"The Ring of Solomon: A Bartimaeus Novel" by Jonathan Stroud

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"The Ring of Solomon: A Bartimaeus Novel"
By Jonathan Stroud
Hyperion Books, $17.99, ages 10-14

Bartimaeus, an ancient djinni whose narration sounds as if he's channeling Groucho Marx, has been a favorite with readers in three previous books by Jonathan Stroud. This book presents a back story for Bartimaeus. His footnotes — fun in all the books - allude to his times in ancient Babylon with Gilgamesh, but here we find him with King Solomon in Jerusalem. A young woman, Asmira, a guard of the Queen of Sheba, is stalking the king. Asmira learns, with tutelage from Bartimaeus, that reality looks different from a nonroyal perspective.

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