In A Conspiracy of Kings, the forth and possibly final book in the Attolia series, we return to Sophos, the missing heir of the King of Sounis. Most of the book is told from Sophos’ POV as he is relating it to another character. We learn early in the book that he has rescued himself from his captors and is the new king of Sounis. But for most of the book he is a king without a country. He is struggling to gain his throne, end the civil war, stave off an invasion, find his family, and secure the hand of the woman he loves.
There’s lots of adventure, but the Attolia books are driven by character more than sweeping adventure. The tone of this book is softer and more reflective, because it’s narrator is a more reflective character than Eugenides. Part of me did want to stay in Eugenides head and see him scheming his way through this story, but it wouldn’t have worked as well. I liked Sophos. I enjoyed traveling with him as he reached the point Eugenides intended him to reach. And I enjoyed that Sophos reached that point in a way that surprised even Eugenides.
I highly recommend this series for fun summer reading. Or really, for anytime.
I loved the first two books of this series, The Thief and The Queen of Attolia. I took a break from the series in an attempt to experience the beauty of delayed gratification. Whatever! I loved The King of Attolia, too.
We already know from the first two books that Eugenides, former Thief of Eddis, now King of Attolia, is smart and clever. In The King of Attolia, Turner chooses to alter the narrative POV again. This time, we see the story through the eyes of Costis, a young Attolian guard. Costis despises the new King and thinks he’s a fool. As the reader, we know Costis is wrong. Part of the tension driving the story forward is the readers awareness that more is going on than we see through the eyes of Costis.
The story isn’t told only from Costis’ POV. There are moments when we see other character interacting. But for the most part, the reader is kept out of Eugenides’ head until he is ready to reveal himself.
He looked gravely at the king. “It isn’t an easy thing to give your loyalty to someone you don’t know, especially when that person chooses to reveal nothing of himself. But no matter, Your Majesty. You are revealed at last.”
The king looked down at his nakedness and back at the captain.
“Was that a joke?” he asked.
“There are a lot of things a person with two hands couldn’t steal,” Eddis said.
“If it’s impossible to steal them with two hands, it’s no more impossible to steal them with one. Steal peace, Eugenides. Steal me some time.”
Eugenides, the thief of Eddis, is not where he’s supposed to be. He has been haunting the Queen of Attolia, and pays a horrible price for his transgression. Three interdependent kingdoms, Attolia, Eddis and Sounis are at war with each other while trying to maintain their independence from a greedy empire.
I loved the preceding book, The Thief, because it was an adventure that relied more on character than on swords (or guns). The Queen of Attolia maintains it’s focus on character, but has more adventure. The Thief was told entirely from Gen’s point of view. The Queen of Attolia moves between characters. The story telling remains tight and suspenseful. I fell totally in love with this book, and so I find it hard to describe with out spoiling the whole story.
I read The Queen of Attolia in just a few hours, forsaking all other productivity. I’m going to wait a few days before I buy the next book.
Gen is a thief who bragged too loudly after stealing the king’s seal and is now languishing in the king’s jail. He also bragged that no jail could hold him, but he languishes until the king’s magus sends for him.
“I want you to steal something.”
I smiled. “Do you want the king’s seal? I can get it for you.”
“If I were you,” said the magus, “I’d stop bragging about that.” His voice grated.
My smile grew. The gold ring with the engraved ruby had been in his safekeeping when I had stolen it away.”
We’re initially given the impression that maybe Gen isn’t as smart as he thinks he is. It does appear that his stay in jail was harder on him physically than he anticipated. Gen isn’t who he seems to be, but he knows quite well who he is and what he’s doing. Gen is an astute observer, allowing the reader to get to know the other characters and the world they live in without huge amounts of exposition and explanation. There is some of that, of course, but it doesn’t feel like a slog.
The Thief is the first book of a four part fantasy adventure series. I’m really looking forward to reading the next three books. For a fantasy adventure, The Thief is relatively quiet and character driven. I hear that the next three books are even better, so I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest this for fun summer reading.