A Conspiracy of Kings
by Megan Whalen Turner
Book Four in the "Attolia" series focuses on Sophos, the prince of Sounis and sometime mage's apprentice introduced in the earlier books. Now, in as painful and dangerous a way as you can imagine, he becomes the king of Sounis. How a sweet-natured bookworm with a distinct lack of military skills can gather the strength to claim this throne, and at the same time to save his country from conquest by the ever-encroaching Medean empire, is the matter of this entire book.
With the skill to be expected of the author of the previous three books in this series, Megan Whalen Turner brings to life not only the manners and intrigues of courtly life in her dangerous alternate-history version of the ancient world, but the movements within the heart of the sensitive yet courageous youth at the center of the story.
Through Sophos, or rather Sounis as he soon becomes named, we come to see Eugenides (hero of the earlier books in the series) in a new light: as a leader of Machiavellian sublety. At times, Gen comes across as coldly ruthless, especially as he forces his sometime friend to submit to a strange alliance on which the fate of three small kingdoms may depend.
Meanwhile, we are touched by the delicate, hesitant romance between two sovereigns whose physical ugliness—in Sounis' case, recently acquired—conceals inner beauty. And we are left, once again, to wonder how long we will have to wait until Megan Whalen Turner brightens our world with another one of her delightful books.
St. Louis, USA
Recommended Age: 13+
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