The Queen of Attolia – by Megan Whelan Turner
Eugenides, “Gen” as his friends call him, is an unusual person. He’s barely 20 and already the greatest spy his country, Eddis, has ever known. His cousin, the Queen, calls him her personal thief. She’s proud to know that she can send him to spy on her enemy, the Queen of Attolia, whose tyrannical rule threatens every county around her. Gen goes anywhere he wants in Attolia, even the Queen’s own palace—even her bedroom—with total skill.
But the Queen of Attolia has unexpected sources of information, and Gen is captured. Gen is taken to a dungeon deep below the palace and strapped into a chair with overlong arms. (Read from page 35-36)
“Your ambassador says your queen has accepted my right to have you flogged,” said Attolia. “But not to have you flogged to death, nor to have you hung upside down from my palace walls, nor to have you starve to death in a cage in my courtyard. He says I mustn’t exceed the restraints of law and tradition. He says I might offend the gods, though he didn’t say which ones. I care very little for the opinion of any god, but I still think tradition might hold the best solution to my problems with you.”
She released him and stepped back. A burly jailer unracked a curving sword from its place on the wall. Eugenides had been frightened before, so frightened that he’d felt as if his heart had turned to stone in his chest. Seeing the sword in the jailer’s hand, he looked again at the queen and felt the whole world turned to stone. The air around him was solid and he was suffocating. He threw himself against the leather straps of the chair, against the solid air around him against the obduracy of the Queen of Attolia.
He begged, “Please, please,” as if his heart were breaking.
The man beside him lifted the sword. It caught the firelight on its edge a moment before it swept down, biting deep on into the wooden arm of the chair. Gen’s right hand disappeared behind the blade.”
The Queen of Attolia let Gen rot for a few days in her dungeon then sent Eddis their thief back. Attolia imagines she’s rid herself of the danger of this outrageous young spy. And Eddis is soon at war with Attolia.
But Eddis is small, and war with Attolia brings every other great country surrounding them eager to pounce. So the Queen of Eddis comes to her own personal thief, her cousin, as he hides, crippled in his rooms, to beg him for one last great thievery. “Steal peace for me,” she begs him. “Steal me some time.”
And to Attolia’s terror and surprise, that’s just what Gen does. Even one-handed he’s a mortal threat to the Queen of Attolia.
by Kirsten Edwards of King County Library System
Last Updated: January 15, 2008