The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (1996)

The magus stopped. “This is it,” he said.
“This is what?” I asked.
“This is where you earn your reputation.”
I looked around at the empty rock and river and the sandy oil under my feet. As far as I could see, there was nothing to steal, nothing at all (p 144).

thiefGen is a thief. A very good thief. So good, he boasts that he could steal anything, even the King’s seal. And he does without getting caught. If only he hadn’t bragged about it afterward he might not have landed in jail.

After a few months in prison, the King’s magus, his top advisor, plucks Gen from his irons. He wants Gen to steal something impossible, an artifact protected by the gods. To the magus, Gen is a tool, a gutter rat but Gen didn’t become a top notch thief through luck. He has his own plans.

*~* *~* *~* *~* *~* *~* *~* *~* *~* *~*

For a book full of political intrigue, this has a slim cast of characters all tersely but vividly drawn and accompanied by humorous, witty dialog driven by our narrator, the thief, Gen.

The plot twists, though coming late in the book, are brilliant. I never saw them coming, I was so drawn with the straight forward but engrossing story. Of course, when they did, I laughed out loud. Gen, or Eugenides, is so clever a narrator!

I just can’t express how much I not only enjoyed this book, but appreciated its storytelling brilliance (especially after reading a few duds this month). It also perfectly widens its scope for future novels, I’ve already run to the library to check them out.

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