- Series: Queen's Thief (Book 3)
- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Greenwillow Books; Reprint edition (February 28, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062642987
- ISBN-13: 978-0062642981
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 191 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The King of Attolia (Queen's Thief) Paperback – February 28, 2017
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“Megan Whalen Turner has constructed a clever world filled with suspense and intrigue and characters that will never be forgotten. Once you dive into the world of the Queen’s Thief [books], prepare to have your life stolen from you until you finish them all.” (Joelle Charbonneau, New York Times-bestselling author of the Testing trilogy)
“One of the most fascinating and original children’s fantasies to appear in years . . . . Rarely does one see a hero as psychologically knowing and irresistibly attractive as Turner’s Thief.” (starred review) (The Horn Book)
“Eugenides, the former Thief of Eddis, is back and just as clever as ever.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
“A winner.” (starred review) (Kirkus Reviews)
About the Author
New York Times–bestselling author Megan Whalen Turner is the award-winning author of six novels set in the world of the Queen’s Thief. These epic novels of intrigue and adventure can be read in any order, but were published as follows: The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, A Conspiracy of Kings, Thick as Thieves, and Return of the Thief. Megan Whalen Turner has been awarded a Newbery Honor and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature. She has won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature and was a finalist for the Andre Norton Award. She worked as a bookseller for seven years before she started writing. Her first book was a collection of short stories called Instead of Three Wishes.
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The Queen of Attolia
The King of Attolia
A Conspiracy of Kings
Thick as Thieves
by Megan Whalen Turner
This is one of those series of books that you really ought to read in order. While each book can and does stand alone, this is a tale that unfolds like a flower, one petal at a time, and you owe it to yourself to let yourself enjoy it the way it was meant to be enjoyed. Take Humpty-Dumpty’s advice. Begin at the beginning, go on to the end, then stop — and then wish that there was more to the tale!
So: Imagine a land that looks like Greece but isn’t, inhabited by a people with Greek sounding names, who worship gods with Greek sounding names, but who have pocket watches, window glass, and flintlocks. They speak a common language, worship common gods, but have divided themselves into three separate states: Sounis, Eddis and Attolia: The queendom* of Eddis is both protected and trapped within its mountainous geography. It is sandwiched between the kingdom of Sounis on one hand, and the queendom of Attolia on the other. The king of Sounis covets Attolia, Eddis, and especially Eddis’ queen. The Queen of Attolia is struggling to keep her throne and her power against the machinations of the large empire of Mede across the sea to the south. Like the wolf at the door, Mede is hungry to get a foothold on their shores by using intrigue and influence to gain control of all three states, and another powerful empire to the north of them is equally determined not to let this happen.
The tale starts with The Thief, whose name is Gen, locked in the palace dungeons of the king of Sounis for being what he is, a thief. It’s a heist tale, suspenseful and exciting; it sets the stage for everything that comes after. By the end of it we have come to understand the where’s and why’s of the story, and have met all the important who’s but one.
The second book continues the career of Gen the thief, and introduces us to the last of the key players, The Queen of Attolia, a woman who must walk a tightrope to stay one step ahead of the machinations of the Mede ambassador who already sees himself as Attolia’s next king. When Gen falls into her clutches, she takes something important from him, but he steals something much more important from her.
In The King of Attolia, the third book, Attolia gets the king it needs but doesn’t want, and in order for Gen the thief to have the one thing he wants most, he also has to take what comes with it — which is the last thing he wants. Fate has put Gen where he is and has given him the role he needs to play. Somehow he has to find it within himself to do what he knows is right -- and not get caught doing it! It's a tale of deception and intrigue, and of how to deal with a man you hate and want to kill but can't.
I think the story was originally supposed to end here, but I can see how Ms. Turner couldn’t let it go. There was still one person who needed to tell his story.
In the fourth book, A Conspiracy of Kings, the chief advisor of Sounis’ young apprentice, whom we met in The Thief, gets to tell his tale. It is the story of how a boy becomes a man, how a man becomes a king, and how the young apprentice puts the heir of Sounis on his throne.
I suspect that Ms. Turner succumbed to the plea that every story teller hopes to hear, “Just one more story! Please!” That “one more story” is Thick as Thieves. In it, the chief slave of the former Mede ambassador to the court of Attolia tells how Attolia’s king enacted his revenge on both master and slave.
I was lucky that the first three books were already out when I started The Thief. I only had to wait two days for the second and third books to arrive from Amazon. I read them again when the fourth book came out, and have just finished reading them all again now that the fifth book is out. I know at some point I’ll want to read them all again. Yes, they are that good. By the end of the first chapter of The Thief, the characters had stepped off the page and into the miniseries that was playing in my head as I continued reading. As I said at the start of this, do yourself a favor and read the books in order. Just when you think you know how the tale is going to go, it takes an unexpected twist. Things are not what they seem, and people are not who you think they are.
Oh, and did I mention the volcano?
*Don’t tell me a queendom isn’t a thing. If a country ruled by a king is a kingdom, then a country ruled by a queen is a queendom. Sit down and hush.
After a few books shown from the PoVs of Eudenidies and The Queens it was interesting that most of this book was shown from the perspective of Costis a member of the Attolian guard. At first I didn’t really understand what the author was doing, but then it made perfect sense. It was a much more interesting story to see how everyone else in Attolia perceived Gen and try to figure out what he was really up to. If we got the story from his perspective then the mystery of it wouldn’t have been half as entertaining. I almost feel bad for Costis caught in whatever game Gen is playing.
***“Don’t hang Teleus. But I don’t see how you can hang Costis if you won’t hang his superior officer.”
The queen turned back to face him.
“I could hang you,” she said.
Eugenides looked up at her. “You missed your chance for that,” he said.
The queen lifted a hand to briefly cover her eyes. “It is remarkable how you cloud my otherwise clear vision,” she said. “What is it you propose?”
“I propose that you let me trade him to Teleus. His life in return for Teleus’s good behavior.”***
AND LET THE GAMES BEGIN…..The people of Attolia have made sure that Gen does not feel the least bit welcome in their country. Most of the time they like to refer to him as a jumped-up barbarian goatfoot and play little vengeful tricks on him in order to chip away at his resolve and respect. It was so weird to see what they thought of him since we know how deadly he truly is.
***The gods above knew that the king could be laid out by a toddler with a toasting fork. What hope had he against an assassin, trained as a sword is sharpened, honed to one purpose, to murder?***
I really enjoyed trying to figure out myself what game he was playing and why he was pretending to be so much less than he was. While I was certain there was something up I struggled to put the clues together. Everyone thought that they were getting the best of Eugenides, when he was really maneuvering them to move to the steps of the dance he set in motion.
We get little glimpses of Gen and the Queen together and it made it all the more special to also see those through Costis’s eyes. There aren’t a lot of them as this is not a romance per say but the moments we get really are pretty beautiful and spectacular because there aren’t a lot of them.
***“Tell me you won’t cut out my lying tongue, tell me you won’t blind me, you won’t drive red-hot wires into my ears.”
After one moment of gripped immobility, the queen bent to kiss the king lightly on one closed eyelid, then on the other. She said, “I love your eyes.” She kissed him on either cheek, near the small lobe of his ear. “I love your ears, and I love”—she paused as she kissed him gently on the lips—“every single one of your ridiculous lies.”***
There are a few moments of action in the book. But for the most part it is a political maneuvering conspiracy and most of the fun was in the revelation of clues and the big reveal of why Eugenides would put up with so much for so long. There was a great sword fight towards the end and I enjoyed the reason behind it and why it finally happened. It was great to see Gen finally figure out his place in Attolia and claim it in true Thief fashion.
Let this be an exception to that rule. It's extremely interesting watching the events of this novel through the eyes of Costis, an Attolian guardsman who understands nothing about Eugenides, the eponymous king. We can see his path of reasoning as he interacts with the king, but our familiarity with Eugenides from previous books also allows us to understand MORE than Costis, creating a very exciting tension throughout the story. (If you haven't read the previous books in this series, I strenuously recommend that you read them first. It will make The King of Attolia a much more satisfying experience.)
And of course, it is written with the same clear, concise description and sharp dialogue from Turner's other books. Her writing style is extremely easy to digest, without succumbing to mediocrity.
I have read both the physical novel and listened to the audiobook -- which, by the way, is also excellent. The narrator wonderfully captures Eugenides' witty and manipulative side, and absolutely shines as haughty Attolia. His ability to differentiate the characters is just lovely.