The Ring of Solomon is the last book in the Bartimaeus Sequence by Jonathan Stroud and the prequel to the trilogy.
Bartimaeus is enslaved by a dark magician who serves the great king Solomon in Jerusalem. He hates his service but knows there is nothing to be done. After all: Solomon has the Ring. And this Rings gives him great and terrible powers one can only dream of. If you were a magician, anyway. But then he saves a girl from Sheba, who changes his life in both good and bad ways.
I was pleasantly surprised when this novel came out, mainly because through it I learned so much about Batimaeus. More about his relationships with humans, kings and other djinni. He’s still as witty and sarcastic as ever, even though he is now enslaved by a magician who is so cruel to his servants, they just obey him without any lip. And that isn’t how I know Bartimaeus.
Through The Ring of Solomon you also get more insight about Bartimaeus’ history and his ‘frenemy’ Farqual who is also heavily featured in the trilogy. It surprised me that they were working together in this novel, though their reasons were clear. They both hated and loathed their service and the magician and there was nothing else they could do.
Asmira, guard of the Queen of Sheba, and religious zealot is an interesting character. Everything she does, she does for Sheba and her Queen. It’s refreshing to see someone who hasn’t a thought about their own gain and worries only about others. She’s incredibly hard-headed and is slow to put preconceived notions aside, when it comes to Bartimaeus and when it comes to king Solomon.
Solomon himself also was a very interesting character. In the beginning and middle of the book, we don’t see much of him and get to know more about him through others. But when he does actually appear, he does so with a twist I didn’t see coming. King Solomon isn’t the man you think he is.
It was a refreshing novel which allowed me to better understand Bartimaeus. And for that, I am really grateful, because he is such a joy to read.