I admit I approached The Thief, Megan Whalen Turner’s 1996 novel, with trepidation. Not only was it a Newbery Honor Book (with all that implies), but I had previously read and disliked its sequel The Queen of Attolia. Having read and enjoyed The Thief, I am forced to consider that perhaps I misjudged The Queen of Attolia.
By his own testimony, Gen is the greatest thief the city-state of Sounis has ever seen. That same testimony appears to mark him as somewhat less than the most astute thief in Sounis, because Gen made that boast to a client who turns out to be a government agent.
By the time the book opens, Gen has spent a fair time in a dank prison, contemplating escape options. Gen can steal anything but not, it seems, his own self from a secure dungeon.
An opening to freedom appears in the form of the King’s magus, who needs a talented thief.
Someone who can steal a magical icon straight out of a fairy tale.