Gr 6 Up--Rejoice! Bartimaeus, the incorrigible djinni introduced in Jonathan Stroud's The Amulet of Samarkand (Disney-Hyperion, 2003), is back and he's as cheeky as ever. This story (Hyperion, 2010) takes place 3,000 years earlier than the Samarkand trilogy. Bartimaeus and eternal foe Faquarl are enslaved to an evil sorcerer who works for King Solomon. A number of plots entwine with the central one of a Sheban assassin, Asmira, on a suicide mission to kill King Solomon and steal his fearsome and powerful magic ring. Through a number of incidents, largely relayed in highly melodramatic and self-pitying fashion by Bartimaeus, he ends up obligated to help Asmira in her quest. There are plenty of laughs provided by the djinni's droll asides while the action maintains a steady pace. Bartimaeus entertains by taking the form of a tutu-wearing pygmy hippo (with a strong and unfortunate resemblance to one of Solomon's wives), a pot-bellied imp, and a limpid-eyed youth. British actor Simon Jones's narration is marvelous. He clearly revels in Bartimaeus's plummy dialogue, yet can do a very convincing accent to indicate the coarseness or wickedness of other characters. His wonderful sense of timing gives listeners the opportunity to fully revel in the richly rendered adventure. This title will surely create new fans and is highly recommended for those who are already familiar with Bartimaeus.--B. Allison Gray, Santa Barbara Public Library System, CA[Page 78]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.