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Summary

This book is about King Solomon, of Jerusalem. He rules his city with power and fear. The fear of his ring. With a simple turn of the ring he can summon forth an army of twenty thousand spirits.

He has just started work on his new, grand temple. In charge of its construction is one of his mages, Khaba. Under Khaba’s control is the djinn, Bartimaeus. Not long after the beggining of the construction Bartimaeus’s smart mouth got him and Khaba hunting bandits instead.

While this is all happening, Asmira who is the captain of the guard in Sheba is sent to assassinate King Solomon. For her country has been threatened by him and his ring. She must stop him at all costs.

Themes

A possible theme would be “good prevails over evil”. Since King Solomon is an evil tyrant, and Bartimaeus and Asmira are trying to assassinate and overthrow him.

Another possible them would be “going against all odds”. This is because Bartimaeus is a good guy who is already controlled by Khaba while trying to kill an even more powerful king. And Asmira is just a woman who has to face up against this king who controls 20,000 demons who are all far more powerful than her.

Direct Passages

“For an instant I hung together like a statue formed of silken smoke, then burst soundlessly into nothing”. Page 10.
I liked this passage because of the great detail and visual of what Bartimaeus can do.


“The Planes: seven planes of existence are superimposed upon each other at all times, like invisible layers of tracing paper. The first plane includes everything solid, everyday world; the other six reveal the hidden magic all around---secret spells, lurking spirits, the ancient enchantments long forgotten. It’s a well known fact that you can reliably gauge the intelligence and quality of a species by the number of planes it is able to observe, e.g. top djinn (like me): seven; foliots and higher imps: four; cats: two; fleas, tapeworms, humans, dust mites, etc.: one.” Page 13.
This passage gives a good idea of what the magic in this book is like.


“High above the earth the phoenix soared, a noble bird much like an eagle, save for the reddish tint to its golden feathers and the iridescent flecks on the tips of its outstretched wings.” Page 48.
I think this is really cool, I think Bartimaeus has some really awesome abilities if he can turn into a Phoenix.


“Asmira’s mother was the most accomplished of the women, which is why she was First Guard.” Page 74.
In this book the entire guard of the kingdom of Sheba is made up of women.


Solomon- “And that vulgar song you were singing?”
Bartimaeus- “Um, which vulgar song was that?”
Solomon- “The one about me.”
Bartimaeus- “You mustn’t pay any attention to such things, O Master, etcetera. Ribald songs have always been sung about great leaders by loyal troops. It’s a mark of respect. You should have heard the one we invented for Hammurabi. He used to join the choruses.” To my relief Solomon seemed to buy this. Page 107.
This passage shows how crafty Bartimaeus is with his words.


Character Description

Bartimaeus- Bartimaeus is the main character of the book, he is a rather sarcastic, humorous djinn who is always boasting of his many accomplishments throughout the world. Although cocky, he does live up to his boastings for the most part.
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Asmira- Asmira is the captain of the guard in Sheba and she is sent by the queen to assassinate King Solomon. She is dark haired and light of skin.
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Solomon- King Solomon is a wicked and powerful king who has a ring that can control an entire army of spirits with just a turn of the ring. He is generally covered in jewelry and fine clothing.
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Khaba- Khaba is the main bad guy in this book.He is one of the King Solomons high magicians, he is perhaps his most powerful, he is directly from egypt, and often has black kohl around his eyes.
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Faquarl- Like Bartimaeus, Faquarl is a djinn or equal power who is always finding himself meeting up with Bartimaeus, either as enemies, or as friends. He prefers to take form as a large man, usually a chef.
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Setting

This book takes place in 950 B.C. in the two kingdoms of Jerusalem, ruled by King Solomon, and Sheba, ruled by “The Queen of Sheba”. The Kingdom of Jerusalem is vast, with low to the ground buildings, and many larger buildings of politics and religion. Along with the largest castle in all the land. Most of the people who live in Jerusalem are lower class. The kingdom of Sheba is smaller but the buildings are taller and most people in Sheba are happy. The guards here are all women, and most of the men work in the forest harvesting frankincense.

Book Review and Recommendations

I absolutely love this book. I love how well the words are strung together and how the chapter are written from different characters perspectives. The author writes each chapter very well without confusing the reader. He also leaves each chapter with you wanting more. I love the fantasy in the book and the idea of such powerful magic held by such small people. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy along with the other three books in the series. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

About The Author

Jonathan Stroud was born in Bedford, England, on 27th October 1970. When he was six he moved to St Albans, near London. Ever since he was a kid, he enjoyed drawing and writing. Between the ages of 7 and 9 he was very ill and often was stuck in bed with nothing to do but read. This is what sparked his love for writing. After graduating with a degree in english literature he became an editor. After a few years of being an editor for Walker books, he decided he wanted to take a full time job of being an author. Eventually after years of being an author, he published this book.


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This is what I imagine King Solomon and his army looks like.

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This is what Jerusalem will look like near the end of the book.

Bibliography

http://www.jonathanstroud.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ring_of_Solomon

The Ring of Solomon: By Jonathan Stroud