I love, love, love these books! Stroud once again presents a characteristically British, snarky novel about the most beloved djinn, Bartimaeus. The character is the same as in the Bartimaeus Trilogy, but everything else is different. The story takes place in the Middle East during King Solomon's reign in Israel. The human protagonist is Asmira, a young hereditary guard of the queen of Sheba who is tasked with assassinating the arrogant, demanding Solomon and stealing his incredible Ring of power with which he holds all of the nearby nations under his sway.
The highlights of the book are, of course, Bartimaeus and his "demon" friends; they are sarcastic, rude, intelligent creatures, and Stroud has them engaging in the most delightful conversations. The description of "long, lean, dark limbs" tends to repeat itself a bit much, but other than that, Stroud's writing is just as entertaining and engaging as ever. I look forward to more Bartimaeus books, and also hope that Stroud delves into another character or genre, so we can see how broad his talent is.