Centuries before the events of The Amulet of Samarkand, the irreverrent djinni Bartimaeus was enslaved to a magician serving King Solomon. He involves himself in a young warrior's quest to assassinate the king, but on the moment of their victory they realize that there are far greater threats than Solomon.
It's such a pleasure to read about Bartimaeus again. He's so wonderfully sarcastic, untrustworthy, and secretly just a little good-hearted. His footnotes alone
would make me love this book, but the plot is a fast-paced adventurous romp, with just enough darkness to be scary, so it's all great fun. It is far, far more light-hearted than the series, and for that I am grateful. It's an enjoyable prequel to the depressing dystopic series that will someday succeed it.