The King of Attolia
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First edition cover
|Author||Megan Whalen Turner|
|Cover artist||Vince Natale|
|Genre||Young-adult fantasy, political fiction|
|Publisher||Greenwillow Books/ HarperCollins|
|Media type||Print, audiobook|
|LC Class||PZ7.T85565 Ki 2006|
|Preceded by||The Queen of Attolia|
|Followed by||A Conspiracy of Kings|
The King of Attolia is a young adult fantasy novel by Megan Whalen Turner, published by the Greenwillow Books imprint of HarperCollins in 2006. It is the third novel in the Queen's Thief series that Turner inaugurated with The Thief in 1996.
The books are set in a Byzantine-like imaginary landscape, reminiscent of ancient Greece and other territories around the Mediterranean. The action takes place in the countries of Eddis, Attolia, and Sounis. The characters' names are also Greek, and references are made to actual Greek authors, but this is fantasy, not historical fiction. The gods of Turner's pantheon, ruled by the Great Goddess Hephestia, are her own, and her world possesses such items as guns and pocket watches.
Eugenides, the one-handed former Thief of Eddis, has married the Queen of Attolia, bringing peace to the two countries and becoming King. But what kind of a king is he? Slouching on his throne, he appears to sleep during important briefings, makes snide remarks, wears ridiculous clothes, and refuses to be more than a figurehead, letting the Queen rule as she has always done. The Attolian court resents him as a foreigner, an upstart, and an ineffectual fool.
The story is told largely from the point of view of Costis, a young soldier in the Queen's Guard. When the King insults Teleus, captain of the Guard, Costis loses control and knocks the King down. He expects to be executed, but the King spares his life and makes him his reluctant confidant. Costis finds the King maddening, obnoxious, and conniving, but slowly he begins to have some sympathy for Eugenides – a very young man, far from his mountain home in Eddis, married to the beautiful but ruthless Queen.
The plot twists and turns through an assassination attempt and various political intrigues involving the traitorous Baron Erondites and his sons; Relius, the Queen’s master of spies; and Eugenides's old enemy, Nahuseresh of the Mede Empire. Costis begins to realize that there is much more to the King than meets the eye. He gains a clearer understanding of the King's abilities, motives, and complex relationship with the Queen. With this knowledge, Costis finds his own life and reputation at risk. Surprising revelations continue throughout the book, as the fate of three nations hinges on Eugenides's internal struggle to accept his own destiny and truly be the King of Attolia.
The King of Attolia received starred reviews from School Library Journal, The Horn Book, Kirkus Reviews, and Library Media Connection, as well as positive reviews from other sources. It was a School Library Journal Best Book, an ALA Top 10 Best Book for Young Adults, was on the Horn Book Fanfare list, the New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age list, and the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award Masterlist.
- The King of Attolia title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2015-11-03. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.
- "The king of Attolia" (first edition). LC Online Catalog. Library of Congress (lccn.loc.gov). Retrieved 2015-11-03.
- American Library Association (2007). "2007 Best Books for Young Adults". Archived from the original on 2011-02-13. Retrieved 2011-02-03.