“Thief:” Gen’s childhood escapades

“Thief” by Megan Whalen Turner“Thief!” by Megan Whalen Turner

Readers who (like me) are fond of Megan Whalen Turner’s THE QUEEN’S THIEF fantasy series, and who mourn the length of time between publication of her novels, can ease their pain just a little with the short story “Thief!,” originally published in August 2000 in Disney Adventures Magazine and now posted on her website. “Thief!” is a prequel to The Thief, the first book in this series. It’s a brief adventure in the life of young Gen, who begins to develop his thieving abilities at a young age. As readers of the series are aware, Gen’s childhood was marked by frequent run-ins with his numerous cousins. Young Gen has stolen some valuable gold, crystal, and onyx earrings from one of his girl cousins, and her incensed brothers are determined to run Gen down and force him to return the earrings before Gen can put them on the altars of a temple, irrevocably dedicating them to a god or goddess. And if Gen ends up with a few bruises during the process, so much the better, from his cousins’ point of view. But Gen, as always, has a few unexpected tricks up his sleeve, and good reasons for every maddening action that he takes.The Queen's Thief (6 book series) Kindle Edition

“Thief!” is a fairly simple story, written at a middle grade level, skewing a little younger than the rest of THE QUEEN’S THIEF series. It doesn’t really break any new ground or offer any major new insights into the world or character of Eugenides. It does, however, give readers a glimpse of Gen’s childhood, his developing personality, and his relationships with his family, all in the course of a day’s adventure.

“Thief!” is a touching, enjoyable short story that fits in well with the overall series. Readers who aren’t already familiar with Gen are advised to start with The Thief rather than with this story, but for those who have read and liked at least that book, it’s worth the brief amount of time it takes to look up and read this short story. Thanks to Megan Whalen Turner for making this story available to fans who missed it in its original magazine publication.


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TADIANA JONES, on our staff since July 2015, is an intellectual property lawyer with a BA in English. She inherited her love of classic and hard SF from her father and her love of fantasy and fairy tales from her mother. She lives with her husband and four children in a small town near the mountains in Utah. Tadiana juggles her career, her family, and her love for reading, travel and art, only occasionally dropping balls. She likes complex and layered stories and characters with hidden depths. Favorite authors include Lois McMaster Bujold, Brandon Sanderson, Robin McKinley, Connie Willis, Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Megan Whalen Turner, Patricia McKillip, Mary Stewart, Ilona Andrews, and Susanna Clarke.

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6 comments

  1. I love this idea! It ties in with the short story at the back of one of the books, when Helen goes out riding and has an encounter with the gods. Very nice.

    • Ooh! I don’t think I’ve seen that story. Now I’m pouting because I have the entire series in paperback, and I don’t think that story is in any of my copies…

      • It may have been in A Conspiracy of Kings.

        • Off to check to see if it’s there, and I just missed it or forgot it…

        • Sweet! I found two: The one you mentioned at the end of The King of Attolia, and another short story (throwing Hamaithes’s Gift into the volcano) at the end of A Conspiracy of Kings. They are hiding between glossaries and suchlike at the end of the books, and I just never noticed that they were there. Thanks for the heads up!

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