by Jonathan Stroud
The irreverent and irrepressible djinni returns in an excellent prequel to Stroud's best-selling Bartimaeus trilogy.
This time, Bartimaeus is working for a magician named Khaba, who is overseeing the construction of King Solomon's temple. Ordered to build the temple without magic, it doesn't take long for Bartimaeus to mess things up and get he and his fellow djinnis fired. They are reassigned to the more miserable job of hunting bandits in the desert. While there, Bartimaeus crosses paths with Asmira, who works for the Queen of Sheba. An assassin, Asmira is to kill King Solomon to prevent his impending attack on her country. She must also try to steal his ring, which houses an immensely powerful spirit.
Asmira and Bartimaeus make a very entertaining and formidable team. Together they create enough havoc that will enamor any fan of action, magic and the supernatural. For a brief taste of Bartimaeus' appeal, here's an excerpt from his journal: