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The Thief

The Thief

Book - 1996 | First edition
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Gen flaunts his ingenuity as a thief and relishes the adventure which takes him to a remote temple of the gods where he will attempt to steal a precious stone.
Publisher: New York : Greenwillow Books, [1996]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©1996
ISBN: 9780688146276
Call Number: j TURNER
Characteristics: 219 pages ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

first in a series set in a historical fantasy world that resembles ancient Rome

From the critics

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May 07, 2021

One of my all time favorites.

Sep 03, 2020

Eugenides, the thief who can steal anything, is in prison for stealing the King of Sounis’s seal. However, the magus of Sounis has discovered the location of Hamiathes’s gift, a stone that gives its owner eternal life. The magus, a loyal adviser of the king who knows every fact, is an old man, and he requires the help of a master thief to steal the stone from its temple. Gen is offered a chance at freedom if he successfully steals Hamiathes’s Gift for the king and brings it back. He quickly leaves on the journey with the magus, the magus’s two apprentices Ambiades and Sophos, and the soldier Pol. They endure many hardships together on their near-impossible quest, and many plot twists keep readers guessing at what will happen next.
My favorite aspect of the book is how the relationships between characters grow and change. At first, Gen is seen by all as an annoying necessity for the success of the mission, and he annoys everyone. However, as time goes on, they learn to respect each other and grow closer. However, his relationship with Ambiades moves in the opposite direction. Ambiades feels that being the grandson of a duke, he is better than scum such as Gen. The addition of this relationship keeps the plot interesting as the next big fight is always waiting to happen. I also liked how Turner advanced the plot, adding suspense until the very end. Whenever it seems that the mission will be successful, a new problem arises. One surprising aspect of this book is the lack of romance. Books targeted towards the teen audience typically have this element. I feel that more background about the personal lives of those traveling with Gen would have strengthened the story and made it more appealing to a wider audience. I would recommend it to every teen who appreciates a well-written novel.

May 05, 2020

Age Recommendation 10-14
Gen is in prison. He is one of the few people that the king hates, so Gen is in a prison with maximum security. That means extra chains, guards, and no outside time. Gen is sitting in his cell thinking about how he could escape when 2 guards come in and drags him out. When Gen adjusts to the brightness he sees the king’s magus. The magus wants Gen to steal something. Gen asks what it is , but the magus refuses to tell. The magus says if Gen steals this for the magus then he would make sure that Gen wouldn’t go back to prison. Gen quickly agreed and asked when they would begin the journey. The magus says soon. The next day Gen is dragged out of his cell again to meet three other people. They were Pol, Ambiades, and Sophos. The magus says that they were all going on the journey. Will Gen be able to steal the item? Are Gen’s loyalties even in the right place? Read the whole book to find out.

My least favorite part of the book is when some details randomly pop up even though they weren't in the book before. What I did like about the book was the stories of the gods in the book. I also liked the twists in the end. My favorite part of the book was the extras section that explained the origins of the book. This book is one of my favorites and I think people interested in mythology and drama would really like this book

Apr 23, 2020

Definitely not what I was expecting but absolutely an amazing book! I didn't realize I liked adventure books so much and this one was so funny and had a plot twist that I was absolutley not expecting! I really need to read the next book and I'm very excited to do so!

Mar 07, 2020

I recommend this one to everyone who asks (and some who don’t!). Funny, subtle, and surprising! Check out the rest of the series as well.

Nov 19, 2019

Excellent...."burned the midnight oil" reading it and being unable to put it down.

FPL_ElizabethC Nov 11, 2019

Fair warning: expect this book to steal your interest in reading anything but the rest of the Queen's Thief series.

Sep 11, 2019

In a word The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner is smart. Intended for a teen audience, it dives right into hard topics with a narrator who is smarter than he seems and more cunning than the reader realizes. An impressive feat as it is an easy read without the use of unusual words and references to outside material. The most impressive feature of this novel is the world. Megan Whalen Turner build a rich world with intricate political rivalries and religious background that every second you read it feels real to you. While some of her characters lack depth, the main characters are equally as rich and enticing to read. She also includes some interesting plot twists that keep you hanging off every chapter. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner is the beginning of a trilogy but ends off on a good note that could be read alone. A great book for those who are looking for a fun little adventure.

IndyPL_SteveB Mar 04, 2019

Clever, exciting, funny, with several plot twists that will keep you turning pages almost too fast to also absorb the excellent characterization. First book in a series of uniformly terrific stories.

In Turner’s fictional medieval world, the focus is on three neighboring rival countries, bound together by the necessities of trade, but which are always on the verge of war. Eddis is a mountainous country which controls the pass that allows trade between Attolia and Sounis. Gen, short for “Eugenides,” is a professional thief. In this first book, he is hired by a wizard and a soldier from Sounis to help them find a sacred relic which may hold the key to power in this medieval-like world. They don’t know that Gen is from Eddis and has his own agenda to protect his country. The book is classified as a children's novel but the series becomes more teen and adult-like with succeeding volumes. It's impossible to put down, and you will want to quickly jump on to #2, *The Queen of Attolia.*

As a page who works in this library system and sees so much content coming in all of the time, I can say that this is one of the most different YA books I have ever read (in the best way possible). Megan Whelan Turner is incredibly witty, suspenseful, and creative, and I am pleased to say that these characteristics hold true throughout the rest of the series as well (a very hard thing to maintain). This is definitely a must-read, and I hope you find it as enjoyable as I did.

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Add Age Suitability
Sep 03, 2020

samvar thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

yellow_cat_699 Jun 28, 2017

yellow_cat_699 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 12

Dec 05, 2016

keylime0 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jun 01, 2016

rosebud2112 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Sep 10, 2014

Stormtrooper55 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Mar 11, 2013

_Abi_ thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

Sep 21, 2012

TheGreatMinimum thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

jknode Jun 01, 2011

jknode thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

Mar 22, 2011

Nilufar thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and under


Add a Quote
Aug 02, 2020

If you want to keep something safe, I say hire a guard, at least until someone invents a better lock. Or hide your treasure where no one will find it. - pg 136

Nov 06, 2019

"Gods damn, gods damn," I was howling as the guards led me, completely blind, down the stairs. I still had my hands over my eyes, and they held me firmly by the elbows. my feet hardly touched the stone steps.

Nov 06, 2019

The magus was a good bit stronger than I was. Holding me by the cloth at the back of my neck, he shook me once or twice and my head swam. I heard the cheap cloth tear. He grabbed for a firmer grip on my neck.

Sep 18, 2011

Every time he laughed, I spat insults at him. It was not politic, but as always, I couldn't keep an insult in when it wanted to come out.

Sep 18, 2011

Guns weren't as accurate as crossbows, but they were less awkward to transport, and to have one would have been a comfort.

Sep 18, 2011

His eyes narrowed, and the hair on the back of my neck started to rise. I've seen envy before, and I know the damage it can do.

Sep 18, 2011

Saying things I shouldn't has been the origin of most of the painful episodes in my past, and it would certainly be an improvement in my character if I had a little more control over my own tongue.

Sep 18, 2011

I am a master of foolhardy plans, I thought. I have so much practice I consider them professional risks.


Add a Summary
Dec 27, 2020

The king's scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king's prison. The magus is interested only in the thief's abilities.

What Gen is interested in is anyone's guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.

Sep 21, 2012

From the website of Megan Whalen Turner:

The most powerful advisor to the King of Sounis is the magus. He's not a wizard, he's a scholar, an aging solider, not a thief. When he needs something stolen, he pulls a young thief from the King's prison to do the job for him.

Gen is a thief and proud of it. When his bragging lands him behind bars he has one chance to win his freedom-- journey to a neighboring kingdom with the magus, find a legendary stone called Hamiathes's Gift and steal it.

The magus has plans for his King and his country. Gen has plans of his own.


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