Thick as Thieves
Megan Whalen Turner
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.
I’m a raving fan of the Queen’s Thief books. I read all four in a breathless rush several summers ago and I’ve since reread The Queen of Attolia repeatedly.
If you’re new to Queen’s Thief
So first warning–expect some spoilers for earlier books in the series. If you haven’t read the other Queen’s Thief books, I strongly recommend starting with the first one, although you can enjoy Thick as Thieves alone.
For continuing readers
But the real warning: if you’re a Queen’s Thief reader who’s excited to revisit favorite characters, you may be disappointed. This installment expands on the world and advances the global plot, but centers on entirely different characters. The Attolian court doesn’t appear until the very end of the book.
Since I’m especially fond of the king and queen of Attolia, I was a little disappointed they didn’t get more page time. But if you go in knowing what to expect, I think you’ll like this book a lot!
The Peculiar Psychology of a Secretary
Kamet, the main character, is a high-ranking slave, essentially the right-hand man for a Mede noble. Turner exquisitely captured the unusual psychology of such a man, similar to what you might see today in a really good personal assistant or a high-end waiter. There’s a unique combination of haughtiness and obsequiousness that marks a person who is constantly serving, but is remarkably good at that work. Kamet’s psychology is complicated by the fact that he is an actual slave.
I love the fact that Turner tackled such a fascinating character.
An Epic Journey
While Queen’s Thief books are always political, the politics of Thick as Thieves are often overshadowed by the journey. As Kamet crosses a formidable amount of terrain, on the run constantly, it almost seems as if you’re reading a survival story. But it’s a survival story peppered with epic poems and political machinations.
Honestly, maybe it’s just been too long since I’ve read a good fantasy, but I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like Thick as Thieves. Turner kept all the essential elements of a Queen’s Thief novel while giving herself space to play with new characters and ideas. This installment isn’t one of my favorite books and it still doesn’t replace Queen of Attolia as the best of the series, but it is a good book and a strong addition to this fictional world.
I strongly recommend it for readers of the series. If you haven’t read the series, I recommend starting at the beginning and reading through. But if you decide to skip the first four books and read Thick as Thieves, I really want to know what your experience is like.