Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Thief

The Thief

Megan Whalen Turner
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
HarperCollins, 2005   ISBN: 978-0060824976

It is never a good idea to steal something precious from a king and then brag about your thieving skills in a public place, and yet this is just what Gen did; which is why he is now cooling his heels in the king's prison. It looks likely that Gen will spend the rest of his days in the prison when King Sounis' scholar, the magus, removes Gen from his cell and makes him an offer Gen cannot really afford to refuse. He wants Gen to steal a precious stone, Hamiathes's Gift, from a temple that just happens to be within the boundaries of Attolia, a neighboring land. Hamiathes's Gift has not been seen for countless generations and it is so revered that anyone who possesses it can use it to claim the throne of Eddis, another land. The magus hopes that King Sounis will be able to use the stone to force the queen of Eddis to marry him. Gen and the other people who join the quest are amazed that the magus is pursuing a stone that may be a myth, but they have no choice but to go along with the plan.

Teased, beaten, and mocked for his lowly station in life, Gen does not enjoy the journey to the temple at all. Things are made much worse because he has to ride a horse – he hates horses – and because food is scarce. At the temple Gen has just a few days to find the stone somewhere in the maze of corridors. With the help of the Gods this is just what he does but, alas, his troubles are far from over.

With great skill Megan Whalen Turner tells a gripping, often amusing, and thoroughly entertaining story. She combines Gen's story with mythological tales from his land, and the surprising finale will utterly confound and delight readers. This title won a Newbery Honor in 1997.