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Thick as Thieves

Thick as Thieves

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Thick as Thieves

4.5/5 (31 évaluations)
296 pages
5 heures
May 16, 2017


Discover and rediscover the world of the Queen's Thief, from the acclaimed novel The Thief to the thrilling, twenty-years-in-the-making conclusion, The Return of the Thief. The epic novels set in the world of the Queen’s Thief can be read in any order.

Thick as Thieves is the fifth novel set in the world of the Queen’s Thief. New York Times-bestselling author Megan Whalen Turner’s entrancing and award-winning Queen’s Thief novels bring to life the world of the epics and feature one of the most charismatic and incorrigible characters of fiction, Eugenides the thief. Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief novels are rich with political machinations and intrigue, battles lost and won, dangerous journeys, divine intervention, power, passion, revenge, and deception. Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Patrick Rothfuss, and George R. R. Martin.

Kamet, a secretary and slave to his Mede master, has the ambition and the means to become one of the most powerful people in the Empire. But with a whispered warning the future he envisioned is wrenched away, and he is forced onto a very different path. Set in the world of the Queen’s Thief, this epic adventure sees an ordinary hero take on an extraordinary mission. The Queen’s Thief novels have been praised by writers, critics, reviewers, and fans, and have been honored with glowing reviews, “best of” citations, and numerous awards, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Newbery Honor, the Andre Norton Award shortlist, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award. Thick as Thieves includes two maps, a map of the world of the Queen’s Thief, and a map of Kamet’s journey.

“The Queen’s Thief books awe and inspire me. They have the feel of a secret, discovered history of real but forgotten lands. The plot-craft is peerless, the revelations stunning, and the characters flawed, cunning, heartbreaking, exceptional. Megan Whalen Turner’s books have a permanent spot on my favorites shelf, with space waiting for more books to come.”—Laini Taylor, New York Times-bestselling author of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone novels and Strange the Dreamer

"Unforgettable characters, plot twists that will make your head spin, a world rendered in elegant detail—you will fall in love with every page of these stories. Megan Whalen Turner writes vivid, immersive, heartbreaking fantasy that will leave you desperate to return to Attolia again and again."—Leigh Bardugo, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom

"Megan Whalen Turner has constructed a clever world filled with suspense and intrigue and characters that will never be forgotten. Once you dive into the world of the Queen's Thief, prepare to have your life stolen from you until you finish them all." —Joelle Charbonneau, New York Times-bestselling author of the Testing trilogy

May 16, 2017

À propos de l'auteur

Megan Whalen Turner is the New York Times–bestselling and award-winning author of five stand-alone novels set in the world of the Queen’s Thief. Return of the Thief marks her long-awaited conclusion to the epic and unforgettable story of the thief Eugenides—a story more than twenty years in the making. She has been awarded a Newbery Honor and a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature. She has twice been a finalist for the Andre Norton Award and won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature. www.meganwhalenturner.org

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Thick as Thieves - Megan Whalen Turner


For my editor, Virginia Duncan,

one of those guiding stars

whose influence is all the more

profound for being so often unseen


If a man who claims to see the future is a fool,

how much more so, the man who believes he can control it?

We think we steer the ship of fate,

but all of us are guided by unseen stars.





Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen



Back Ad

About the Author

Books by Megan Whalen Turner



About the Publisher


It was midday and the passageway quiet and cool. The stone walls kept out the heat while the openings near the high ceilings admitted some of the sun’s fierce light. Midday, and the houseboy was gone on an errand, probably stealing a nap somewhere, so I was alone at the door to my master’s apartments, holding my head in my hand and cursing myself for an idiot. I was not prone to stupidity, but I’d made a foolish mistake and was paying the price. My knees shook and I would have leaned against the wall for support, but it had recently been whitewashed and the blood would stain—I did not want to be reminded of this moment every time I passed until the stones were whitened again.

Sighing, I tried to think through the fire in my head and my shoulder. I wanted a place where I could withdraw until the pain had eased, but my usual retreat was an alcove off the main room of my master’s apartments—on the other side of the door in front of me. I was absolutely not going through that door until summoned. I’d invited disaster already that day by offering my master an evidently entirely inappropriate glass of remchik. The bottle of remchik was smashed, the glasses were smashed, and, judging by the pain in my shoulder and my side, the small statuette of Kamia Shesmegah formerly resting on his writing desk was smashed as well—from which I gathered that the emperor had not, in fact, offered my master the governorship of Hemsha.

I rubbed my head and checked my hand to see if it was still bleeding. It was, but not much.

In my defense, it had not been unreasonable on my part to assume that my master would become governor. He was still the nephew of the emperor and the brother of the emperor’s chosen heir, the prince Naheelid. The governorship of Hemsha, a minor coastal province with a single small harbor, was not outside his expectations. I am the first to admit that he has a habit of overreaching, and I had been very quietly relieved that he had set his sights so low.

After the debacle in Attolia, he’d taken us to rusticate on his family estate. We’d hidden there for more than a year while the laughter died down, my master fighting with his wife the entire time—she had been, unsurprisingly, unenthusiastic about his attempts to marry the Attolian queen. Finally, we had returned to the capital, where my master found that even his oldest friends had turned their backs on him. When he’d applied for the post of governor, I’d thought he was conceding defeat. I’d thought that if Hemsha was far away from the capital, at least it was equally far away from his wife. I would have sworn on my aching shoulder that there was no reason for him to be denied such a reasonable request. Which is why, when he returned with one of his cousins, I had been waiting for him with a tray of glasses and a newly opened bottle of remchik, ready for congratulations.

I so hate presumption in a slave, I’d heard his cousin say, as I crept out of the room.

I sighed again. I hated being beaten. Nothing could make me feel so stupid and so angry at myself, and on top of everything else, I’d have to deal with the smirks and pitying remarks of other slaves. It did my authority no good to be seen with my face covered in blood, but I really couldn’t go back into my master’s apartments.


I had already bowed and begged pardon before I realized that it was Laela beside me. She reached to touch my shoulder and I flinched.

Dear Kamet, she said. Is it more than the face?

I nodded. My shoulder wasn’t going to heal for some time, I could tell.

Laela had been one of my master’s dancing girls. When she fell out of favor, she’d asked if I could do anything for her—afraid of where she might be sold to next. I had persuaded my master that she should stay with the household as a matron over the other girls, and she was one of the few slaves I could trust to do me a favor. Come to my room, she suggested.

Shaking my head slowly, I said, He will call me back. He always did, sooner or later. I needed to be closer than her rooms, which were deep in the slaves’ dormitories.

I’ll make sure the houseboys know where you are, she said, and took me gently by the arm to lead me down the hall.

As matron, Laela had a narrow room much the same size as the alcove where I slept. With the curtain pulled across the doorway, it was almost dark inside. She watched me lie down, then went to fetch a bowl with cool water and a cup to dip in it. After I’d had a drink, she soaked a cloth in the bowl and laid it on my face, wiping away the blood. It made her bedding wet, and I mumbled an apology.

It will dry, she said. Faster than your face will heal. Whatever did you do?

Offered him a glass of remchik.

She made a puzzled sound, though she and I both knew that slaves were beaten for all sorts of reasons and sometimes for no reason at all.

He didn’t get the governorship of Hemsha.

Ah, said Laela. She wasn’t a dancing girl anymore; she was as experienced as I was in listening to rumor and sorting out its meanings. Well, you couldn’t have known, she told me, but I didn’t agree.

I’m a fool, I said.

You handle him well, Laela reminded me. Don’t blame yourself.

Her words helped as much as the cool cloth on my face. My expertise had been painfully acquired over the years, but it was mostly reliable. I did usually handle my master better than I had that day, and I was proud of my skill.

I should see to the girls. They’ll need to know he’s in a mood, Laela said. I’ll come back if he sends for you. And she went away, leaving me to rest while I could.

When Laela came to fetch me, it was already dark. She lifted a lamp to my face and winced.

You look like a pomegranate, she told me.

Thank you so much, I said. My voice was mocking, but she knew I was grateful. I was stiff as well as sore, and she had to steady me while I got to my feet. She walked me as far as the entrance to the dormitory, then left me to make my own way.

Kamet, you look like a pomegranate, my master said.

I said nothing.

Get your clothes off so I can see the rest of the damage.

Slowly, I peeled my tunic off, in order to allow him to inspect his handiwork. He always did, after a beating, partly to be sure that any serious injury was seen to, and partly just to admire the bruises. When he was done with me, I was shaking and sick, my skin prickled with a cold sweat, but he had wrapped my chest and shoulder in bandages and given me a dose of lethium to put me to sleep. He helped me over to the cot in my office, then gently covered me with a blanket, checking to see that I was as comfortable as possible before he went back to his own sleeping room.

I moved very gingerly for the next few weeks, in part because of my healing body and in part because my master was still in a dangerous mood. It was best to stay out of his sight as much as possible until his temper evened out. I kept the curtain pulled across my alcove, though it was stifling in the small space, with no movement of the air.

The quarterly accounts had come in, and they kept me busy. The allowance for household costs was delivered to me four times a year, mostly on the basis of these accounts, and they had to be examined thoroughly. I oversaw all of my master’s finances, not just for the palace household but for his outlying estates as well. His slaves and servants answered to me, and I in turn to him. Reading between the lines, I suspected that the steward at the family estate was at his wit’s end trying to keep my master’s wife’s expenses in check. I might have had some sympathy for him—she was very strong-minded—but I’d been unimpressed by what I had seen of his management. I decided to cover the added expense for the quarter, but I thought that I would replace him soon. I could move a man I had in mind from one of my master’s smaller estates. The incompetent steward was a free man—he could be turned out without the trouble of selling him.

When I heard the houseboy open the apartment door, I twitched the curtain on my alcove aside. My master was out and Kep, the houseboy, could only be coming in to speak to me.

It’s Rakra, Kamet, about his pay.

I nodded and the houseboy showed Rakra in. A burly man in his thirties, he’d been a houseman on the family estate and had returned with us to the capital. In the palace, he had little to do to earn his pay and had perhaps too much free time to sample the pleasures of the city.

Rakra looked me over, his eyes lingering on my bruised face, and I felt my own eyes narrow. Pomegranate? I wondered, but he didn’t say it, just snorted. Honestly, I looked a little more like an overripe melon at that point—purple and green.

I’ll need more money, Rakra said. Same amount as before.

Quite a few of my master’s palace servants came to me for advances on their pay. I made loans out of the discretionary funds in my budget and charged them a fee, deducted from their pay at the end of the quarter—in this way making a bit of money for myself. There was an embroidered bag holding all my savings sitting in my master’s cashbox under my desk. Unlike Rakra, most of the people in need of a loan arrived at my threshold with some embarrassment, not with bold demands.

Better our master doesn’t know about our business, eh? Rakra suggested.

Ah, I said.

This was exactly the sort of loss of discipline I hated to deal with after a beating. Rakra assumed my loan-making was a secret. He’d heard a rumor that I was in disfavor and thought he could threaten me with its revelation. In my experience, crooked men assume others are crooked as well, and I was reconsidering Rakra’s character. He opened his mouth to say something even more unpleasant, I was sure, but I held up a hand to stop him.

Very well, I said. I will take what you owe from next quarter’s pay and charge you no fee. I bent under the desk to lift the cashbox, and opened it with the key on a tie around my waist. I counted three coins into his meaty palm while Rakra looked pleased with himself.

I’m sure my master is well aware of the payday loans, I told him. This voided the power of his threat, and was also true. There was no reason my master should not know of my loans, and I had always assumed he did. Rakra’s eyes narrowed, belatedly wary, but I dismissed him with a wave of my hand toward the door and looked back down at my work. Rakra hesitated, but I went on ignoring him until he left. I could have discharged him from my master’s service—I had that kind of authority—but Rakra had been hired by the steward at the family estate, the very one whose accounts were out of order. I resolved to check the expenses more thoroughly, and I did not want Rakra returning in disgrace to the estates too quickly, as it might alert the steward to my suspicions. I would soon know if there was a larger problem to address. If there was, I would bring it to my master’s attention and possibly he would be pleased with me.

Once the accounts had been attended to and the money disbursed, there were housekeeping arrangements to be made. My master’s rooms were growing shabby, and if we were not to be displaced to Hemsha, he would expect them to be updated. The lingering ache in my shoulder reminded me that I needed to find him another statue of Shesmegah. I called in various merchants to discuss new rugs and furnishings, doing as much as I could from my little office. The tradespeople had representatives in the palace and they were wise enough to show no sign they noticed my bruises. Unlike Rakra, they knew the authority I wielded over their purses.

Laela stopped by to fill me in on some of the stories circulating among the lower echelons of the palace—the laborers and slaves. They knew little and made up more. She told me that Abashad had been named general and admitted to the Imperial Council of War. She said she thought the poor little country of Attolia was doomed, but that was not news. Our emperor continued to pretend he did not mean to invade the Little Peninsula and had browbeaten the Attolians into exchanging ambassadors, but all of the city-states there, Eddis and Sounis as well as Attolia, were doomed. We all knew it. I think Laela had a friend among the servants set aside for the Attolian ambassador. She told me that Ornon was a pleasant enough man who didn’t harass the slaves or otherwise increase their labors.

Little countries get eaten up by larger ones, I said with a shrug. It is the nature of the world. They will be better off once they are integrated into the empire.

I used some of my funds to purchase a bracelet for Laela to thank her for her good turn for me, because people like Laela and me cannot leave debts outstanding.

After my bruises faded, I resumed my other business for my master. Not everything could be arranged from my office, and anyway, I liked to exercise my privilege to go in and out of the palace at my own discretion. My master’s previous secretary, who had trained me as a child, had warned me that I must not spend every day looking into ledgers by the light of a smoking lamp or my eyesight would suffer. My eyesight is poor, but probably would have been worse had I not taken his advice to go out of doors as often as possible.

In fact, if my eyesight had been better, the whole course of this narrative might have been different. I would have seen the Attolian waiting ahead of me in an empty hallway of the palace in time to dodge into one of the side passages used by the menial slaves and servants. Instead, I approached, unaware that he was an Attolian until it was too late to change direction without drawing his attention. Thinking that we had met by chance, I kept my eyes down and moved a little faster.

He was a very large Attolian, by size and dress a soldier. When I saw him casting glances up and down the passage to see who was nearby, my stomach sank. My master had tried to usurp the Attolian throne. His failure had endeared him neither to his wife nor to the emperor. He may have been a laughingstock in the emperor’s palace, but I doubted that anyone in Attolia was laughing.

Kamet, said the Attolian with a firm nod of greeting. This was growing worse and worse. I didn’t think anyone in Attolia knew my name, and if this soldier did, he probably also knew that I was the one who had set fire to our rooms to create the distraction that would allow my master to escape the fortress at Ephrata. Our meeting in this hallway was not an accident.

The soldier stooped to bring his lips close enough to my ear to say very quietly, My king blames your master for the loss of his hand.

That, too, was an issue—and a perfectly reasonable sentiment on the part of the Attolian king. The Thief of Eddis had been arrested in Attolia’s capital city, and my master told me he had deliberately stoked the queen of Attolia’s rage, hoping to prompt war between the two countries. Attolia had exercised an old-fashioned option for dealing with thieves, and my master had been quite pleased. Only now, that same Eddisian thief was the king of Attolia—the queen had married him to save her throne, choosing him over my master. Oh, my poor face, I thought, and oh, my poor ribs—they’d just recently stopped hurting every time I tried to stand up or bend over to tighten my sandal. I could only assume the Attolian meant to exact a petty revenge on my person. It wasn’t my fault that my master was an enemy of his king, but I doubted that mattered.

At least the Attolian was still talking. The longer he talked, the better my chances that someone might come along. Thank the eternal gods he was a chatty Attolian, or so I thought at the time.

"My king wants your master to suffer the loss of his right hand," the Attolian was saying, and I admit I was distracted as he grabbed my wrist and it took me a minute to realize that he was speaking metaphorically. He meant me—I was my master’s right hand. It dawned on me that I might be facing something far, far worse than a casual beating in one of the back passages of the emperor’s palace. I tried to pry his fingers apart as I looked desperately up and down the corridor for help. There was no one, not even a blurry sign of movement in the distance that would indicate a witness was coming.

Surely the Attolians understood it was uncivil for a guest to beat to death someone else’s property in a deserted hallway of his host’s palace? Maybe not. They weren’t very civilized, and it would be a significant revenge, petty, but intensely disruptive. I was an expensive slave and my master relied on me—his entire estate was going to fall into chaos until he found a replacement secretary—but when all was said and done, I was still just a slave. Maybe the Attolians would pay some small percentage of my worth to my master as an apology and in so doing add a little more insult to injury. Given my master’s uncertain position at the emperor’s court, they might get away with it. The Attolian king obviously had a deep well of spite and I would have appreciated his low cunning more if I hadn’t thought the Attolian was about to wring my neck.

Meet me at the Rethru docks after sunset, he said.

That sentence made so little sense that I stopped picking at his fingers to stare up at his face. I was close enough, as he had me by the wrist, to see him quite clearly. He was a typical Attolian: sandy-brown hair, a broad face, light-colored eyes. Altogether he had a simple, straightforward look to him, and he seemed perfectly serious. He put his hands to my shoulders and stared back down at me, as if he thought I was stupid or didn’t understand his heavily accented Mede. He could have just spoken in Attolian, but instead, he used very simple sentences. I will help you escape your master. Come to the Rethru docks. Be there after sunset. And I will take you to Attolia. You will be free in Attolia. Do you understand?

It was like being lectured by an earnest, oversized child.

I realized my mouth was open and shut it. I nodded. Rethru docks, I repeated after him.

After dark. Can you be there?

I nodded again. Certainly I could get to the Rethru docks after dark. The Attolian nodded back, then checked the corridor again and hurried away.

I watched him go, my knees weak with relief. I staggered to the nearest alcove and slipped behind the large urn standing in the center of it. I wrapped my arms around myself and had a long, if quiet, laugh. My ribs hurt, but it was worth it. It had been a difficult few weeks, and it was good to laugh again.

I could be free in Attolia. If only I could have shared the joke with my master, but he wouldn’t have seen the humor just then. Another time, I would have told him and he and I would have laughed until we fell down. I could be free in Attolia—a place more backward than anywhere I have ever known, with its stinking sewers and its smoking furnaces and its preening idiot aristocrats. Gods support me, they were still memorizing all their poetry because none of them knew how to read. The only beautiful thing in the whole country was the queen, and she had sold herself into a marriage with the Eddisian Thief, the very one whose hand she had cut off. There was a match made in hell.

As a slave in the emperor’s palace I had authority over all of my master’s other slaves and most of his free men. I had my own money in my master’s cashbox. I had a library of my own, a collection of texts in my alcove that I carefully packed into their own case whenever my master moved households. I not only could read and write, I could read and write in most of the significant languages of the empire. My master had paid good money for it to be so. Someday he meant to make a gift of me to his brother, and then, as the next emperor’s personal slave, I would be one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in all the empire. I wouldn’t have taken the Attolians’ offer even if I’d believed it was sincere—and I didn’t. They meant to slice my throat and toss me in a sewer, I was sure.

When my amusement passed, leaving my ribs aching, I shook my head at the self-aggrandizement of the Attolians, and headed back to my master’s apartments. There is freedom in this life and there is power, and I was ambitious for the latter. I looked forward to the day I would be in my master’s confidence again—I would tell him about the Attolian, and he and I would laugh together. In the meantime, I thought, I would be anywhere that evening but out on the Rethru docks.

I was still smiling when I saw Laela ahead of me. I knew her first by her robe. It had been a gift from our master and was dyed a deep blue that was expensive and unusual. I made out her face only as she drew nearer. Normally as warm toned as myself, she was sickly pale. She raised a hand to her lips as she approached, and silently she turned me around to pull me through a curtained entrance into the nearby serviceway. We stood in that narrower connecting passage, the slatted roof just above our heads admitting sunlight that striped Laela’s face and clothes. When she’d checked to be sure we were alone, she leaned close. I could smell the cosmetics on her skin, and when she spoke, I was reminded of the Attolian’s warm breath on

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31 évaluations / 17 Avis
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  • (4/5)
    At last, the fifth book in The Queen’s Thief series! While this book can theoretically be read independently, the previous books are good too so why not start with them? The series starts with The Thief, but the second book, The Queen of Attolia, remains my favorite.After the debacle in Attolia, Kamet is glad to be back in Medes. As the slave of a powerful master, Kamet hopes to accumulate power and influence of his own. So when an Attolian solider offers to help him escape, Kamet laughingly dismisses him. Until he finds out that his master has been murdered and that he and the other slaves are to be put to death. Kamet and the Attolian solider (who is recognizable as Costis if you’ve read the other books) journey across the Mede empire, short on resources and constantly pursued.Out of all the books in the series, Thick as Thieves is most reminiscent of the very first book: a first person account of a journey. However, Thick as Thieves for the first time moves the setting outside of Attolia, Eddis, and Sounis. I believe that each book in a series should expand the world in someway, and Thick as Thieves is wonderfully successful in this regard. Whereas the previous books in the series have add Greek mythology influences, Thick as Thieves expands the cultural lore to include elements similar to the Epic of Gilgamesh. That much I was able to perceive, although I’d guess there’s other elements of Babylonian and Sumerian culture and mythology that went over my head.As I already noted, the plot structure is most similar to the first book in the series, which I’m not that thrilled about. The Thief was my least favorite book in the series, and I miss the third person political narratives of the other books. Oh, well. At least Turner’s writing is sublime and she does spin some characteristic plot twists that I failed to see coming.Also characteristically, Turner’s character development is excellent. Kamet is a compelling first person narrator. His world has suddenly been upturned and he’s having to learn to think about it and himself in new ways. Plus, he’s for the first time developing an actual friendship, with someone who’s his equal.And here lies a large topic of discussion I’ve seen among other reviewers: “Is the relationship between Costis and Kamet entirely platonic?” However, I’ll raise you another question: “Why is The Queen’s Thief series so heterosexual?”Before reading Thick as Thieves (or even hearing the buzz about possible homoerotic subtext), I wanted the novel to add canonically queer characters. Their absence from the world Turner’s constructed is especially notable given that the series draws so heavily off of classical culture and mythology. And as someone who’s studied Latin for five years (including Catullus), let me tell you, the ancient world was not heteronormative. It’s something I thought about when I read and reviewed the fourth book in the series back in fall 2015, but I didn’t mention it in my review. Instead, I saved my criticism for a vague tumblr post. I haven’t normally criticized books for failing to include queer characters, but I find myself less tolerant of this as time goes on. It’s sort of similar to growing dissatisfaction with narratives that don’t include women (who are also largely absent from Thick as Thieves as it happens).With the previous books, it was easily excusable. But since the first book was published in 1996 and the fifth in 2015, children’s and young adult publishing has gone a long way towards becoming more inclusive. After all, it’s not like a Queen’s Thief book that included non-heterosexual characters wouldn’t find readers — the series already has a devoted fandom, and Rick Riordan has proved that an established series can add queer characters and still be successful.When I heard other reviewers saying they saw queer subtext in Thick as Thieves, I was interested but wary. I want queer representation, but subtext isn’t representation. And to be frank, I’m tired of subtext.Personally, I didn’t read any romantic undertones in the relationship between Costis and Kamet. I didn’t see any of the romantic or sexual language that I typically see when an author’s establishing a relationship as romantic. The closest Thick as Thieves comes is when a supporting character mistakes Costis and Kamet as lovers, which is the first acknowledgement from the series that queer people do exist. It’s also a type of scene that I’ve seen before and never been fond of. It basically feels like the author’s trying to position their work as queer inclusive… without ever actually including queer characters.To all the people saying that men can have friendships without it being romantic: fair point. However, the Queen’s Thief series isn’t exactly lacking when it comes to depictions of male friendship (which is far more prevalent than the female equivalent), but it hasn’t included any romantic relationships between male characters. If Kamet and Costis were a romantic couple, it wouldn’t erase the friendship between Costis and Gen, Gen and Sophos, or any of the other positive relationships between male characters in the series. While I personally didn’t see Costis and Kamet’s relationship as romantic, I’m not saying that readers who did aren’t onto something. I’ve always been terrible about telling the difference between romance and friendship (grey-aro here!), so I’m hardly the best person to judge here. I’ve seen some people saying they think Turner left the nature of Costis and Kamet’s relationship purposefully ambiguous. I really hope that’s not the case. It’s one thing for an author to accidentally write a relationship with perceived queer subtext, but it’s quite another to purposefully create an ambiguous, “are they/aren’t they” scenario. That would be queerbaiting. As the case stands, I don’t think Thick as Thieves can be called queerbaiting, but it’s a thought worth mentioning.When I said that I wanted the series to include queer characters, I never meant the leads. Just some minor characters to show that queer people do have a place in the world Turner’s created. Yet subtext is not sufficient, and I’m not pleased that this ostensible subtext is being praised in some circles as progressive.Thick as Thieves is a well written narrative which I found enthralling. I read this entire young adult novel in a single Sunday afternoon. Yet, at the same time, it’s a bit of a disappointment.Originally posted on The Illustrated Page.
  • (4/5)
    This is the first book by Whalen I have read but it won't be the last. Kamet is a young slave who is literate and can read and speak 5 languages which makes him very valuable to his master, the Emperor's brother. He goes on the run when he hears that his master was poisoned, afraid that he would be the first one people thought of for the deed. He meets with an Attolian soldier and the two travel together trying to stay out of trouble.This story reminded me a lot of Mark Lawrence's Prince of Thorns without the magic.
  • (5/5)
    Really great. I love how Kamat has poor vision and is so generally cranky. I loved his faulty but reasonable assumptions, and how you don't realize that the Attolian is Costis until quite a bit into the book.
  • (3/5)
    It has been a few years since I read the 4 earlier books in this series but that should not have caused any problems reading this, although I had to juggle a few place names around in my head for a bit to try and remember what was what. I'll just say I did not enjoy this story as much as I remember greatly enjoying earlier books in the series. There are some clever elements here but it just seemed much too drawn out and I was frankly bored with it in places. I could throw some specific criticisms in here, but I'll pass. It is not a bad book but I can say I was expecting much more.
  • (5/5)
    Kamet may be a slave, but he's a powerful one. Entrusted with his master's accounts, promised as a gift to the future emperor, Kamet will someday be one of the most important men in the Mede empire. When an Attolian approaches Kamet and offers him freedom, Kamet sits down and has a good laugh. Why would he leave a position of power in the greatest country in the world for a miserable backwater like Attolia? Then, his master is poisoned. Kamet knows he will be accused, tortured, and killed along with most of his master's other slaves -- but if he runs, the blame for the poisoning might fall on him alone. Kamet had no desire to take the Attolian up on his offer, but it appears he will be doing so whether he wants to or not. Escaping the empire won't be easy, but it's the only way Kamet can stay alive.Turner's fans have been waiting years for this book, and it does not disappoint. The plot is as intricate, the characters as complex as one would expect. The focus of the story is Kamet and his companion, so we see little of characters from other books in the series. This book could stand alone, though it clicks into the larger framework of the Queen's Thief series like a puzzle piece, and I still recommend starting the series at the beginning. Fans will be glad to know that the series doesn't look to be wrapping up any time soon, though of course it will probably be another five to eight years until we get the next book. While I wait, I plan to reread the whole thing. I'm sure I will pick up on details that I missed before.
  • (5/5)
    Kamet, a slave in The Queen of Attolia escapes after his master's death knowing that, in the Mede empire, he would be killed if he doesn't leave. An Attolian offers him a way out, and this is their adventure.The latest book in the "Queen's Thief" series is an excellent addition, even if it does not have much of my favorite characters. We learn more of Kamet's story and how the Medean empire works. As the reader - should you have read all the other books before this one and you probably should - you know more than Kamet about who the mysterious Attolian is. Ultimately a satisfying read and one I will probably appreciate more upon rereading.
  • (4/5)
    This is a marvelous entry to the Queen's Thief series.

    I was cautious going in, nothing we had seen of Kamet in the previous books made me want to hear his story. But I was wrong, I might come to love him as much as Gen, I really might (especially if he's given another book, oh how I would love it if he showed up ever again).

    I adore Gen, but my mind just can't follow his twisty plotting more than about ten minutes ahead. Kamet, my darling Kamet, has an organized mind and a precise point of view. Kamet always has a plan, a story, a contingency that draws from his rich stores of knowledge; this extra clarity makes for a very satisfying read that beautifully and coherently expands the world. Kamet's POV does make the book more predictable than the first three (also, the trickster is far away), but the twists are still there. It's a solid road trip/political machinations plot, more in line with the Thief than the intervening books have been. As always, about two thirds of the way through you aren't sure how Turner is going to put down all the spinning plates without breaking them, but she succeeds sensibly.

    Four and a half stars, not at all disappointing, off to start the reread.
  • (4/5)
    Set in the world of Queen's Thief, this is the story of Kamet, a high-ranking slave in Mede. When his master is murdered, he makes his escape with the aid of an Attolian soldier before he is accused of the crime in spite of his ignorance. Fleeing across Mede is a dangerous proposition, not only because of the soldiers chasing him, but also due to thieves, slave traders, harsh terrain - and the fact that he doesn't want his fellow traveler to know why he is really running.
  • (4/5)
    I found this book to be very enjoyable. The writing style is unique. If you have some great stories like this one, you can publish it on Novel Star, just submit your story to hardy@novelstar.top or joye@novelstar.top
  • (4/5)
    This is a marvelous entry to the Queen's Thief series.

    I was cautious going in, nothing we had seen of Kamet in the previous books made me want to hear his story. But I was wrong, I might come to love him as much as Gen, I really might (especially if he's given another book, oh how I would love it if he showed up ever again).

    I adore Gen, but my mind just can't follow his twisty plotting more than about ten minutes ahead. Kamet, my darling Kamet, has an organized mind and a precise point of view. Kamet always has a plan, a story, a contingency that draws from his rich stores of knowledge; this extra clarity makes for a very satisfying read that beautifully and coherently expands the world. Kamet's POV does make the book more predictable than the first three (also, the trickster is far away), but the twists are still there. It's a solid road trip/political machinations plot, more in line with the Thief than the intervening books have been. As always, about two thirds of the way through you aren't sure how Turner is going to put down all the spinning plates without breaking them, but she succeeds sensibly.

    Four and a half stars, not at all disappointing, off to start the reread.
  • (4/5)
    A mildly suspenseful and philosophical adventure. After some disappointment with the intervening books (between the excellent Book 1, "The Thief" and this book, #5), I was pleasantly surprised how engaging the story became. Largely centered on Kamet, a slave and an Attolian helping him escape, the narrative is exciting and thoughtful by turns. The final twists in the plot were unexpected and very amusing.The plot development was evenly-paced, with adroit changes and revelations as the story unwinds. The two protagonists become very strong characters as part of this series, which appealed to me. Both have appearances in earlier scenarios, so I recommend reading the earlier books in the series before reading this tale.
  • (4/5)
    Thick as Thieves is the fifth book in The Queen’s Thief series. I really enjoyed the first four books in this series but this book was wildly different than the other four. This story is truly about the unlikely friendship that builds between Kamet and an Attolian. There is a small part where the Attolian King, aka Gen, plays a part and it is everything I would expect out of Eugenides. I enjoyed the character who played the Attolian, even though I did not know who it was for a very long time. It led to an ah-ha moment and it will mean something to fans of this series.I thoroughly enjoyed Thick as Thieves for the story it was BUT as part of The Queen’s Thief series I was a wee bit disappointed. I think it was just that this story was told from Kamet’s point of view with him being the narrator and the story did not lend itself to deep involvement of the other characters. It could be renamed “The Memoirs of Kamet” and be completely accurate. I do want to continue on in this series though, but only to see what tricks Gen has up his sleeves and to see if maybe the Queen is going to play a larger part.
  • (4/5)
    Note: Some Spoilers for Previous BooksThis is the fifth installment in the "Queen’s Thief" fantasy series, and it is as charming as the previous entrants into the series. Each book has told a story about the Attolia Kingdom and its neighboring countries from a different perspective. This one is told by Kamet, a minor figure from The Queen of Attolia. It also prominently features a character from the third book, The King of Attolia.The saga centers on Eugenides, or Gen, named after the God of Thieves. Like his namesake, he had been trained to steal anything and everything, in his case in service to his cousin Helen, Queen of Eddis. But now he is the King of Attolia, having married the queen of that nation. This union followed the failure of the Mede ambassador, Nahuseresh, to win the queen’s hand so he could thereby capture Attolia to incorporate into Mede.Kamet is one of Nahuseresh’s slaves, but a powerful one, managing all of his finances. He can’t manage Nahuseresh’s moods quite as competently, and is often beaten by him. Still, when he is approached by an Attolian in the halls of the castle who offers to take him to freedom in Attolia, Kamet isn’t interested. After all, he has a lot of power for a slave. But then one of his fellow Mede slaves warns him that Nahuseresh is dead, poisoned during a meeting with his brother. Kamet knows that when a man is murdered, his slaves are tortured and then put to death. Kamut feels he has no choice but to escape, and sneaks out to meet the Attolian at the docks. He doesn’t actually plan to accompany him all the way to Attolia though; he figures the Attolians want to kill him also, and decides he will get away from any pursuers in his own land and then somehow get away from the Attolian.What ensues next is a buddy road-trip, with Kamet and his Attolian rescuer growing closer as they battle starvation, thirst, a hostile terrain, and a series of dangerous pursuers. Along the way, the Attolian asks Kamet to entertain him with stories about Immakuk and Ennikar, legendary Mede heroes and best friends, as this verse attests:“Greatly wise cloaked in wisdom was ImmakukGreatly strong clothed in strength was his true friendEnnikarGreat was their love and greatly did it sustain them inTheir journeys together.”[Those who have studied literature will recognize in the saga strong correspondences to The Epic of Gilgamesh, stories from ancient Mesopotamia dating from as early as 2100 BC and often regarded as the earliest surviving great work of literature. Various Babylonian tablets have been found with “episodes” that feature Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, and Enkidu, a strong man created by the gods to stop Gilgamesh from oppressing the people of Uruk.] It is clear that this saga will be paralleled in the story of these two travelers as well. But the outcome of their journey is always uncertain. First of all, Kamet becomes increasingly conscious of, and guilty over, the betrayal of not telling his rescuer that he believes they are being pursued so vigorously because Kamet must be under suspicion for killing his master. As far as Kamet knows, the Attolian doesn’t even know Nahuseresh is dead. This fact could put him in as grave a danger as it puts Kamet. Secondly, Kamet is repeatedly thwarted in his attempts to sneak away from the Attolian, in part by his own lessening desire to leave him. But he doesn’t trust that he won’t just be killed by the King of Attolia when they arrive there. Kamet believes the king to be a barbarian. We the readers may know differently, but we also do not know what fate is intended for Kamet.Discussion: There are many issues to ponder explored by the author. For example, as she points out, in the Mede Empire, stealing is considered bad, but it is not a mortal crime. Helping to free a slave, on the other hand, is punishable by death, because it constitutes “disturbing the order of the empire.” We have seen many examples of this attitude in the antebellum South in the U.S. It is always interesting that even while masters maintain their slaves are “content,” they recognize the dangers to their convenient set-up of giving slaves too much latitude, letting them meet with each other and compare notes, educating them, and most importantly, of not instilling habits of obedience both by psychological manipulation and physical violence. Kamet’s response to the possibility of being free is illustrative. He knows no other way to be than to serve a master, and he even makes excuses for his master’s violence toward him. He didn’t have “respect” for masters who let their slaves get away with presumptuousness or trickery.A second item to contemplate is the true significance of the Ennikar and Immakuk story. Is it just a nice use of the literary device of a frame tale, or does it have even more meaning? A couple of strange characters appear at different times in the adventures of the two main protagonists who inexplicably seem to know who they are, and who help move the action in the right direction. It’s certainly thought-provoking.Finally, perhaps the other biggest issue is just what kind of story this is. Is it one of best buddies? Is it a love story between two men? Either way, the development of the relationship between the two is lovely, and constitutes a large part of the appeal of this story. Discussion: This fifth book, like the others, tells a heart-warming story with winning characters and nuanced characterizations. There is good pacing as we follow the protagonists on their danger-filled journey, and impressive growth in, and development of, Kamet, because at first, even while he may be “free” in body, he is still not “free” in his mind.Evaluation: This is a terrific series. The books can be read as standalones, but the writing is so good and the story so wonderful, you won’t want to miss any of them.
  • (4/5)
    An enjoyably tense adventure that involves some twists (of course), picks up some unexpected plot threads from previous books and ultimately made me care more about Kamet, a minor character from The Queen of Attolia, than I expected to.I’ve not been a fan of calling this series Queen’s Thief. I think I’d already started thinking of it as the Attolia Books before I discovered the series’ then-unofficial title - it seemed logical and rolls off the tongue nicely.But reading Thick as Thieves made me realise just how much this series is defined by the unlikely, impossible things that Eugenides sets out to steal. This time it’s his nemesis’ righthand-man, Kamet. Eugenides isn’t able to steal Kamet in person, so he sends someone else to do the actual stealing - but Gen’s metaphorical fingerprints are all over this plan. (This made me so gleeful.)Kamet has been very happy with the respect and responsibility of being Nahuseresh’s slave, thank you very much, but circumstances push him into fleeing with the Attolian sent to “rescue” him.Kamet is rather out of his depth on the resulting roadtrip. His companion, an Attolian guard, is not - although it takes Kamet a long time to properly appreciate this. Having seen what the aforementioned Attolian guard is capable of when he is out of his depth, I was very entertained by all of this. It’s fascinating getting different perspectives on familiar characters, and that’s something Turner handles particularly well.Something happens towards the end of the book that initially struck me as having no purpose beyond walloping the reader in the feels, so to speak - but then I realised that it was a reminder of the limitations of Gen’s power. In spite of what he has achieved, there are things - things that are important to him - which lie outside his control.Hopefully it won’t be another six or more years until the next Queen’s Thief book - but if it is, I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait. ”You understand my language pretty well,” he said. “Yes,” I answered. My Attolian was probably better than his. He had a farmer’s accent and didn’t always conjugate his verbs correctly.
  • (5/5)
    The fifth book in Megan Whalen Turner's "Queen's Thief" series is finally out, and like each of its predecessors it finds a new and fascinating perspective on the rich world she has built. Thick as Thieves is told in the voice of Kamet, the steward/secretary/slave of empire official Nahuseresh (whom we've met before). As the story opens, Kamet's carefully managed and predictable world is turned upside down when he learns that his master has been poisoned. As this carries an inflexible sentence of death and possible torture for all Nahuseresh's slaves, Kamet flees in the only way he knows how: with the strange Attolian who invited him to escape to freedom earlier that day. Turner has such a way of creating realistic characters with believable motivations and priorities. For instance, Kamet tells us that slaves do not like to be done favors by one another; in their precarious existence, being in someone's debt in any way is a liability that must be discharged at the earliest chance. Kamet's prolonged distrust of the Attolian can only be explained by his life in a cruel culture where slaves are disposable commodities to be used up and tossed aside. As always, the world-building is excellent. Here in the empire, it's reminiscent of The Horse and His Boy in the setting and basic storyline of unlikely companions escaping bondage and worse in a harsh and opulent society. I noticed similarities between this installment and the first in the series, The Thief. Both are journey stories where most of the action happens on the road to the final destination. In The Thief, there is a prisoner in the party on a quest to find Hamiathes' Gift; in Thick as Thieves, the "prisoner" is a slave fleeing more toward safety than freedom. As with The Thief's magus, Thick as Thieves also features a main character who isn't called by a proper name. He's simply "the Attolian" in Kamet's mind—underscoring the cultural divide and Kamet's feelings of superiority to such an uncouth personage. Even a slave can be proud; indeed, in the empire slaves must be proud to maintain any vestige of self respect. It is a fascinating look at the psychology of slavery. I won't tell you who the Attolian is, except that no, it is not Eugenides, who draws ever further away from the reader as he grows in power and plots to keep the Empire at bay and thwart his personal enemies. The queen makes a short appearance and I won't give any spoilers, but oh :(There's a twist. There's always a twist. This one didn't have quite the shock power of some of the others, but it was satisfying nevertheless. The Thief continues to weave his webs—and so does his author. Now if only we didn't have to wait several more years for the next book!
  • (5/5)
    Eugenides sends a trusted warrior to steal Kamet, the head slave and trusted scribe of Nahuseresh, who almost destroyed Eugenides—taking his right hand, as it were. Kamet doesn’t want to leave, but then he learns that Nahuseresh has been poisoned; he and the rest of the slaves will suffer horrible deaths unless he runs, taking the guilt upon himself. With the Attolian beside him, he begins a long and painful journey towards a freedom he doesn’t seek in a kingdom he doesn’t respect. It’s a good entry in the series, even if I forgot a lot in the interim, and Eugenides is just as epically crafty as ever.
  • (3/5)
    Narrated by Steve West. Cunnat is a long-time, top-level slave to his master. On learning that his master has died of poisoning, Cunnat knows his options are extremely limited. He takes up an Atolian soldier’s offer to escape and secure his freedom. Thanks to a riverboat fire, their journey to Atolia ends up not as straightforward as hoped. Cunnat has been so steeped in the life and attitudes of a slave that it is difficult for him to act freely. West does well portraying the men's growing relationship and Cunnat’s inner struggle to forge an identity outside of slavery. In the end though, the story does not move very quickly; not much happens.