Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Shrouded in political agendas, this fantasy-fiction quickly begins with excitement and mystery. As the tale unfolds, readers learn of several monarchies that are vying for political dominance. The story centralizes on the infamous Thief of Eddis, who has an uncanny ability to steal. Within pages though, the Thief's strength is eliminated; however, readers soon learn that the Thief is brilliant in more than just thievery. In this captivating story of super powers strategizing in battle, themes of pride, power, trust, and materialism become major impetus for military actions. Readers see how pre-nuclear weaponry sufficed in battle and how landscapes played an essential role in a dynasty's strengths. Situated in an age where transportation was limited, the modern conveniences found in today's society may be more deeply appreciated. As strategy and wisdom often supercedes power and strength in these war games, readers get a glimpse into political and intellectual planning. While the book is recommended for readers ten and up, older readers may find more success in following the complex web of monarchs, ambassadors, and military events that floods its pages. 2000, HarperCollins Children's Books/HarperCollins Publishers, Ages 12 up, $15.95. Reviewer: Melinda TierneyChildren's Literature
VOYA - Voya Reviews
How can you be a one-handed thief? That's what Eugenides, the royal Thief of Eddis, wonders when the Queen of Attolia orders his hand cut off--after he survives the first brutal, fevered months. Long after he is out of mortal danger, however, Gen still has to find the answer to his question and to regain his confidence and his ability to laugh. He struggles with himself against a backdrop of war--the countries of Eddis, Attolia, and Sounis all fight externally as Gen wages his internal battles. Back in Attolia, the young queen who maimed Gen fights with herself too, tortured by the fact that she tortured a boy, even as she battles corrupt courtiers and sends armies to attack neighboring countries. This book is as much her story as it is Gen's. A stand-alone sequel to the Newbery Honor book The Thief (Greenwillow, 1996/VOYA June 1997), featuring several of the same characters, this rich, layered tale is immensely satisfying. The setting draws on the ancient Mediterranean world, but the countries and the pantheon are Turner's own. Complex characters and a complicated and sinuous plot, and references to gods and goddesses and their stories all enrich the novel, making the reader want to reread for all the details and resonances missed on the first go-round. This is a story to savor, one of those books a reader will race through to find out what happens, at the same time never wanting it to end. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2000, HarperCollins, Ages 13 to 18, 280p, $15.95. Reviewer: Rebecca Barnhouse
The thief, with a reputation for being able to steal anything, seems to know the Queen's castle and all its passage intimately. However, this time the Queen of Attolia, who has lost face because of him, knows he's there and eventually captures and punishes him in a horrible, unthinkable way. Eugendies feels the gods have forsaken him and his recovery from this cruel, debilitating punishment is halting and difficult. But his loyalty and dedication to the Queen of Eddis causes him to embark on a mission to bring stability to his part of the world. He must steal a man, and steal the Queen of Attolia in order to steal the peace. This fast-paced, breath-taking sequel to the Newbery Honor Book, The Thief, has fabulous twists and turns which make this not only a wonderful story of adventure but also a story about life. Genre: Fantasy/ Adventure. 2000, Greenwillow, 279 pp., $15.95. Ages 12 up. Reviewer: Diana Mitchell; Williamston, Michigan
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-This sequel to The Thief (Greenwillow, 1996) begins promisingly enough. Eugenides, the Thief of Eddis, is caught spying on the Queen of Attolia. She orders his right hand cut off and sends him home fever-ridden and near death. However, Attolia's decision not to hang the Thief comes back to haunt her. Aside from the young man's personal travails, the story involves several kingdoms, all trying to gain ascendancy in the territory, and willing to go to war to do so. It is here that the exciting plot slows to a crawl, with lengthy and tedious descriptions of battle plans and strategic maneuverings. What evolves, very slowly, is a plan for Eugenides to steal the Queen of Attolia and take her to Eddis. It almost works; meanwhile, readers learn that Eugenides is hopelessly in love with her. His rival for her affections is a foreign minister of a kingdom that plans to conquer the entire area. However, Attolia sees through the ambassador's ruse and makes short work of him. It is the question of whether she can possibly return Eugenides's affections that will keep readers turning the pages. Attolia is the ultimate strong-willed, self-sufficient young woman. Eugenides is less strong and self-assured than he was in The Thief, which is understandable given his ordeal. His obsession with Attolia is less believable. He knows her mostly from distant observations and she is responsible for his dismemberment. In the end, this is a story of love and war in which love wins out. It is sure to find readers among admirers of the first book.-Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
The characters are distinct and moving:
we can feel a magus's wisdom, the Mede
ambassador's treachery and especially Eugenides's self-loathing for having
brought on this war...The Queen of Attolia is
a book to turn children into readers...
The New York Times Book Review
“Megan Whalen Turner proves to be one of the brightest creative talents. With each book, she continues to add new levels and new lustre to her sparkling imagination.”
The Horn Book (starred review)
“The intense read is thoroughly involving and wholly satisfying on all fronts.”
“A plot twist sets the obvious on its head and leads to an unexpected conclusion. Scheming, spying, thieving, and fighting fill the pages of this cleverly plotted, enjoyable tale.
Read an Excerpt
Queen of Attolia, The EPB
He was asleep, but woke at the sound of the key turning in the lock. The storage room held winter linens, and no one should have been interested in it in the middle of summer, and certainly not in the middle of the night. By the time the door was open, he had slipped through a square hole in the stones of the wall and soundlessly closed the metal door that covered it. He was in the narrow tunnel that connected a stoking room to the hypocaust of a minor audience chamber down the corridor. The door he'd crawled through was intended to allow smoke into the storage room to fumigate the linens. Moving quietly, he inched down the tunnel to the open space of the hypocaust. Squat pillars held the stone floor above him. There wasn't room to sit up, so he lay on his back and listened to the thumping noises, like drumbeats, as people hurried across the floor of the audience chamber over his head. They could only be looking for him, but he wasn't particularly worried. He'd hidden before in the spaces under the floors of the palace. His ancestors had used the tunnels of the hypocausts to hide in since the invaders had built them to heat their new buildings hundreds of years earlier.
Noises traveled down the long, narrow tunnel from the stoking room: shuffling thumps and a crackle that he strained his ears to hear. A fire was being lit in the furnace chamber. Soon the warm air and, of more concern to him, the smoke would be fanned into the hypocaust to warm the audience room above and drive the quarry out. Silently, in the pitch-dark, he moved between the brick pillars to a wall and then along it to a flue in thewall with an opening slightly larger than the others. Even with the enlarged opening, it was not an easy task to fit himself into the narrow vent, and while he maneuvered, the warm, smoky air blew around him. He remembered how easily he had slipped into the flue the first time he'd tried it. His grandfather, who'd brought him to the palace, had grown too old and too big for most of the passages and had had to stay at an inn in the town while his grandson explored on his own, finding everything just as he'd heard it described.
Once inside the flue, he wedged his fingers into cracks and braced himself with his feet to climb until the space turned at an angle to join the chimney above the audience room. When he reached the chimney, he cursed silently, though what he found was no more than he should have expected. There was a fire in the hearth below. Fortunately they hadn't already had a roaring blaze going when they chased him out of the linen room. They must have just lighted the fire, but the air in the chimney was smoky and quickly growing hot. With no other choice, the thief climbed into the chimney and moved up it as quickly as he could, relying on the sound of the fire to cover the sounds his soft boots made on the ridged bricks of the walls. The chimney was much wider than the flue, and the ridged bricks were intended to be climbed easily by sweepers.
He went on until he reached an intersection where several chimneys came together into a much larger one that rose to the roof of the palace. The chimney was warm and filled with smoke, but instead of climbing it, he turned to another opening and climbed down. He guessed that the queen had soldiers posted on the roof of the palace to watch the openings of the chimneys.
He breathed shallowly and slowly, stifling a need to cough. Any sound might betray him. As he dropped lower in the chimney he'd chosen, the smoke grew thicker, his eyes watered, and he missed a handhold and slid down with a thump to a ledge below. He sucked in a lungful of smoke and then covered his mouth with both hands while his face turned red and the blood pounded in his ears. The breath trickled out between his fingers and he breathed in again more cautiously, but his throat burned and his head swam. His breath came and went in huffs of suppressed coughs.
He was on a ledge where the chimney divided into smaller flues that led down to several different rooms. He closed his eyes and listened for sounds, but there was no shouting, only the muted crackling of the fire somewhere below. He poked his head into one chimney after another, debating with himself before choosing one he hoped led to the stateroom of some foreign ambassador too prestigious to be disturbed in the middle of the night by soldiers wanting to light an unnecessary fire in his hearth.
The chimney he chose descended from the main one in a long, shallow slope. Once he was away from the main chimney, the air was free of smoke and he stopped to draw grateful breaths until his head cleared. When he reached the turn where the chimney dropped straight to the hearth below, he paused and settled himself to wait. There was no sign of a fire laid underneath him, so there was no immediate need to get down, and he thought it best to be sure there was no one waiting for him in the room below. After a long silence he heard the creak of a bed as if its occupant had shifted in his sleep.Queen of Attolia, The EPB. Copyright © by Megan Turner. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.