"The Thief" has won the Newbery Medal, the ALA Notable Children's Book and ALA Best Book for Young Adults award.
Megan Whalen Turner is married to a professor and often relocates when he needs to do research. When they travelled to Greece one summer, she decided to use its landscape as the background of a book, but didn't write The Thief until she was spending a year in California, where the olive trees reminded her of the Greek mainland.
A king orders a young thief to carry out a near-impossible heist under threat of death. "In addition to its charismatic hero, this story possesses one of the most valuable treasures of all-a twinkling jewel of a surprise ending," said PW's starred review of this 1997 Newbery Honor book. Ages 10-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"From the believable characters to the well-realized setting, this fantasy offers a refreshing change of pace for readers who enjoy adventure stories with a touch of magic. " Booklist "This is an uplifting book, a literary journey that enriches both its characters and readers before it is over. " Kirkus Reviews "A tantalizing, suspenseful, exceptionally clever novel ... The author's characterization of Gen is simply superb: she lets the reader know so much about him - his sense of humor, his egotism, his loyalty, his forthrightness, his tendency to sulk - and yet manages to hide the most essential information. Which is not to say that either Gen or Turner deceives the reader: both tell part of the truth at all times. And so, unlike many other novels of surprise, which don't bear up to a second reading, Thief is even more fun to reread - you can see all the clues to Gen's identity and mission, and delight in the author's ingenuity." Horn Book
Gr 6 Up‘Things are not what they seem in this story of wit, adventure, and philosophy. Gen, an accomplished thief incarcerated for stealing the king's seal, is dragged from his cell by the king's magus, who is on a quest. The prize is Hamiathes's Gift, said to be a creation of the gods that confers the right of rule on the wearer. During the quest, the magus and Gen take turns telling the youngest member of their party myths about the Eddisian god of thieves. Turner does a phenomenal job of creating real people to range through her well-plotted, evenly paced story. No one is entirely evil or completely perfect. Gen is totally human in his lack of discipline, seeming lack of heroism, and need for sleep and food. The magus makes the transition from smug, superior scholar to decent guy in a believable fashion. Turner also does a neat job of puncturing lots of little prejudices. There are many deft lessons in this story. As absorbing as it is, the best part lies in the surprise ending. Though it is foreshadowed throughout, it is not obvious‘its impact is more like morning sunlight than a lightning bolt. This book is sure to be a hot item with adventure and fantasy lovers, and YAs who like snide, quick-tempered, softhearted heroes will love Gen.‘Patricia A. Dollisch, DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA