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

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

4.4 70
by Megan Whalen Turner
     
 

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Sophos, under the guidance of yet another tutor, practices his swordplay and strategizes escape scenarios should his father's villa come under attack. How would he save his mother? His sisters? Himself? Could he reach the horses in time? Where would he go? But nothing prepares him for the day armed men, silent as thieves, swarm the villa courtyard ready to kill, to

Overview

Sophos, under the guidance of yet another tutor, practices his swordplay and strategizes escape scenarios should his father's villa come under attack. How would he save his mother? His sisters? Himself? Could he reach the horses in time? Where would he go? But nothing prepares him for the day armed men, silent as thieves, swarm the villa courtyard ready to kill, to capture, to kidnap. Sophos, the heir to the throne of Sounis, disappears without a trace.

In Attolia, Eugenides, the new and unlikely king, has never stopped wondering what happened to Sophos. Nor has the Queen of Eddis. They send spies. They pay informants. They appeal to the gods. But as time goes by, it becomes less and less certain that they will ever see their friend alive again.

Across the small peninsula battles are fought, bribes are offered, and conspiracies are set in motion. Darkening the horizon, the Mede Empire threatens, always, from across the sea. And Sophos, anonymous and alone, bides his time. Sophos, drawing on his memories of Gen, Pol, the magus—and Eddis—sets out on an Badventure that will change all of their lives forever.

Editorial Reviews

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)
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.”
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.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Elegant and sure-footed."
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.”
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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061986697
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/23/2010
Series:
Queen's Thief Series , #4
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
79,082
File size:
518 KB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

What People are saying about this

Cassandra Clare
“Romance, intrigue, mystery, surprises, and sheer beautiful writing make this a worthy successor to the previous volumes.”
Kristin Cashore
“The world Turner creates is so tangible that not only do I believe in its characters, I almost believe in its gods.”
Holly Black
“Megan Whalen Turner is one of my all-time favorite writers. A Conspiracy of Kings is impossible to put down.”
Rebecca Stead
“A Conspiracy of Kings brings the sweetest, sharpest kind of reading pleasure. Megan Whalen Turner’s books are pure joy.”

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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Conspiracy of Kings 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 70 reviews.
SeeMichelleRead More than 1 year ago
Like many of you out there, I am a huge fan of Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief series - though perhaps what I should really say is that I am a huge fan of her clever thief Eugenides. Ever since Ms. Turner turned my world upside-down after reading The King of Attolia, I have been waiting none too patiently for another installment of Gen. So it should come as no surprise that I'll admit to being the teeniest bit disappointed upon learning that the bulk of "A Conspiracy of Kings" follows the bookish Sophos from "The Thief" instead of Gen. And then I gave myself a mental face-slap and got down to business after reminding myself: it's Megan Whalen Turner and I will follow that woman anywhere she leads. Sophos has never really wanted his life. Next in line to the throne of Sounis, he'd rather spend his days reading poetry than learning how to fight or the best way to converse with an ambassador. But to Sophos' credit, he's still trying to learn all that his father and uncle, the king, want - knowing even as he does so, that he's still a disappointment to them. But when his family is unexpectedly attacked by rebels - his sisters and mother gone and Sophos himself captured and brutalized and sold into slavery - does Sophos find himself relying on his training as a fighter and a leader in order to find the strength to fight for the country he loves. What I love most about Megan Whalen Turner's books is that she expects a lot from her readers. She expects everyone to be intelligent as Sophos, the Magus, and Gen (although no one really ever could be as smart as Gen). Consequently I find myself often rereading passages so brilliant in their subtly that are never predictable except in their ability to render me speechless. And of course, there are many references to Gen - throwing ink pots and adoring his boots - but Sophos is the real star of A Conspiracy of Kings and he lives up to his role absolutely. Sophos is so genuine and determined and I love his humor and loyalty without hesitation. Most likely due to his rough upbringing, Sophos is constantly plagued with feelings of self-doubt coupled with an immense sense of duty. Although he would much prefer to be left alone with his poetry and books, Sophos never ever backs down from his responsibilities to country and family. Even to the detriment of his own happiness. Sophos will make what has to be the most life-altering decision of his life and even though he knows it will be hard and will make him unhappy, he still CHOOSES WHAT IS HARDEST because he knows it to be the most necessary. And it's not just this once Sophos does this: he makes these hard choices again and again - knowing people may not love him for it, but knowing that it just needs to be done. A better man you could not find. Also: The cover artwork for "A Conspiracy of Kings" is simply beautiful - the entire series has had superb covers actually, each one subtly foreshadowing little bits of the story perfectly. In this case, I think the man on the horse is a little too pretty to be Sophos but you have to agree that his detailed red coat is stunning and the movement of the horse and rider exquisite. Although what draws me to this cover above all is the tightly clenched fist, firmly wearing the golden lion signet ring. There is such power and determination in that single fist that captures Sophos spot-on.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!!! I loved the way she developed Sophos in this book!!! A must read. She needs to keep going with series!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Engaging, Left me wanting more
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put it down!
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Jerk
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!!!!!
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No quite as good as the ones preceeding it in the series, this book is still worth the time.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
It takes a certain kind of person to rule a country. Few men manage to make themselves into successful kings. Fewer still are born to be kings. A lover of what his father calls intellectual pretension, Sophos knows a great many things. He has a firm knowledge of botany, poetry, languages, and even diplomacy. He also knows, with certainty, that he does not want to be king of Sounis. A disgrace to his father and his uncle, the current king, Sophos has always known that he was too fond of scholarly pursuits instead of fighting, too eager to write poetry instead of study battle plans. Really, it's no surprise that he has been exiled to the island of Letnos since parting ways with the magus and a thief who proved too clever for his own good. Exile isn't such a terrible thing. It's better surely to spend his days reading poetry and contemplating philosophy even if it is in the company of an odious tutor. For all of his life, Sophos has been told what he should and should not do. When an end to his exile is finally in sight, Sophos is given an unlikely choice. Attacked and abducted, hidden away and rendered unrecognizable, Sophos finally seems to have a chance to get away from his future as a king. It is not easy to become a king. But it turns out it's even harder to forsake your own country. Navigating the murky waters of friendship and sovereignty, Sophos will have to decide if old friends can become new allies and whether or not honor, or for that matter freedom, have anything to do with ruling a country in A Conspiracy of Kings (2010) by Megan Whalen Turner. A Conspiracy of Kings is the fourth book in Turner's series about Eugenides, the former Thief of Eddis, his friends, and his world. (The series began with Turner's Newbery honor book The Thief folloeed by The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia. Readers of Turner's earlier books might be well advised to re-read the earlier titles to get a better sense of the big picture of the series.) Sounis isn't a real country any more than Eddis or Attolia are, but there is something inordinately compelling about these countries and the struggles of their monarchs. Despite the incongruity with the lives of readers, A Conspiracy of Kings-liked Turner's other books-remains relevant and arresting with evocative prose and characters that are guaranteed to resonate. This latest installment is particularly engrossing thanks to its second person narrative structure that gives readers full insight into Sophos' situation as well as his internal struggles as he tries to reconcile his understanding that he is nothing like an ideal king to the reality that, regardless of that fact, he is a king and responsible for a country. If the earlier books in the series showed Eugenides' journey from boy to man (and by extension from man to king), A Conspiracy of Kings shows a young man acknowledging not only that he is a king but also that he was meant to be a king all along. Turner fans need not fret, all of the old favorites in the series make return appearances here even though Sophos' story remains the lens through which everything is viewed. Gen, Attolia, and Eddis all play their part among others to make A Conspiracy of Kings another satisfying story filled with wit, intrigue, stories, and even some romance with more than a few twists and turns along the way for good measure. Possible Pairings: Dreamquake by Elizabeth Knox, Lirael by Garth Nix, The Last of the High Kings by Kate Th
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