Reviews for A Conspiracy of Kings
Booklist Reviews 2010 February #2
*Starred Review* Following The Thief, a 1997 Newbery Honor Book, and The King of Attolia, a 2007 Best Book for Young Adults, Turner continues her exquisite series with another rich story that examines peace, power, leadership, and loyalty. After initial, tense prison scenes focused on Eugenides, the king of Attolia, the novel's viewpoint switches from third to first person, and Sophos, the reluctant king of Sounis who prefers poetry to politics, relates the adventures that precipitated his rise to questionable power. Tutors have drilled Sophos in imaginary attacks, but after he loses his family in a real invasion, he is bereft and goes into hiding as a slave on a nobleman's estate in order to avoid his sovereign responsibilities. Even though Eugenides' fans will miss his presence, he continues to pull strings from the sidelines as he joins leaders in high-priced alliances and prepares for an invasion. Turner's plotting remains deft, and the subtlety with which she balances her characters' inner and outer worlds will delight both series newcomers and fans, who will be waiting to grab this stand-out, stand-alone adventure, filled with all the expected intrigue and political machinations, from the shelves. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
In this eagerly awaited fourth novel (The Thief, etc.) set in a semi-classical world, Turner focuses on Sophos, prince of Sounis, who has been kidnapped by rebel barons. Turner's knotting of plots and counterplots, battle tactics, diplomatic skullduggery, the tensions of state business and personal desire, as well as events from earlier books is masterful. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2010 #2
In this eagerly awaited fourth novel set in a semi-classical world, Turner focuses on Sophos, prince of Sounis, who has been kidnapped by rebel barons in cahoots with the Persian-like Medes. First encountered in The Thief as blushing and inept, Sophos here gives his account of a momentous period of maturing: he becomes a slave, rescues his father from murderers, becomes king, falls in love, fights a war, and negotiates the difficult territory of state and personal relationships in order to establish his kingship. Peerless Eugenides plays a pivotal role, as do the Queen of Attolia and, most markedly, the Queen of Eddis. Turner's knotting of plots and counterplots, battle tactics, diplomatic skullduggery, and the tensions of state business and personal desire is masterful. Once again she displays an extraordinary ability to engage both brain and feeling at full force; to provide equally intellectual complexity, action, and inner psychological realms of intimacy and vulnerability -- whether in romantic love or in friendship. She does this here brilliantly, ringing the changes on events, characters, and narrative strategies in the earlier novels with such success that having finished the book, one just wants to open it up and read it again. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2010 March #1
With each volume of this stellar series, the question arises anew: How will the text deceive its readers now that we're able to recognize Eugenides's lies? This time, it's through the first-person narration of Sophos, the excruciatingly honest (but underinformed) heir to the kingdom of Sounis. As civil war brews, the young man is plucked from his bookish rustication by kidnappers desiring a puppet king. Sophos escapes only by finagling himself into slavery. It's an oddly pleasant interlude for him; after a lifetime of training for an unwanted royalty, Sophos treasures the choicelessness of his relatively benevolent servitude. Alas, he knows his responsibilities. When the opportunity comes, Sophos escapes and turns to his old friend Eugenides for help. Sophos, with aid from Eugenides and the queens of Attolia and Eddis, plots the recovery of Sounis. In a heartbreaking chain of machinations, they negotiate the responsibilities of kingship when they'd rather be operating as friends. Sophos's straightforward stubbornness is a refreshing antidote to his world's lies and a fascinating lens on Eugenides. For series fans, unmissable. (Fiction. 12-15) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 February #3
The fourth installment in Turner's saga is another absorbing political drama, this time focusing on Sophos, reluctant heir to the Sounis throne. Readers will remember him as Useless the Younger in The Thief, when he was more interested in poetry than power. As the king's only heir, however, he had no choice but to prepare for the monarchy until, in the opening pages of this volume, he is kidnapped and sold into slavery. He narrates the story of his abduction to an undisclosed "you," whose identity close readers of the series may guess. Given the complexity of Turner's plot, readers should reread the first three books before beginning this one, which derives its power from the intricate construction of Turner's imagined world, a realm in which her founding mythology is as impressive as her descriptions of the land itself. Sophos's choice--live anonymously in servitude or accept a role he doesn't want--drives the story as his allies approach a showdown with the enemy Medes. Strong evidence emerges that the story doesn't end here, and fans will savor this while they wait for more. Ages 10-up. (Apr.) [Page 132]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2010 April
Gr 7 Up--Teenaged Sophos is his uncle's heir, but his love of poetry and lack of interest in ruling have caused his father to send him to a remote villa. When it is attacked by the king's enemies, Sophos is sold into slavery, where he begins to mature and develop both physically, from the hard manual labor, and emotionally. He makes the decision to escape slavery and try to resume his place as heir and eventually king of Sounis, traveling to Attolia to try to recruit support from its queen and king, Sophos's friend, Eugenides, the protagonist of The Thief (1996) and The King of Attolia (2006, both HarperCollins). Layers of intrigue follow Sophos as he tries to protect Sounis from various groups of enemies, leading to a surprising twist at the conclusion. Sophos tells his story to an initially unknown audience, but interspersed third-person chapters provide additional perspective. Fans of Turner's earlier books set in the medieval-style kingdoms of Sounis, Eddis, and Attolia will enjoy seeing Eugenides, the magus, and other familiar characters again, while the new protagonist and ample background make A Conspiracy of Kings accessible for new readers as well. This is a well-constructed and intricate tale of action, adventure, and assuming the mantle of leadership.--Beth L. Meister, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, WI [Page 170]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2010 August
Turner continues her critically acclaimed fantasy series with this new novel that explores the richly intricate world of her previous novel, The King of Attolia (Greenwillow, 2006/VOYA February 2006). Sophos, former companion to Eugenides, the king of Attolia, now studies to be king of Sounis, a task for which he cannot muster much enthusiasm. That all changes when he is kidnapped by rebels who oppose his uncle, the current king of Sounis, and sold into slavery to one of the current barons involved in the plot. In an effort to survive, Sophos toughens up and waits for an opportunity. When his father comes to visit the baron, Sophos reveals his identity and escapes. Sophos hope to persuade his old friend, the king of Attolia, to assist him in forming a military and political alliance that will allow Sophos to claim his rightful place as king of Sounis Intricate and Machiavellian, the plot is more about political intrigue and shifting alliances than about the typical quests/battles that are the stock-in-trade of most fantasy novels. This is a world that Turner has explored in her last three novels, and it is a fascinating and beautifully crafted masterpiece. The characters are well drawn and multi-faceted, but our engagement with them suffers a bit by the author's rather detached narration. Still, Turner's writing is intellectually complex and of the highest quality. Fans of her previous novels will be eager to devour this latest installment in the series. This is a book to recommend to teens who enjoy complex and character-driven fantasies.--Jan Chapman 5Q 4P JS Copyright 2010 Voya Reviews.