“The Queen’s Thief” series review

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Megan Whalen Turner's fifth book of her series, The Queen's Thief, was published this summer to the surprise of many of her fans. Photo courtesy of Barnes and Noble.

When beloved childhood authors disappear for seven years, they are often doomed to be forgotten, their books kept on back shelves to be glanced at and occasionally dusted. If there is a resurgence in writing, booksellers pay little attention.

This is not the case with Ohio-based author, Megan Whalen Turner, who in May of this year, published her fifth book — “Thick as Thieves” — in “The Queen’s Thief” series, a story many readers believed completed.

For Turner’s small yet loyal group of followers, “Thick as Thieves” was cause for joy and an abundance of new theories about the dynamic storyline that it continues. For those new to the world of Eugenides, the queen’s thief himself, this new book served as a doorway into the stupendously original world Turner created twenty-one years ago with her first book, “The Thief.”

Summary:

In a semi-classical era, three small, constantly quarreling kingdoms live in the shadow of a larger empire: the Mede. Some choose to accept the inevitability of defeat, while others choose to fight against that end for the sake of their culture. Most, however, simply try to survive and make the best out of life and love amidst the turmoil and bloody politics surrounding them.

When young, wily Gen agrees to steal a precious stone for the king of Sounis, there is much more at stake than the success of a petty thief. Gen and his companions set into motion a fight for power amongst the kingdoms, which will turn father against son and slave against master. Each book is impressively dynamic, erasing the lines between genres and merging politics, adventure and romance.

New readers of this series can be guaranteed a rich, relevant story that will keep them on their toes and have them holding their breath at the end of every chapter. Turner’s books are more than mere hairbreadth escapes, however.

Amid the adventure, one can be sure to find deep themes of loyalty, faith and freedom that will spur questions akin to those that University of Dallas students are so very fond of: What is true friendship? What does it mean to trust someone? How can we learn to forgive, and what does forgiveness really mean?

Turner’s stories are reminiscent of Homer, with well-placed references to “wine-dark seas,” as well as countless epithets worthy of that poet. Each is based in classical history while taking its own perspective and fantastical stance; the books are original in their dynamic characters, mythology and ever-winding plot.

“The Queen’s Thief” is aimed toward a diverse audience — its adventures are suitable and stimulating for middle and high schoolers, yet it possesses mature themes such as those mentioned earlier — friendship, trust, loyalty — tactfully disguised behind all the engaging sword-fights and sea-voyages.

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