A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
The Queen’s Thief # 4
Greenwillow Books, 352 pages
Sophos, under the guidance of yet another tutor, practices his swordplay and strategizes escape scenarios should his father’s villa come under attack. How would he save his mother? His sisters? Himself? Could he reach the horses in time? Where would he go? But nothing prepares him for the day armed men, silent as thieves, swarm the villa courtyard ready to kill, to capture, to kidnap. Sophos, the heir to the throne of Sounis, disappears without a trace.
In Attolia, Eugenides, the new and unlikely king, has never stopped wondering what happened to Sophos. Nor has the Queen of Eddis. They send spies. They pay informants. They appeal to the gods. But as time goes by, it becomes less and less certain that they will ever see their friend alive again.
Across the small peninsula battles are fought, bribes are offered, and conspiracies are set in motion. Darkening the horizon, the Mede Empire threatens, always, from across the sea. And Sophos, anonymous and alone, bides his time. Sophos, drawing on his memories of Gen, Pol, the magus—and Eddis—sets out on an adventure that will change all of their lives forever.
One of the series that I really loved from my 2011 reads was Megan Whalen Turner’s The Queen’s Thief series. It took me a while to finally read them, but when I did, I was so glad I did. And I was so glad I had the first three books on hand because I don’t think I would have been able to wait for so long to read up to The King of Attolia. I had to wait a bit before I got to the next book, though because I wanted my books to match. :D In retrospect, it was a good decision since the next book in the series, A Conspiracy of Kings, shifted the focus from our favorite thief Eugenides to his friend and heir to the king of Sounis, Sophos.
Spoiler warning for the first three books in the series from here on out.
Sophos has disappeared while the events of The King of Attolia was happening, and Eugenides wonders where he is and how he is doing constantly. The Queen of Eddis wonders, too, but they hear nothing from him until one day, someone shoots a pea to the face of the King of Attolia. Here we find out what exactly happened to Sophos — from an abduction to escape, to being a slave and seeing his father, to making plans and meeting old friends and learning, just how it really is, to make the difficult choices for the good of the kingdoms of Attolia, Eddis and Sounis.
Going back into the world Megan Whalen Turner created was a mixture of relief and comfort — comfort because it’s become such a familiar place in my imagination, and relief because I know in my heart of hearts that this will be a good book. And it was. I’ve always had a soft spot for Sophos, and I was glad to read more about him in this book. A Conspiracy of Kings is really about how Sophos rose to power, and how he changed from a reluctant heir to a real king. This isn’t a fun, riches to rags to riches story, though. Okay, yes, it is fun because of all the banter and the jokes and the conversations, but this book had almost the same atmosphere of The Queen of Attolia: lots of inter-kingdom politics, threats of war and of course, conspiracies. Oh, there was some romance, too, which wasn’t as surprising because it has been hinted at since The Thief. A part of me squee-d when they finally talked about it here. :D
But don’t worry: Eugenides is still very much present in this book. There’s not as many Eugenides scenes, but he has a big influence over the major events in the story. In fact, Sophos often thought about his thief friend, and it was nice to see the thoughts of someone who actually liked Eugenides. I really liked how Sophos’ friendship with Eugenides has developed in A Conspiracy of Kings, especially their private conversations, almost like how brothers would address each other. Eugenides and Sophos may be kings, but they are still friends and this relationship was perfectly executed in this novel.
A Conspiracy of Kings is a very good follow up to the series, and like with the first three books, I was surprised at the turn of events at the end. I knew there was some kind of twist, and try as I might, I had no idea what it was until it was finally there. And that just makes this book a very good read and definitely an awesome reread too. Now since the is no word yet about when the next book is coming out, I think it’s time to read some of the recommended books (by MWT and other fans) that are similar to the series that we love. There’s a pretty long list on the link up there. :)
But please, please, MWT, don’t make us wait too long. :)
I made sure to finish this book in time for Chachic’s The Queen’s Thief week. I liked the series, but if you want to see someone who is a BIG fan, then Chachic is your girl. Head over to her blog this week because it’s filled with so much Eugenides / MWT goodness. :)