The Amulet of Samarkand
The Amulet of Samarkand is a children's novel of alternate history and magic. It is the first book in the Bartimaeus trilogy written by English author Jonathan Stroud. First edition was published in Sept. 2003 by Doubleday in the United Kingdom. The book and series are about power struggles in a magical dystopia centred in London, England featuring a mix of current and ancient and mythological themes, it is well known for its liberal use of footnotes to voice the lead character's sarcastic comments, as well as story background. The book is named for a magical artifact created in the ancient Asian city of Samarkand, around which the story revolves. London, England, 100 years after death of Gladstone in 1898. Setting: modern day London spiced with magicians and mystery A magician's young apprentice, summons the irascible 5,000-year-old djinni, Bartimaeus, to do his bidding. Nathaniel has an interesting assignment for Bartimaeus: he must steal the powerful Amulet of Samarkand from Simon Lovelace, a master magician of unrivalled ruthlessness and ambition.
The only problem is Bartimaeus couldn't care less for what his current master wants, only that he has a job to complete before he can return to "The Other Place" again... that and get with the annoying little brat who summoned him if he gets the chance. Bartimaeus refers to his relation with his former master Ptolemy, comparing him much more favourably to Nathaniel. Before long and Nathaniel are caught up in a terrifying flood of magical intrigue and murder. Nathaniel learns that he may have gotten into a plot much more in depth than he and his djinni can cope with. Nathaniel Arthur Underwood, Nathaniel's master Simon Lovelace Jessica Whitwell, Minister of security Rupert Deveraux, Prime Minister of Britain Mr. Schyler Sholto Pinn Ptolemy Kitty Jones, youthful member of the Resistance Martha Underwood Mercenary Bartimaeus, a mid-level djinni Ramuthra, a powerful spirit Simpkin, a Foliot Jabor Faquarl The Resistance the magical government Amulet of Samarkand, so named for ancient city of Samarkand, where it was forged.
Nathaniel's scrying glass The'Other place' In an alternate London where the British Empire dominates the world through control of magic, commoners are governed by the ruling class of magicians, five-year-old Nathaniel is sold into the apprenticeship of magician Arthur Underwood, Minister of Internal Affairs. Despite Underwood’s disinterest, his wife Martha welcomes the child. By age ten, Nathaniel has received a classical education and insight into magicians’ power: magic is performed by a hierarchy of otherworldly spirits that magicians, with adequate knowledge and willpower, can summon and bind into service. Nathaniel is presented to a gathering of magicians including the formidable Simon Lovelace, who dismisses Nathaniel’s obvious talents and humiliates and beats him. Embittered toward Underwood, Nathaniel studies advanced magic in secret and plots revenge on Lovelace. Through a rudimentary scrying glass, Nathaniel sees Lovelace receive a package from a bearded mercenary, the powerful Amulet of Samarkand.
Days after his twelfth birthday, Nathaniel summons Bartimaeus, an ancient and cocky djinn who resents his enslavement, charges him to steal the Amulet. Retrieving the artifact, Bartimaeus escapes Faquarl and Jabor, two of Lovelace’s djinn, is accosted by a mysterious gang of youths who attempt to take the Amulet. Bartimaeus is ordered to hide the Amulet in Underwood's study, overhears his master’s birth name "Nathaniel," which provides him a defense against punishment from the young magician, but he applies a spell to guarantee Bartimaeus’ servitude for one month. Nathaniel is named “John Mandrake” and accompanies the Underwoods to the state address at parliament. At the gathering of high-ranking magicians, a Resistance member causes an explosion, resulting in several injuries. Bartimaeus, ordered to spy on Lovelace, travels to the magician Sholto Pinn’s curio shop, he learns the Amulet had been under government protection before his cover is blown, he is detained in the Tower of London. Underwood discovers and confiscates Nathaniel's summoning paraphernalia, is called to the Tower to interrogate Bartimaeus.
When Underwood returns, Nathaniel is caught. At the Tower, Bartimaeus is unsuccessfully interrogated by Pinn and Jessica Whitwell, Minister of Security. With the help of Jabor and Faquarl, Bartimaeus escapes, on the condition that he reveal the location of the Amulet and his master. Bartimaeus flees, unwittingly leading Lovelace to the Underwood house. Lovelace, who plans to use the Amulet to seize control of the government, threatens Underwood and discovers the Amulet in his study. Nathaniel reveals himself as the thief, but his master encourages Lovelace to kill his apprentice instead of him. Lovelace’s spirits destroy the house. Vowing to avenge his beloved Mrs. Underwood, Nathaniel promises to free Bartimaeus when their task is complete. After encountering the Resistance and Bartimaeus travel to Heddlehem Hall to stop Lovelace's coup. There, Bartimaeus battles mysterious bearded mercenary, who displays extraordinary resistance to magic and a pair of seven league boots. Nathaniel is discovered by Lovelace and his master Schyler, who offers an ultimatum: to join Lovelace’s new order, or die.
Nathaniel manages to kill Schyler using petty magical firework-cubes, he and Bartimaeus arrive at the conference of magicians. Na
Fantasy literature is literature set in an imaginary universe but not always without any locations, events, or people from the real world. Magic, the supernatural and magical creatures are common in many of these imaginary worlds, it is a story that adults can read. Fantasy is a subgenre of speculative fiction and is distinguished from the genres of science fiction and horror by the absence of scientific or macabre themes though these genres overlap. Most works of fantasy were written, since the 1960s, a growing segment of the fantasy genre has taken the form of films, television programs, graphic novels, video games and art. A number of fantasy novels written for children, such as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Harry Potter series and The Hobbit attract an adult audience. Stories involving magic and terrible monsters have existed in spoken forms before the advent of printed literature. Classical mythology is replete with fantastical stories and characters, the best known being the works of Homer and Virgil.
The contribution of the Greco-Roman world to fantasy is vast and includes: The hero's journey. The philosophy of Plato has had great influence on the fantasy genre. In the Christian Platonic tradition, the reality of other worlds, an overarching structure of great metaphysical and moral importance, has lent substance to the fantasy worlds of modern works; the world of magic is connected with the Roman Greek world. With Empedocles, the elements, they are used in fantasy works as personifications of the forces of nature. Other than magic concerns include: the use of a mysterious tool endowed with special powers. India has a long tradition of fantastical characters, dating back to Vedic mythology; the Panchatantra, which some scholars believe was composed around the 3rd century BC. It is based on older oral traditions, including "animal fables that are as old as we are able to imagine". was influential in Europe and the Middle East. It used various animal fables and magical tales to illustrate the central Indian principles of political science.
Talking animals endowed with human qualities have now become a staple of modern fantasy. The Baital Pachisi, a collection of various fantasy tales set within a frame story is, according to Richard Francis Burton and Isabel Burton, the germ which culminated in the Arabian Nights, which inspired the Golden Ass of Apuleius. Boccacio's Decamerone the Pentamerone and all that class of facetious fictitious literature."The Book of One Thousand and One Nights from the Middle East has been influential in the West since it was translated from the Arabic into French in 1704 by Antoine Galland. Many imitations were written in France. Various characters from this epic have themselves become cultural icons in Western culture, such as Aladdin and Ali Baba; the Fornaldarsagas and Icelandic sagas, both of which are based on ancient oral tradition influenced the German Romantics, as well as William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien; the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf has had deep influence on the fantasy genre. Celtic folklore and legend has been an inspiration for many fantasy works.
The Welsh tradition has been influential, owing to its connection to King Arthur and its collection in a single work, the epic Mabinogion. One influential retelling of this was the fantasy work of Evangeline Walton; the Irish Ulster Cycle and Fenian Cycle have been plentifully mined for fantasy. Its greatest influence was, indirect. Celtic folklore and mythology provided a major source for the Arthurian cycle of chivalric romance: the Matter of Britain. Although the subject matter was reworked by the authors, these romances developed marvels until they became independent of the original folklore and fictional, an important stage in the development of fantasy. Romance or chivalric romance is a type of prose and verse narrative, popular in the aristocratic circles of High Medieval and Early Modern Europe, they were fantastic stories about marvel-filled adventures of a knight-errant portrayed as having heroic qualities, who goes on a quest, yet it is "the emphasis on love and courtly manners distinguishes it from the chanson de geste and other kinds of epic, in which masculine military heroism predominates."
Popular literature drew on themes of romance, but with ironic, satiric or burlesque intent. Romances reworked legends, fairy tales, history to suit the readers' and hearers' tastes, but by c. 1600 they were out of fashion, Miguel de Cervantes famously burlesqued them in his novel Don Quixote. Still, the modern image of "medieval" is more influenced by the romance than by any other medieval genre, the word medieval evokes knights, distressed damsels and other romantic tropes. Romance literature was written in Old French, Anglo-Norman and Provençal, in Portuguese, in Castilian, in English, in Italian and German. During the early 13th century, romances
The Leap is a fantasy novel by Jonathan Stroud, published in 2001. It centres on a girl. Everyone says that Max has drowned, but Charlie thinks differently: she was in the mill-pool with him, knows what she saw; when she begins to see him in her dreams, her hopes are raised. It seems the reunion, but where is Max leading her? And will she be able to return? The story weaves a fantasy into everyday life, but for the most part it is confined to Charlie's dreams. With only a few clues, the reader is kept guessing whether it is all in Charlie's imagination, or whether there is a reality behind the dream. No simple answer is given at the end. After the high adventures of Buried Fire, I was interested in a more low-key and subtle investigation of how fantasy and reality collide; the book is split between the perspectives of Charlie, who believes something strange has happened, her brother James, who doesn’t. It is up to the reader to decide. - Jonathan Stroud Charlotte "Charlie" Fetcher Protagonist. At the beginning of the story, Charlie witnesses the drowning at a mill pool of her best friend, Max.
Her memories of the events are fanciful, involving a vision of Max in the water, being kidnapped by strange women with bright green eyes. Her doctor, Peter Andover, believes these memories are the cause of asphyxiation, for the restriction of blood to the brain may induce visual disturbance, such as prolonged dreamlike hallucinations, her mother and James, her brother are skeptic of her tale. In spite of this Charlie continues to believe what she had seen. Charlie has vivid dreams in a fantastic land, where she attempts to find Max. At times she is always to far off to catch up with, she keeps a dream journal. After many nights of trying to find Max, Charlie meets in one of her dreams a stranger named Kit who wants to help her in her quest to find Max, he tells Charlie that Max is what is known in this country as a Walker and that all the Walkers are going to The Great Fair, which celebrates the coming of winter. At The Great Fair there is a Great Dance. Kit tells Charlie that if Max were to join the dance he would be of this country and will forget not only Charlie, but all of his past life.
He tells her that there are many entrances to his country, through dreams and "true" entrances, like the mill pool, the only way to catch up to Max was by searching for entrances in the day. These entrances are the places Max once loved since he is still close to his "old country". Following more dreams, Charlie makes it to the fair by sleepwalking, she makes it to the Great Dance but it had started. She can see Max amongst the other dancers; when Charlie realizes she is now lost to him, she's devastated. Kit emerges from the crowds watching the dance and tells Charlie it isn't too late, she can join Max in the dance. Kit tells her to take Max's hand and leap, but when she sees Max's emotionless eyes she does not dance, despite Kit's desperate commands to do so. Everyone around her loses their beauty and scream in anger, Kit the loudest amongst them, but now Max has let go of Charlie's hand freed from the dance, he peacefully disappears. James Fetcher Charlie's older brother. Through James's eyes the reader is given a look at a more "practical" side of the story.
He cares much for Charlie but worries about her, hoping she isn't going mad. He annoys Charlie since she thinks he doesn't understand her and her situation, he once wakes Charlie before she tastes a fruit that would grant her desire, takes her to Max. From James's view, Charlie was becoming more and more ill in her sleep, her color draining with each second; this only worsens things for James. James discovers his sister's dream journal where Charlie writes about her hunt for Max; this only worries James more. He trails Charlie when she sleepwalks, following her to a quarry and tries to keep her from walking over the edge to her demise, he trips and was unable to reach her. Once he gets to her she wakes up and speaks his name. Kit Kit is a tall, thin man with curly brown hair and green eyes who Charlie befriends in one of her dreams where she searches for Max, he gives her advice in her quest to find Max and at another time finds her a rare fruit that grants desires, which would have helped speed up her search if James hadn't woken her.
Max Max was Charlie's best friend. He was a cheerful boy and they spent much time together, all the way up until his fall into the mill pool. Max's departure from Charlie's life was what set the rest of the story in motion, being such an important person in Charlie's psyche. A page about The Leap on Jonathan Stroud's official website
Heroes of the Valley
Heroes of the Valley is a 2009 fantasy adventure novel written by English writer Jonathan Stroud. The protagonist of the series is a boy from a village nestled atop a mountain. Development for the book began in 2006, following the end of Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy, finished in the summer of 2008. Stroud has stated that: "I’ve always liked reading Norse myths and legends, the Icelandic Sagas, written in the Middle Ages by the descendents of Vikings; the Sagas are interesting because they mix ordinary domestic stories about farms and families with sudden bits of supernatural stuff, featuring ghosts and trolls. The fantasy never takes over. I was keen to try a saga of my own, which would explore themes of story-telling and family life, began jotting down a few fragments of story." Halli Sveinsson loves to hear stories from the days when the valley was a wild and dangerous place, besieged by the bloodthirsty Trow. Now farming has taken over from fighting Trows, to Halli's disappointment, heroics seem a thing of the past.
But when a practical joke rekindles an old blood feud, he sees a chance for a daring quest of his own. The tale begins with the Battle of the Rock being told to a child; this was when twelve heroes of the valley joined together to fight the ruthless Trows who were devastating the land. Taking up positions on a large rock, they were attacked at dusk by the Trows, who they fended off all night. In the morning, when the people returned to see what had happened, all were dead and Heroes, including Svein, their leader; the heroes were buried under cairns along the borders of the valley with their swords, so that in death, they could guard the boundaries from the Trows. As long as no one crosses the cairn border, the legends say, no Trows can enter the Valley. Many years Halli is born, he is a short and headstrong boy who longs for the days of the Heroes, when a man could fight for what he wanted and take what he could win. He longs to leave the valley, now ruled by a Council of women who demand peace and equality in the land.
They have outlawed other weapons to discourage wars. Halli looks much like his uncle Brodir, whom he adores, he is the third and last child in his family, who are Arnkel, his father and Arbiter of Svein's House, his mother and Law-Giver of Svein's House, his older brother, in line for the Arbiter after Arnkel, his sister and Brodir, the only relative who seems to get along with him. When his uncle is murdered by the rival house of Hakonssons, Halli sets off to avenge him, he thinks that he will have a hero's quest of his own. But during his journey, Halli realizes that he isn't the pitiless avenging killer that he thought he could be, his interference and thirst for revenge leads two men to their deaths, he becomes sick with guilt. He returns home to his relieved yet angry family, his distrusting and fearful fellow villagers, his actions lead to an attack by the House of Hakon, he alone can accept responsibility and take charge of his defenseless village. The enemy arrives and they have an obvious advantage—swords.
Halli realizes that his peoples' only hope is if he lures the enemy in the dark past the cairn boundaries. He does so with the help of his friend, Aud Arnsdottir, to his relief, it works; the Hakonssons are eaten by monsters in the moorlands. However and Aud come under attack. Much like the heroes of old, they take their last stand on a large rock and await the unseen monsters. Jonathan Stroud's journal
A hardcover or hardback book is one bound with rigid protective covers. It has a sewn spine which allows the book to lie flat on a surface when opened. Following the ISBN sequence numbers, books of this type may be identified by the abbreviation Hbk. Hardcover books are printed on acid-free paper, they are much more durable than paperbacks, which have flexible damaged paper covers. Hardcover books are marginally more costly to manufacture. Hardcovers are protected by artistic dust jackets, but a "jacketless" alternative is becoming popular: these "paper-over-board" or "jacketless hardcover" bindings forgo the dust jacket in favor of printing the cover design directly onto the board binding. If brisk sales are anticipated, a hardcover edition of a book is released first, followed by a "trade" paperback edition the next year; some publishers publish paperback originals. For popular books these sales cycles may be extended, followed by a mass market paperback edition typeset in a more compact size and printed on shallower, less hardy paper.
This is intended to, in part, prolong the life of the immediate buying boom that occurs for some best sellers: After the attention to the book has subsided, a lower-cost version in the paperback, is released to sell further copies. In the past the release of a paperback edition was one year after the hardback, but by the early twenty-first century paperbacks were released six months after the hardback by some publishers, it is unusual for a book, first published in paperback to be followed by a hardback. An example is the novel The Judgment of Paris by Gore Vidal, which had its revised edition of 1961 first published in paperback, in hardcover. Hardcover books are sold at higher prices than comparable paperbacks. Books for the general public are printed in hardback only for authors who are expected to be successful, or as a precursor to the paperback to predict sale levels. Hardcovers consist of a page block, two boards, a cloth or heavy paper covering; the pages are sewn together and glued onto a flexible spine between the boards, it too is covered by the cloth.
A paper wrapper, or dust jacket, is put over the binding, folding over each horizontal end of the boards. Dust jackets serve to protect the underlying cover from wear. On the folded part, or flap, over the front cover is a blurb, or a summary of the book; the back flap is. Reviews are placed on the back of the jacket. Many modern bestselling hardcover books use a partial cloth cover, with cloth covered board on the spine only, only boards covering the rest of the book. Bookbinding Paperback
Children's literature or juvenile literature includes stories, books and poems that are enjoyed by children. Modern children's literature is classified in two different ways: genre or the intended age of the reader. Children's literature can be traced to stories and songs, part of a wider oral tradition, that adults shared with children before publishing existed; the development of early children's literature, before printing was invented, is difficult to trace. After printing became widespread, many classic "children's" tales were created for adults and adapted for a younger audience. Since the fifteenth century much literature has been aimed at children with a moral or religious message; the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is known as the "Golden Age of Children's Literature", because many classic children's books were published then. There is no single or used definition of children's literature, it can be broadly defined as anything that children read or more defined as fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or drama intended for and used by children and young people.
One writer on children's literature defines it as "all books written for children, excluding works such as comic books, joke books, cartoon books, non-fiction works that are not intended to be read from front to back, such as dictionaries and other reference materials". However, others would argue that comics should be included: "Children's Literature studies has traditionally treated comics fitfully and superficially despite the importance of comics as a global phenomenon associated with children"; the International Companion Encyclopedia of Children's Literature notes that "the boundaries of genre... are not fixed but blurred". Sometimes, no agreement can be reached about whether a given work is best categorized as literature for adults or children; some works defy easy categorization. J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series was written and marketed for young adults, but it is popular among adults; the series' extreme popularity led The New York Times to create a separate best-seller list for children's books.
Despite the widespread association of children's literature with picture books, spoken narratives existed before printing, the root of many children's tales go back to ancient storytellers. Seth Lerer, in the opening of Children's Literature: A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter, says, "This book presents a history of what children have heard and read... The history I write of is a history of reception." Early children's literature consisted of spoken stories and poems that were used to educate and entertain children. It was only in the eighteenth century, with the development of the concept of childhood, that a separate genre of children's literature began to emerge, with its own divisions and canon; the earliest of these books were educational books, books on conduct, simple ABCs—often decorated with animals and anthropomorphic letters. In 1962, French historian Philippe Ariès argues in his book Centuries of Childhood that the modern concept of childhood only emerged in recent times.
He explains that children were in the past not considered as different from adults and were not given different treatment. As evidence for this position, he notes that, apart from instructional and didactic texts for children written by clerics like the Venerable Bede and Ælfric of Eynsham, there was a lack of any genuine literature aimed at children before the 18th century. Other scholars have qualified this viewpoint by noting that there was a literature designed to convey the values and information necessary for children within their cultures, such as the Play of Daniel from the 12th century. Pre-modern children's literature, tended to be of a didactic and moralistic nature, with the purpose of conveying conduct-related and religious lessons. During the 17th century, the concept of childhood began to emerge in Europe. Adults saw children as separate beings, innocent and in need of protection and training by the adults around them; the English philosopher John Locke developed his theory of the tabula rasa in his 1690 An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.
In Locke's philosophy, tabula rasa was the theory that the mind is at birth a "blank slate" without rules for processing data, that data is added and rules for processing are formed by one's sensory experiences. A corollary of this doctrine was that the mind of the child was born blank and that it was the duty of the parents to imbue the child with correct notions. Locke himself emphasized the importance of providing children with "easy pleasant books" to develop their minds rather than using force to compel them, he suggested that picture books be created for children. In the nineteenth century, a few children's titles became famous as classroom reading texts. Among these were the fables of Aesop and Jean de la Fontaine and Charles Perraults's 1697 Tales of Mother Goose; the popularity of these texts led to the creation of a number of nineteenth-century fantasy and fairy tales for children which featured magic objects and talking animals. Another influence on this shift in attitudes came from Puritanism, which stressed the importance of individual salvation.
Puritans were concerned with the spiritual welfare of their children, there was a large growth in the publication of "good godly books" aimed squarely at children. Some of the most popular works were by James Janeway, but the most enduring book from this movement, still read toda
The Ring of Solomon
The Ring of Solomon is a children's novel of alternate history and magic reminiscent of the Harry Potter series, but much darker in tone. It is a prequel to the Bartimaeus trilogy, written by British author Jonathan Stroud; the first edition was published in Oct. 2010 by Doubleday in UK. The book follows the early adventures of Bartimaeus in service to King Solomon; the story is set in a fantasy version of ancient Jerusalem, during the reign of biblical King Solomon, about 950BCE. Solomon, biblical King of Israel, ~970-931BC Asmira, captain of the guard for Queen of Sheba Balkis Ezekiel, a magician in service to Solomon Khaba the Cruel Bartimaeus, a mid-level djinn Faquarl, a djinn Ammet, a marid Spirit of the Ring Philocretes, an afrit High Magicians of Solomon Ring of Solomon The story opens in Jerusalem with the djinni Bartimaeus in the service of one of the seventeen High Magicians of King Solomon of Israel, whom the king rules with the use of a mighty Ring. Ezekiel commands Bartimaeus to retrieve a magical artifact from the ancient city of Eridu.
Bartimaeus succeeds, tricks the magician into commanding him to use the artefact against him. It sends a spurt of water at him. Bartimaeus devours the old man and by the magician's death is released and returns to the Other Place; the king, upon learning of Bartimaeus's murder of Ezekiel, is insulted that a mere djinni is the perpetrator. To make Bartimaeus pay for his actions he commands Khaba, an Egyptian and another of the seventeen, to summon Bartimaeus back into his service and punish him; the king proposes to the queen of Sheba and is refused. The scene shifts to the Sheban capital of Marib where Balkis, the aforementioned queen, receives a message from a fierce marid in Solomon's service: either pay a ransom of 40 sacks of frankincense or be destroyed, gives her two weeks to pay. Balkis decides to send her loyal guard captain Asmira to Jerusalem to assassinate Solomon. Back in Jerusalem, now in Khaba's service, Bartimaeus is commanded to perform many degrading jobs, including grain counting, sewage treatment, artichoke collecting.
Another unpleasant element is. Khaba assembles the eight djinn under his command and informs them that they have been commissioned to build Solomon's Temple on the Temple Mount and that they are to build it without using any magic whatsoever. Bartimaeus uses his trademark wit to infuriate Khaba and the magician unleashes his flail upon the djinn and threatens to place them in his essence cages should they displease him a second time. At first and his subordinate supervise the stages of construction but after a while they stop showing up at the building site and the attitudes of the djinn grow lax, they start using magic to build the temple. Several days Solomon makes an unexpected appearance on the building site; the other djinn manage to revert to human form and disguise their use of magic but Bartimaeus is caught in the form of a pygmy hippopotamus in a skirt. The king interrogates Bartimaeus and the djinni reluctantly admits his guilt while covering for the other spirits; as Solomon prepares to use the Ring on Bartimaeus, the djinni resorts to grovelling to appease the king.
Bartimaeus's pathetic display amuses Solomon, who agrees to spare the djinni's life and instead punishes him by sending them to hunt down the local bandits. Several days out in the desert and Faquarl find and defeat bandits attacking the traveller Asmira. Faquarl insists on eating her but Bartimaeus hopes she can intercede with Khaba on their behalf. Asmira is escorted to Jerusalem by Khaba and manages to persuade him to reluctantly dismiss the two djinn. Faquarl gains his freedom but Bartimaeus is imprisoned in a small bottle by Khaba and his principal slave, the marid Ammet, as punishment for his earlier crimes. Asmira fails. Asmira commands him as his new master to help her kill Solomon; the pair sneak through the palace gardens and scale the tower wall to Solomon's chamber, evading obstacles through Bartimaeus' magical efforts. They encounter the king in his observatory and Asmira stabs him with her dagger, only to discover that it is an illusion set up to trap them. Bartimaeus escapes. Meanwhile Bartimaeus encounters the trapped afrit Philocretes and learns the secret behind Solomon and the Ring, that it causes immense pain to the bearer, in this case King Solomon.
He sneaks into the chamber where Solomon is interrogating Asmira and steals the Ring. Asmira takes the Ring from him, only to discover that its energies indeed inflict pain upon whoever touches it or uses it. Solomon maintains that he never sent any ransom demand to Sheba, which causes Asmira to doubt herself and her loyalty to Queen Balkis. In the end, Asmira refrains from killing the king, choosing instead to take the Ring back to Sheba in spite of Solomon's warnings and Bartimaeus' demoralising analysis of her motives. Khaba arrives, subdues both girl and djinni and claims the Ring for himself. Khaba commands the Spirit of the Ring to destroy several of his rival magicians as well as Solomon's palace, but Asmira manages to use her last throwing knife to slice off Khaba's finger, with the ring still on it, commands Bartimaeus to throw it into