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The Queen of Attolia (Queen's Thief) Hardcover – April 26, 2000
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In the firelit torture chamber the executioner's sword descends--and the Eugenides--the Thief of Eddis--no longer has his clever right hand. The Queen of Attolia sits calmly and watches the dreadful amputation behind her carefully cultivated mask of coldness, but later agonizes over what she has done to him. At the same time, she rages at herself for not hanging her captured prisoner outright.
Readers who first met Eugenides as the rascally teenager Gen in the Newbery Honor-winning The Thief will find that in this sequel he deepens through suffering and loss, but keeps the same witty talent for elaborate, crafty schemes of espionage and theft. Caught between two rival queens in a landscape based on that which surrounds the Mediterranean Sea, Eugenides is loyal to Eddis as her Queen's Thief, but in love (despite himself) with the beautiful and seemingly ruthless Attolia. In her small mountain country, Eddis controls the only bridge between the valley nation of Sounis and the coastal kingdom of Attolia, while all three are threatened by the ships of the powerful Medes. As the web of intrigue and shifting allegiances expands, and war is imminent, the Queen's Thief risks everything on an audacious and cunning military strategy to bring the two queens together--and to steal Attolia for himself. This remarkable fantasy, with its appealing characters, emotional intensity, witty dialogue, and inventive plot, will have teen fans panting for more. (Ages 12 and older) --Patty Campbell
From Publishers Weekly
This spellbinder of a sequel to the Newbery Honor-winning The Thief is every bit as devilishly well plotted and grandly conceived. As it opens, Eugenides the thief has fallen into the clutches of the queen of Attolia, who still seethes from his besting of her (relayed in The Thief). Unwilling to execute him, lest she start a war with the queen of Eddis (Eugenides's cousin and ruler), she orders his hand cut off. The drama is high, and the action grows only more engrossing. As Eugenides tries to reconcile himself to the amputation, war breaks out, involving Attolia, Eddis and Sounis, tiny countries modeled on ancient Greece and other Mediterranean nations. For the most part, Turner eschews battle scenes, although she executes these with flair. Instead, she emphasizes strategy, with brilliant, ever-deceptive Eugenides a match for Odysseus in his wiliness and daring, perpetually catching readers by surprise. When, fairly late in the novel, Eugenides decides that he must wed the fearsome queen of Attolia in order to achieve a more lasting peace--and that he loves her--it requires a certain leap of faith to accept that his terror of her coexists with desire. But Turner's storytelling is so sure that readers will want to go along with her--and discover whatever it is that Eugenides will do next. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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The plot twists like a river down a canyon, but at the end, the reader is left asking the same question as Gen. Was he betrayed, and if so, were the setbacks really necessary or just there to be torturous?
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 Queen of Attolia is the second book in the series. It continues the career of Gen the thief, and introduces us to the last of the key players. Attolia's queen is 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. None of her choices are good; she has to decide which choice is the least bad and then live with the consequences of it. It's a darker book, full of grim realities. 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 obtain the one thing he wants most, he also has to take what comes with it — which is the last thing he wants
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, the tale 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.
Gen is probably one of my new favorite characters. Right behind Uhtred. And maybe Jericho Barrons. I'd have to read earlier Fever books to be sure. He's clever and proud and yet wounded in a way that makes you want to take him under your wing like a tiny bird fallen out of its nest and nurse him back to health.
This book was written in third person instead of the first person POV in The Thief. I was sad to lose the closeness with Gen but it was necessary for the story to be told this way. Otherwise you'd never know how Attolia was feeling and the story wouldn't have the same impact.
I did have this story spoiled for me because I got greedy and looked at the synopsis of the next book without realizing that the first three words of it were one giant reveal. It didn't lessen my enjoyment of the story however and maybe was helpful in that I had an idea of where it was all headed. Looking back, this book isn't so much about that turn of events as it was the journey to get there.
Turner's writing is clean, concise and efficient. Not poetry, but I mean this as a complement. Flowery writing in fantasy gets tiresome. Turner is a story teller, and she won't let you forget it for a moment.
This is a long book and a lot happens in it. Eugenides is in the story a lot but not as much as the first book. The point of view bounces between Eugenides, Eddis, Attolia, and the Medean ambassador Nahuseresh.
This book was much more epic fantasy-like than the first book with more about war between nations than any adventure. I didn't like it quite as much because of that but it was still really well done with some unique twists and turns, just like the first book.
My 10 year old son and I read it together and we both enjoyed it a lot; although we both agree that the we liked the first book better.
Overall this is a very well done epic fantasy and I plan on continuing the series with my son.