cover image The Thief

The Thief

Megan Whalen Turner. Greenwillow Books, $17.99 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-688-14627-6

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.)