A Conspiracy of Kings (The Queen's Thief Series #4)

A Conspiracy of Kings (The Queen's Thief Series #4)

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by Megan Whalen Turner
     
 

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Sophos, heir to the throne of Sounis, has disappeared without atrace. Eugenides, the new and unlikely king of Attolia, has neverstopped wondering what happened to his friend. Nor has theQueen of Eddis, who once offered Sophos her hand. They sendspies. They pay informants. They appeal to the gods. But as timegoes by, it becomes less and less certain that they will

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Overview

Sophos, heir to the throne of Sounis, has disappeared without atrace. Eugenides, the new and unlikely king of Attolia, has neverstopped wondering what happened to his friend. Nor has theQueen of Eddis, who once offered Sophos her hand. They sendspies. They pay informants. They appeal to the gods. But as timegoes by, it becomes less and less certain that they will ever seetheir friend alive again.

Battles are fought, bribes are offered, and conspiracies are setin motion. Across the sea, a ruthless empire watches for even theslightest weakness. And Sophos, anonymous and alone, bides histime. Until, drawing on his memories of Gen, Pol, the magus—and Eddis—Sophos sets out on an adventure that will change allof their lives forever.

Editorial Reviews

Holly Black
“Megan Whalen Turner is one of my all-time favorite writers. A Conspiracy of Kings is impossible to put down.”
Kristin Cashore
“The world Turner creates is so tangible that not only do I believe in its characters, I almost believe in its gods.”
Rebecca Stead
“A Conspiracy of Kings brings the sweetest, sharpest kind of reading pleasure. Megan Whalen Turner’s books are pure joy.”
Cassandra Clare
“Romance, intrigue, mystery, surprises, and sheer beautiful writing make this a worthy successor to the previous volumes.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Elegant and sure-footed.”
Horn Book (starred review)
“Masterful.”
Booklist (starred review)
“Turner’s plotting remains deft, and the subtlety with which she balances her characters’ inner and outer worlds will delight both series newcomers and fans, who will be waiting to grab this stand-out, stand-alone adventure, filled with all the expected intrigue and political machinations, from the shelves.”
Publishers Weekly
The fourth installment in Turner's saga is another absorbing political drama, this time focusing on Sophos, reluctant heir to the Sounis throne. Readers will remember him as Useless the Younger in The Thief, when he was more interested in poetry than power. As the king's only heir, however, he had no choice but to prepare for the monarchy until, in the opening pages of this volume, he is kidnapped and sold into slavery. He narrates the story of his abduction to an undisclosed “you,” whose identity close readers of the series may guess. Given the complexity of Turner's plot, readers should reread the first three books before beginning this one, which derives its power from the intricate construction of Turner's imagined world, a realm in which her founding mythology is as impressive as her descriptions of the land itself. Sophos's choice—live anonymously in servitude or accept a role he doesn't want—drives the story as his allies approach a showdown with the enemy Medes. Strong evidence emerges that the story doesn't end here, and fans will savor this while they wait for more. Ages 10–up. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
With each volume of this stellar series, the question arises anew: How will the text deceive its readers now that we're able to recognize Eugenides's lies? This time, it's through the first-person narration of Sophos, the excruciatingly honest (but underinformed) heir to the kingdom of Sounis. As civil war brews, the young man is plucked from his bookish rustication by kidnappers desiring a puppet king. Sophos escapes only by finagling himself into slavery. It's an oddly pleasant interlude for him; after a lifetime of training for an unwanted royalty, Sophos treasures the choicelessness of his relatively benevolent servitude. Alas, he knows his responsibilities. When the opportunity comes, Sophos escapes and turns to his old friend Eugenides for help. Sophos, with aid from Eugenides and the queens of Attolia and Eddis, plots the recovery of Sounis. In a heartbreaking chain of machinations, they negotiate the responsibilities of kingship when they'd rather be operating as friends. Sophos's straightforward stubbornness is a refreshing antidote to his world's lies and a fascinating lens on Eugenides. For series fans, unmissable. (Fiction. 12-15)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Elegant and sure-footed."
Horn Book
"Masterful."
Booklist
"Turner’s plotting remains deft, and the subtlety with which she balances her characters’ inner and outer worlds will delight both series newcomers and fans, who will be waiting to grab this stand-out, stand-alone adventure, filled with all the expected intrigue and political machinations, from the shelves."
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“Elegant and sure-footed.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Elegant and sure-footed.”
VOYA - Jan Chapman
Turner continues her critically acclaimed fantasy series with this new novel that explores the richly intricate world of her previous novel, The King of Attolia (Greenwillow, 2006/VOYA February 2006). Sophos, former companion to Eugenides, the king of Attolia, now studies to be king of Sounis, a task for which he cannot muster much enthusiasm. That all changes when he is kidnapped by rebels who oppose his uncle, the current king of Sounis, and sold into slavery to one of the current barons involved in the plot. In an effort to survive, Sophos toughens up and waits for an opportunity. When his father comes to visit the baron, Sophos reveals his identity and escapes. Sophos hope to persuade his old friend, the king of Attolia, to assist him in forming a military and political alliance that will allow Sophos to claim his rightful place as king of Sounis. Intricate and Machiavellian, the plot is more about political intrigue and shifting alliances than about the typical quests/battles that are the stock-in-trade of most fantasy novels. This is a world that Turner has explored in her last three novels, and it is a fascinating and beautifully crafted masterpiece. The characters are well drawn and multi-faceted, but our engagement with them suffers a bit by the author's rather detached narration. Still, Turner's writing is intellectually complex and of the highest quality. Fans of her previous novels will be eager to devour this latest installment in the series. This is a book to recommend to teens who enjoy complex and character-driven fantasies. Reviewer: Jan Chapman
Children's Literature - Michele C. Hughes
In book four of the "The Thief" series, the heir of Sounis is kidnapped and sold into slavery. He craftily avoids the treasonous intentions of his assailants by getting a simpleton noble girl to buy him at the slave market and send him to work in the fields. There he leads a life as idyllic as a slave's life could be—there is hard work, camaraderie, fresh air, occasional free time, and regular meals. He seems to be reconciled to this life during this lull in the story. Even the reader begins to think his shift from royalty to slavery is not so bad. But he eventually awakens to his duty and escapes, joining his father and his tutor, only to realize that he is now the King of Sounis because his uncle has been assassinated. He is suddenly embroiled in political intrigue, a sharp contrast to his nearly pastoral existence as a slave. Despite pages of plotting and planning and strategizing, there are few battle scenes. The book disappoints in this respect it is cerebral and dry where it calls for action and adventure. Even a secret romance with the Queen of Eddis cannot revive the plot. Sounis worries about the intentions of his old friend, Eugenides, whose story is in a previous volume, but again the mystery of where those loyalties lie does not compel the reader to read on. In an unusual narrative device, the perspective shifts from first person to third person, and it is in those times that Sounis is directing his narrative to the Queen of Eddis, using the second person to address her. This refreshing turn draws in the reader more than the third-person narration. Reviewer: Michele C. Hughes
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Teenaged Sophos is his uncle's heir, but his love of poetry and lack of interest in ruling have caused his father to send him to a remote villa. When it is attacked by the king's enemies, Sophos is sold into slavery, where he begins to mature and develop both physically, from the hard manual labor, and emotionally. He makes the decision to escape slavery and try to resume his place as heir and eventually king of Sounis, traveling to Attolia to try to recruit support from its queen and king, Sophos's friend, Eugenides, the protagonist of The Thief (1996) and The King of Attolia (2006, both HarperCollins). Layers of intrigue follow Sophos as he tries to protect Sounis from various groups of enemies, leading to a surprising twist at the conclusion. Sophos tells his story to an initially unknown audience, but interspersed third-person chapters provide additional perspective. Fans of Turner's earlier books set in the medieval-style kingdoms of Sounis, Eddis, and Attolia will enjoy seeing Eugenides, the magus, and other familiar characters again, while the new protagonist and ample background make A Conspiracy of Kings accessible for new readers as well. This is a well-constructed and intricate tale of action, adventure, and assuming the mantle of leadership.—Beth L. Meister, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, WI

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061870958
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
08/23/2011
Series:
Queen's Thief Series, #4
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
115,982
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Megan Whalen Turner is the author of the Newbery Honor Book The Thief and its companions, The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia. She lives with her family in Ohio.

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