGAIN so soon after eating his last master. He is also not happy about lugging rocks in the hot sun for days on end, and so he does what he does best, he institutes a “change of work practices.”

We promptly set up our lookout and spent our time in a mixture of loafing, gambling, imp-tossing, and philosophical debate. Occasionally, when we needed the exercise, we’d whip a few stones magically into position, just to make it look like we’d been doing something. (page 103)

For being such a troublemaker Solomon sends Bart into the desert to search out bandits that have been disrupting the flow of commerce into Jerusalem. It’s about as bad an assignment as lugging rocks. When a young girl/warrior helps him fend off the bandits Bartimaeus is surprised and a little bit impressed. Asmira, the girl/warrior, has been sent by the Queen of Sheba to kill Solomon, an assignment Bartimimaeus could easily sink his own teeth into. Asmira’s got some confidence and sass herself, so when the two set their sights on Solomon’s magic ring, the sparks really begin to fly.  Author: Jonathon Stroud

To get a taste of the full Bartimaeus, don’t miss the Bartimaeus Trilogy beginning with The Amulet of Samarkand. In the Trilogy, Bartimaeus is teamed up with a smart, confident and very daring young magician and finds himself respecting this young magician that can really “bring it” when he has to.
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6 Responses »

  1. Great review. I loved the Bartimaeus trilogy, but I don’t know if I could get into reading the prequel. I don’t want to spoil the trilogy for anyone who hasn’t read it… but it seems so complete on it’s own, I can’t imagine going back to that world.
    Still, I bet for folks who haven’t read the 3 books yet, this fourth one will fit in perfectly.

  2. I remember having a little trouble with the Bartimaeus trilogy because I never really liked the magician boy, which means that this prequel may be right up my alley. Thanks for the review!

  3. @ Beth, I know what you mean about having a little trouble liking Nathaniel, the magician boy. He was prickly…but he did REALLY grow on me as the trilogy played out.

    The Bartimaeus Trilogy looks at the influence of mentors and parents on a child’s well-being (very much like Harry Potter I think.) It looks at how a child brought up neglected can or can’t learn to make a friend or be a friend. How can a kid do that if that has never been shown to him before?

    Harry Potter had the advantage of a whole community of people that was actually looking out for him, even if he didn’t know it at first. Nathaniel had to do it all himself.

    I think Nathaniel shares some similarities to Tom Riddle who was also a neglected child – he tried to find comfort in power and had difficulty forming relationships with other people. The difference is Nathaniel overcomes his bitterness and anger and learns how to care about other people – the three books reveal his journey.

    I think anybody can have sympathy for a mistreated, neglected child that has dysfunctional emotions and can’t develop good relationships with others…why is it that some kids can rise above this and learn to lead happy lives with lots of friends and others become sociopaths like Tom Riddle?

    I think maybe I respected Nathaniel and his journey. He was prickly, yes, but I liked him, even admired him in the end. His journey wasn’t an easy one and he had to figure it all out himself.

    Nathaniel is not even in this one – a brand new child/teammate for Bartimaeus, so maybe you will like it better.

  4. I haven’t read any of the books But I really love Harry Potter So as you said it like Harry potter so I think I will like the series :)

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