Warning: This is Book 3 of THE THIEF OF EDDIS Series, preceded by THE THIEF and THE QUEEN OF ATTOLIA. This review contains information that may spoil the first two stories, so I would recommend that you read the first two books before proceeding to read this review.
Costis does not like his new king—nor does any Attolian among the Queen’s Guard. Certainly, the foppish fool somehow managed to steal the consent of the Queen of the Attolia to this unseemly marriage, but even she could not possibly respect him. He knows nothing of Attolia’s customs, he seems oblivious to the political maneuverings of Attolia’s power-hungry barons, and he does not seem to give a hoot whether he looks more like a mischievous teenager than a king.
As the nation crumbles in upon itself, Costis wishes that Attolia had a real king, someone who could unite the Attolians, someone who could protect Attolia from the coming Mede invasion, someone whom Costis could truly follow as king.
As assassins lurk and plots thicken, it is with the slow patience of a master that Eugenides, once the infamous Thief of Eddis, sets in motion his plan to steal the last thing anyone expects: the deep respect of his new people.
Costis, of the Queen’s Guard, is everything that Eugenides is not: generally level-headed, responsible, and sober. He resents Eugenides’ flippancy and carelessness. He would kill (or at least soundly beat) the king himself, if it were not against his honor—and if others weren’t so eager to do it for him.
Eugenides is seen only through the eyes of others, and those glimpses are not flattering. He smirks, teases, provokes, and sometimes even has the poor etiquette to laugh outright. But he is king, and must be king, if the nation of Attolia is to survive. And Eugenides, as always, has a few tricks up his sleeve.
Attolia, the Queen, has reigned single-handedly for years, and, as she consigns her reign to her husband, she appears to be waiting. As the court watches the Queen’s sometimes gentle, sometimes fierce, interactions with her husband, the Attolians wonder: Could their Queen actually love this foreigner? What does she see in him that they cannot?
Ornon is the ambassador of Eddis, and he is perhaps more frustrated with Eugenides than anyone else is. When will Eugenides stop playing the fool and finally reveal himself?
Teleus, the captain of the Queen’s Guard, believes in only one thing: a soldier’s duty. But it would be easier if he could be a soldier in the service of a better king. Teleus, in many respects, is the gateway to the Attolians, and, to reach them, Eugenides must prove himself to the captain who despises him.
This story is far less Greek in background than the first two stories. In fact, there are very few olive trees here, only the cold stone of the palace and the many eyes of the watching courtiers. Eugenides’ days of dancing on the roof of the megaron are over, replaced by a dance of plots and schemes.
THE THIEF tells the story from the first-person perspective, with Eugenides as the narrator, while the THE QUEEN OF ATTOLIA tells the story in third-person, mostly from Eugenides’ perspective, but with some important omniscient peeks into the storylines of other crucial characters. In contrast, THE KING OF ATTOLIA is told from the point of view of Costis. I thought I would hate Costis as the narrator; I wanted more of Eugenides! However, because we can only glimpse Eugenides through the “keyhole” of Costis’ experiences, the author is able to withhold certain important pieces of information for the appropriate time of revelation.
Ms. Turner has a unique way of revealing plot twists. Certain key events happen early on in the story, but the view of them is very limited. Chapters and chapters later, the characters recall the incident in a little more detail, details which reveal a second layer to the event. Many chapters later, Ms. Turner revisits the incident a third time, this time to throw back the curtain and reveal the true nature of the incident. The final scene of THE KING OF ATTOLIA is one such example, with implications so powerful that it is still my favorite scene in the entire series.
There are a few uses of crude language (b-st-rd, for example), as well as a few swear words. The story also involves pagan deities, which, while important, give infrequent appearances.
Excerpt from THE KING OF ATTOLIA