The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud (Bartimaeus #0.5)
Thousands of years before his fateful service to the magician Nathaniel in London, wily Bartimaeus served as djinni to hundreds of masters, from Babylon and Ancient Egypt to the modern Middle East. In this brilliant new installment in the best-selling series, history is revealed as readers travel alongside Bartimaeus to Jerusalem and the court of King Solomon for his most exciting adventure yet.
TITLE: The Ring of Solomon
AUTHOR: Jonathan Stroud with Simon Jones (Narrator)
PUBLISHER: Listening Library
LENGTH: 528 pages (12 hours 38 minutes)
Queer Rep Summary: No canon queer rep.
THE RING OF SOLOMON features the djinn Bartimaeus, narrator of the Bartimaeus Trilogy, thousands of years earlier when he was enslaved to a magician working for King Solomon.
Bartimaeus discusses details about the world (both important and of importance only to him) in an upbeat, irreverent style. He does most things with irreverence, quippy to the utmost, with cheer and frustration alternating depending on the circumstances. I wish that fatphobia wasn't part of his banter. It's not often, but it happens enough that it got to be rather frustrating.
This is can be understood completely separately from the main trilogy, though this does provide a slice of Bartimaeus' past associations with a particular one of his fellow djinni who appears elsewhere in the series. Even in this distant past he's already been enslaved for thousands of years, though the way he's speaking (and using the Gregorian calendar to refer to dates) implies that he's narrating from some point much after these events, but likely before the rest of the series. Bartimaeus ends up in service to someone who came to kill King Solomon and take his ring, and most of the story revolves around how they end up attempting this. I like the setup of how the ring works and how King Solomon's court has been functioning, it allows for a cool reveal late in the book which is consistent with everything else that happened while still being a bit surprising.
Great for fans of the main trilogy and for those who like wisecracking narrators.
Graphic/Explicit CW for slavery.
Moderate CW for fatphobia, body shaming, sexism, misogyny, fire/fire injury, violence, injury detail, torture, death.
Minor CW for ableism, body horror, animal death.