Newbery Medal winning fantasy, set in a world not unlike Ancient Greece, complete with interfering Gods and Goddesses. The King's magus believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure - Hamiathe's Gift. To attain it, he needs a skillful thief and he selects Gen from the King's prison. The magus is only interested in the thief's abilities; what ...
Newbery Medal winning fantasy, set in a world not unlike Ancient Greece, complete with interfering Gods and Goddesses. The King's magus believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure - Hamiathe's Gift. To attain it, he needs a skillful thief and he selects Gen from the King's prison. The magus is only interested in the thief's abilities; what Gen is interested in is anyone's guess. A likeable rogue, Gen endures the difficult trek with much complaining and little grace, but shows his mettle when he steals the Gift twice and risks his life for his companions. The Thief is an exciting and compelling 'road-movie' story, with a cracking twist at the end which surprises both the magus and Gen's travelling companions - not to mention the reader!!
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I almost quit reading this book because the character, Gen, was so cocky as he told his own story. But I stuck with it, and I am glad I did. The end was a surprise indeed. Before you start this book, be warned; it is the first of a series, and each book is better than the last. The other books published so far are called the Queen of Attolia and the King of Attolia, with more in the works. There are no cliffhanger endings, so the books can be enjoyed without dying to find out what happens next, but still, I eagerly await the next installment in Gen's story.
Jan 16, 2008
surprising and fresh
I must disagree with the other reviewer by saying this is a well-written book, with an interesting plot and likable characters. If, however, you are chiefly a fan of high-concept epic fantasy, this is not the novel for you. Look instead for titles by David Eddings, Raymond Feist, or R.A. Salvatore. Gen tells his own story, setting himself up as almost an anti-hero: a cocky thief with visions of grandeur. He steals because he's good at it, and takes great pride in his abilities. So much pride, in fact, that too many people hear of his plan to steal the king's own signet ring, and he's caught in the act. The story opens after he's languished in prison for many months. The king's adviser needs Gen's help to steal a lost relic of legend, said to be preserved in a hidden temple of a neighboring kingdom. If he succeeds, Gen won't return to prison. If he fails, he will die. Ms. Turner creates in Gen a smart, cocky, mouthy, teenager with hidden depths of courage. A perceptive reader sees past his bravado and sneakiness to a kid with an agenda of his own, who refuses to be anyone's puppet. The question raised by the story is not so much whether or not Gen can steal said sacred relic, but what he'll do once he's got it.
Jan 8, 2008
An unsatisfying read
I bought this book off of a list of recommended fantasy that NPR had on its site. I've been stagnant in my fantasy reading so I thought I'd try something different. This book bills itself for young adult readers. I've got no problem with that as I'd read any good book regardless of the target age written for. The story starts out with the young thief Gen in prison and follows him as he is recruited to steal a very valuable object. I couldn't get into any of the characters. They seemed pretty one dimensional to me and I just didn't plain like 'em. There was nothing special about the premise, being thief steal something. Also there were uninteresting settings and locations. The one saving part of this book was the place that Gen had to steal the object. I won't spoil it for those who want to read the book but the 'treasure room' was a very nice concept. Another thing that turned me off of the book was the cursing of deity. Even the cursing of fantasy deities, used too much, is a turn off. Not an annoyance for many but a problem for me. I know this book won awards so there is obviously smarter people than me out there but I can't recommend this book.
Publishers Weekly, 2006-01-16 A king orders a young thief to carry out a near-impossible heist under threat of death. "In addition to its charismatic hero, this story possesses one of the most valuable treasures of all-a twinkling jewel of a surprise ending," said PW's starred review of this 1997 Newbery Honor book. Ages 10-up. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1996-10-21 The bragging thief Gen is sprung from prison by the king in order to carry out a mission-steal the precious stone Hamiathes's Gift from an impossible hiding place. If he succeeds, he'll be rewarded. If he fails, he will be killed. If he runs away, he will be hunted down. Half prisoner, half outlaw legend, Gen goes along with the king's assistant in the risky plan. Set in a semi-Mediterranean realm of old and new gods and goddesses, this compelling adventure propels readers along through the enemy lands of Sounis, Eddis and Attolia. Gen, a beguiling narrator, is afraid of horses but not of entering a locked labyrinth; he comes from a long line of thieves but puts honor first. Turner's (Instead of Three Wishes) device of having Gen and others tell god and goddess stories around the campfire bumpily draws the reader away from the main story, yet the plot is strong enough to survive the wanderings. In addition to its charismatic hero, this story possesses one of the most valuable treasures of all-a twinkling jewel of a surprise ending . Ages 10-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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