Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Thief (The Queen's Thief, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Thief (The Queen's Thief, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Thief (The Queen's Thief #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  44,996 Ratings  ·  5,132 Reviews
The king's scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king's prison. The magus is interested only in the thief's abilities.

What Gen is interested in is anyone's guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly
Library Binding, 220 pages
Published January 28th 1998 by San Val (first published 1996)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Thief, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Sara It's a mixture. I'm pretty sure the author herself said on a note that she wasn't trying to replicate any myths in particular, but instead got bits…moreIt's a mixture. I'm pretty sure the author herself said on a note that she wasn't trying to replicate any myths in particular, but instead got bits and pieces from different cultures that resulted in the mixture you find here. Some elements might seem familiar because of that.(less)
Amy Goodwin There is not in this first book, but there are definitely some unique love story themes in the following books.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Lola  Reviewer

Oh, thank gods, I thought. They’re going to leave me. All I want to do was lie in a dry prickly grass with my feet in a ditch forever. I could be a convenient sort of milemarker, I thought. Get to the thief and you know you are halfway to Methana. Wherever Methana might be.

The Thief is a high fantasy with, like any other high fantasy on this planet, a journey the characters undertake. Gen, the main character was a pleasant surprise. While I first thought he was a feminine character, I was prov
Dec 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: Kristin Cashore
Update 6/2011. Let me just say, if you feel so-so about this book (like I did), please give its sequel - The Queen of Attolia - a try. It made me forever and ever a dedicated fan of the series.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed it, but I think I spoiled the experience for myself a little bit.

(view spoiler)
Emily May
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy, 2011

My main reason for reading The Thief was so I could read the sequel - The Queen of Attolia - that I've heard is superb and far better than this first installment. I actually set myself up for quite an underwhelming experience with this book based on reviews and the fact that I'm not the biggest fan of more traditional fantasy with magical realms and such (I never could stand The Lord of the Rings). However, the story was interesting, the writing excellent and the protagonist was a witty, deviou
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE)

Huh. I really, really liked this? True enough, I've decided to start The Thief in order to get to the sequels - that all my friends adore - and somehow I was at peace with the probable boredom I would feel during this first novel and... My enjoyment felt so effortless? From the characters to the world and the writing, I've been enchanted. Truly.

"I hate horses. I know people who think that they are noble, graceful animals, but regardless of what a horse looks like from a distance, never forge
Nov 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was another book my wife insisted that I read. It was our before-bed read aloud book last month.

Reading 10-15 pages a night, the first half of the book was enjoyable, but unfolded rather slowly. I was a bit puzzled about why my wife was so enthusiastic about the book. Then, about half way through, the excitement and tempo increased a few notches, and it become a real page-turner.

This is a fantasy novel, but it is not your typical swords and sorcery adventure. There are swords, and even a co
Nov 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed-library
Yes, it starts off slower than molasses. Yes, you will be perfectly misdirected by Ms Turner. Yes, you will wish to set it aside for these reasons.

And all I can say is, Don't. Persevere.

Because you absolutely need to read this book in order to get to the sequel, The Queen of Attolia, which is one of my fave books as well as having one of the best male protagonists of all time. Seriously, I love Gen to bits.

Read this series.
Robin (Bridge Four)
Dec 09, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Robin by: Kerry *Soulcaster*
Buddy read with some friends at Buddies Books and Baubles

I am a master of foolhardy plans, I thought. I have so much practice I consider them professional risks.

EVERYONE told me not to expect much from this book and to be patient. They said the beginning isn’t very good but the second half is pretty good and the next two books are amazing…so just hang in there. Well I found that to be true and false at the same time.

It is true the second half of this book is much more interesting, there is
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Review originally posted at Fantasy Literature. Reread July 2015 with the Buddies Books & Baubles group.

Megan Whalen Turner’s award-winning 1996 YA fantasy The Thief, set in a fantasy world that has very strong echoes of ancient Greece, follows the adventures of Gen, the eponymous thief, as he is yanked from a filthy prison cell to go on a journey with a group of four men who hope to steal an unnamed object. The magus, who is leading the group, is the only person in the group who knows what
Lois Bujold
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Lois by: e-mail correspondent years ago who loved it so much she mailed me a copy
Having dutifully tried a few new things to my lack of satisfaction this past week, I turned instead to an old favorite that I knew would be a pleasurable read. This is a book that re-repays a re-re-read, not only soon, but after finishing its sequels once they widen one's view of its world and characters.

There is not too much one can say about The Thief that is not a spoiler, and this is a book that should NOT be read with preconceptions. Set in an alternate fantasy world loosely inspired by Gre
Mar 13, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A thief sprung from jail to help a Magnus steal an ancient treasure, warring kingdoms, political intrigue, sword fights, narrow escapes,a mythology invented especially for this fictional place, and a quest--everything, it would seem, to keep me reading. So I am wondering why I so disliked this book that I had to force myself to keep reading to the end. I think I hit upon the answer spoken by one of Turner's characters near the last weary lap of the book: "Oh, fine," I told him...but I didn't rea ...more
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
This book seemed promising but I ended up a bit underwhelmed.
I'm still planning on continuing the series since it apparently gets better!
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
May 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy lovers
Recommended to Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) by: Beanbag Love
What do you do when you want to gain possession of something that's nearly impossible to obtain? You hire a thief who can steal just about anything.

Gen has no disillusions about his abilities as a thief. He's actually named after the god of thieves, Eugenides, as a matter of fact. While his father wanted him to be a soldier, he knew that was not the life for him. Instead, he honed his skills at stealing, until he was one of the best in the land. Too bad he did a little too much bragging about st
May 09, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-interested
I can't say this book is bad but it isn't great either. Boring interactions and dull protagonist with the plot I couldn't care less about. Nothing even slightly exciting happens. The start reminds me a bit of "Throne of Glass" series and that's the only good thing about this book. I'm not even a big fan of Throne of Glass.

A thief named Gen got out from jail in order to help a Magus steal an ancient treasure. When the identity of the thief is finally revealed I was occasionally interested in the
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE)
Me : I need to stop with that obsession with The Queen's Thief series and Eugenides.
Also me : *downloads the first audiobook on Audible*

Really though, I had no idea that Steve West narrated this book! Is it reason enough to listen to this less than a week after having read the book? Absolutely.

My review of the novel : here
Aug 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: road trip!
This book was okay. On one hand, I can't deny that Megan Whalen Turner is a great writer. Her command of the English language, especially her rich descriptions of a pseudo-Greek landscape, is superb. On the other hand, I found the story very slow up until the very hasty end, and the ending felt a bit off.

I should have known to not let my expectations get out of hand. Reviewers did offer cautionary notes that the next book in the series, Queen of Attolia, was much better. From the book synopsis
I'm giving up on this one. It's not BAD, just...excruciatingly BORING. To me, anyway. I found the main character obnoxious and all the other characters underdeveloped and uninteresting, and over half way through the book, nothing's really happened--they've started their journey, and then traveled, and traveled, and traveled, and traveled, and traveled, get the picture. I've heard really good things about this series, and maybe at some point in the future I'll give it another try. But I ...more
Mar 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been told by so many people that this series is amazing, but that the first book is kinda lackluster. I didn't know much more than that going into The Thief, and perhaps that's why I enjoyed it more than others seem to. Importantly, I didn't know there was a twist at the end and so I didn't see it coming and also didn't spend my time trying to figure out what it was. I just enjoyed the ride.

The Thief follows Gen, the eponymous trickster, as he is forced to journey through multiple countries
Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*
Buddy read with Buddies Books & Baubles July 2015

Three stars feels a bit generous, but oh well. It was pretty good for what it was. I'll call it 2.5 rounded up.

I found the interweaving of Grecian names interesting, although the book could definitely have benefited from having a map in the front pages. Between Sounis, Eddis and Attolia I found myself getting a bit confused about what was where. I liked Gen's selfishness (reminded me of Meda from Cracked) and he just had a cool laid-back sort
This book has a very slow pace, but I think that’s intentional. The slowly building suspense adds a lot to the big reveal at the end. This is going to be the weirdest comparison ever, but this book actually reminds me of the beginning of American Psycho. Reading the beginning of that book is like, “boring…boring…boring...wait a minute, did he just say that he was going to disembowel someone?!” This book has the same feel of repetitive setting and story progression, sprinkled with little tantaliz ...more
Beanbag Love
Aug 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite book series. It was one of those odd things where a book cover just grabs you and you just have to buy it. I'm so glad I did.

I read The Thief a couple of years ago and I'm not exaggerating when I say that I always leave all three books in this trilogy out and accessible for a quick fix. They sit on my desk and they don't get moved unless I pick them up to read them. I'm so thrilled they've come out in e-book form because I miss them when I travel.

It's actually kind of
Full Review Link

It is safe to say that I spend most of my free time reading. I read three to four books every week, sometimes more. I am very careful with what I choose to read which means that most of the books I read, I end up enjoying at least to some degree. But it is rare, extremely rare, to read a book that falls in that category of Books for Life. You know the ones: those that take over your heart and your mind, that even when you are reading you know that you are experiencing something u
✿Katherine Elizabeth✿

This one was really difficult for me to rate. But I've decided to finally give it 3.25 stars. Mainly because the strength of the writing and story went hot and cold so many times that I lost track. For example, the beginning of the novel was probably 4 stars, then somewhere around the middle it fell to 2 stars, and then moved back up to 3 stars. It was confusing and not steady. Regardless, the story was still decent - though not without its flaws.

Firstly, the mini-stories about Gods and th
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written story and enjoyable in a meandering way. I enjoyed the mythology woven into the story. Gen was an engaging unreliable narrator.
Apr 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I enjoyed this book a lot! Definitely young adult in tone, but immensely entertaining and the end was a fun twist. Recommended especially for teens.
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2017
Well, now that was a pretty good read. Freaking loved it! Also I think I have spoiled myself a bit for the next books. I really hope this isn't the case. WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF???!!!

I am thinking to ditch reviewing this and diving straight into the book2 because how can I not!!!


AND I have heard that this book is nothing compared to the rest of the series!!! WOWOW

Mini Review
This book takes you from the plains of Sounis to the veldts of Eddis to mountains of

The Skinny:
Gen, a young thief, has bragged for the last time. After telling the wrong people (AKA anyone he could) about his most recent theft, he is thrown in the King's prison. Thinking that is where he will remain, Gen is surprised when the King's scholar comes to fetch him. Unbeknownst to Gen, the magus wants him to steal something for him in return for his freedom. Thinking he has an easy way out, Gen quickly agrees. What he doesn't realize is that this task might be far more difficult
Steph Su
Every time I think of this series, I kick myself for not having started it when I was younger. Not exactly because I’d enjoy it more as a younger reader, but because I would have had more years to crush on Eugenides and the masterful storytelling that Megan Whalen Turner is capable of.

To be honest, in the beginning I wasn’t very impressed with THE THIEF. The story starts in prison, and Gen is sick and scrawny and cranky. Not quite the most endearing character at this point. Even when Gen, the ma
Jan 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Vinaya by: Tatiana
I think this review may be SPOILER-ISH, so read on at your own peril.

First off, I HAVE to know... Was Gen's identity supposed to be a big secret? Because I knew exactly who he was about one-third into the book, about the time they reached Eddis. So if the whole thing was supposed to have been mysterious up until the end, when the grand revelation took place, I might have to drop a star, and pat myself on the back for my own cleverness. But since I really, really liked The Thief, I will give Mega
Marla Mei
One of the reasons why I read The Thief is because I still haven't gotten over my new-found addiction for fantasy novels ever since I finished reading the Lumatere Chronicles. So while I was scrolling through GR and found a highly acclaimed fantasy book called the Queen of Attolia, I knew I had to read it. And then I found out it is the second book in a series. Just imagine how giddy I was when I found out about that. A series! More books! Yay!

Reading more reviews finally convinced me that this
Nov 10, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shaya by: Rebecca
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
References to Howl´s Moving Castle? 6 52 Aug 16, 2016 02:34PM  
I'm wary of reading this- could someone answer a concern? 6 128 Jul 03, 2015 06:58AM  
Recommendation on What Fantasy to Read Next? 4 73 Jul 02, 2015 01:26PM  
  • Quintana of Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles, #3)
  • The Folk Keeper
  • The Perilous Gard
  • Crown Duel (Crown & Court #1-2)
  • Westmark (Westmark #1)
  • Cart and Cwidder (The Dalemark Quartet, #1)
  • Liar's Moon (Thief Errant, #2)
  • Fly Trap (Fly by Night, #2)
  • The Hollow Kingdom (The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy, #1)
  • Jackaroo (Tales of the Kingdom, #1)
  • Plain Kate
  • Mairelon the Magician (Mairelon, #1)
  • The Savage Damsel and the Dwarf (The Squire's Tales, #3)
  • Wildwood Dancing (Wildwood, #1)
  • Rogue's Home (Knight and Rogue, #2)
Megan Whalen Turner is the author of short stories and novels for children, teenagers and adults. She has won the LA Times Book Award for Young Adult LIterature, a Boston Globe/ Horn Book Honor and a Newbery Honor. She won the Mythopoeic Award and was shortlisted twice for the Andre Norton Award.
More about Megan Whalen Turner...

Other Books in the Series

The Queen's Thief (6 books)
  • The Queen of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, #2)
  • The King of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, #3)
  • A Conspiracy of Kings (The Queen's Thief, #4)
  • Thick as Thieves (The Queen's Thief, #5)
  • Untitled (The Queen's Thief, #6)
“All I wanted to do was lie in the dry grass with my feet in a ditch forever. I could be a convenient sort of milemarker, I thought. Get to the thief and you know you're halfway to Methana.” 211 likes
“You learn something new everyday."
"What are you learning?" Sophos asked.
"To keep my mouth shut, I hope.”
More quotes…