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Thick as Thieves

June 23, 2017

What did I do to celebrate the summer solstice? Took the afternoon off, sat on the deck in the sun, and read Megan Whalen Turner’s Thick as Thieves. I highly recommend this as a summer activity.

The action starts immediately, with a reader’s sympathy for the first-person narrator, a slave named Kamet, culminating in his escape from torture and death. He is aided in his escape by an unnamed man he calls “the Attolian” and they adventure together, each continually proving himself almost as quick-witted as the other. The first time this happens, Kamet thinks “he had an open face and an honest one, and I’d mistaken that for stupidity. He was not a liar by nature, certainly, but he was not the fool I had taken him for.”

Kamet is subtle, well-educated, and cynical at the beginning of his journey. He does not believe in the offer of freedom the Attolian makes. He thinks to himself
“There was always unrest, of course. Fear of the poor and of slave revolts, the occasional corn riot. Demagogues rose and fell, and the empire was always cutting down one or another. It would be possible, I supposed, for an outsider to see disruption and think the empire might collapse, but it was too all encompassing, too well sewn together to come apart.”

Of course, he is proved wrong in the end. A character you know well if you’ve read previous books in this series (not necessary to enjoy this one) uses him and extends friendship at the same time. This character wants “all the information I had gleaned from my master’s correspondence. Everything I had learned as a slave—wholly attentive to any detail that might someday be used to my advantage.”

The Queen of Attolia interacts with Kamet only once, but it is memorable, and might make you cry a little.

In the best fantasy tradition, there are three different happy endings—one showing what happens to Kamet and “the Attolian,” one a letter from Kamet to someone at the Attolian court, and the last an incident with the former Attolian ambassador, showing the cleverness of the characters we love and predicting what readers of this novel long for most—another novel about this world.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. June 23, 2017 10:31 am

    Only one person ahead of me in the library hold line!!!

  2. June 24, 2017 9:01 am

    I just finished this too, and loved it. Seven more years till the next one, sigh!

    • June 25, 2017 5:46 pm

      That is the price we pay for reading books as soon as they’re published.

  3. June 25, 2017 5:39 pm

    Yayyyyy! I’m glad you liked it! We talked about it when you visited, didn’t we? How much I liked it? I liked it an awful, awful lot — as soon as I figured out the identity of the Attolian character (which was pretty quickly), I was all the way in. So worth waiting for.

    • June 25, 2017 5:46 pm

      We didn’t, actually–I was reminded it was out by you writing about it. And it had been so long since I’d read the series that I didn’t figure out who the Attolian character was for a while. That actually kind of made it more fun. I’m thinking about rereading the whole series when I’m laid up during July.

  4. June 26, 2017 12:46 pm

    What a great way to celebrate the solstice!

    I’ve not read these books, but we have them – not the new one yet, the older ones – at my library. I’ve wondered about them. Sounds really good!

    • June 26, 2017 1:48 pm

      Oh how I envy you the chance to read The Thief for the first time!!! This is a pleasure you don’t want to put off.

  5. June 28, 2017 11:16 am

    What a perfect way to celebrate summer solstice! A perfect way to celebrating practically anything really 🙂

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