Turner, Megan Whalen. The King of Attolia.
As good as the previous novels, The King of Attolia takes Gen the thief to Eugenides the king. What an unlikely scenario based on our first look at the rascal in The Thief! Gen, however, has been forced to grow up a great deal since his initial adventure, and as usual, appearances in Gen's case are almost always deceiving.
A reluctant king in many ways, Gen finds himself embroiled in court intrigue, deception, and treachery and must proceed carefully. Attolians are not inclined to accept Gen as their king and reveal their resentment in large and small ways. While Gen appears to shrug off the responsibilities of the kingdom, leaving the details to his queen, he does take steps to ensure his own safety by enlisting a reluctant young guard as his personal attendant.
Costos, the young guard, while grateful not to have lost his head for striking the king, finds his position as personal attendant galling. His irritation with Gen's often foolish and un-king-like behavior continues to grow even as he finds himself drawn to his king in spite of himself. Costos provides the perfect foil to the complex, protean Gen.
Each installment of this series moves into a different realm of conflict and adventure. The byzantine nature of the court provides most of the tension (there is another interesting source of tension as well) in The King of Attolia: on whom does one rely, how does one survive assassination attempts, how to deal with both internal and external threats to the kingdom, personal relationships....
Gen should never be underestimated in spite of his determination to make most people do just that.
I find it very difficult to review these books without giving away spoilers, and my own preference is to discover things on my own. Suffice it to say that Megan Whalen Turner has produced a worthy third novel in this series which has become one of my all-time fantasy favorites.
Comments on my previous posts about the series have given me the encouraging news that the 4th book in the series is in the works. Yea!