The Thief (1996 novel)
Cover of the second edition released in the US
|Author||Megan Whalen Turner|
|Genre||young adult historical fiction fantasy|
|October 1, 1996|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback) & Audio book|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-688-14627-9 (USA 1st hardback edition)|
|LC Class||PZ7.T85565 Th 1996|
|Followed by||The Queen of Attolia|
The Thief is a young adult fantasy novel by Megan Whalen Turner, first published by HarperCollins on October 1, 1996. It is the first in a series of books, followed by The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia and A Conspiracy of Kings.
Although the time period is somewhat similar to ancient Greece, this fantasy story takes place in a Byzantine-like civilization that includes more modern inventions such as rifles, glass window panes, telescopes, cannons, and printed books.
The story takes place in the fictional countries of Sounis, Eddis, and Attolia and is told in the first person from the point of view of Eugenides, a young thief who, despite his considerable talent for thievery (his own tag line is "I can steal anything"), is languishing in the King of Sounis's prison for the outrageous crime of having stolen the King's Seal and bragging about it in a wine shop.
Gen is released from prison by the magus, the king's powerful scholar. The magus, whose name is not revealed, finds Gen filthy, uncouth, and insolent, but he values Gen’s skills as a thief. Without telling Gen where they are going, he takes him out of the city. They are joined by the magus’s two apprentices, Sophos and Ambiades, and by Pol, a soldier.
The journey is dangerous, and the travelers grate on each other's nerves. The magus reveals that the object he wants Gen to steal is a precious stone called Hamaithes's Gift in the country of Attolia. The magus' plan is to use the long lost tradition embedded within the stone in order to claim the country of Eddis for his king. In exchange, the magus offers Gen fame and additionally threats him with a bounty if he chooses to escape. Agreeing, Gen risks death in a daring attempt to steal the stone from an almost inaccessible temple, while the entire party is pursued by the Guard of Attolia. Pol and Ambiades are killed in an ambush.
The twist in the novel is that none of the main characters are exactly what they appear to be. Gen works for the queen of a neighboring nation (Eddis), Sophos is the heir to the throne of Sounis, and Ambiades is a traitor.
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