The most powerful advisor to the King of Sounis is the magus. He's not a wizard, he’s a scholar, an aging solider, not a thief. When he needs something stolen, he pulls a young thief from the King's prison to do the job for him.
Gen is a thief and proud of it. When his bragging lands him behind bars he has one chance to win his freedom, journey to a neighboring kingdom with the magus, find a legendary stone called Hamiathes’s Gift, and steal it.
The magus has plans for his King and his country. Gen has plans of his own.
Awards and Honors
Newbery Honor Book Award, 1997
American Library Association List of Notable Books, 1997
Young Adult Library Services Assocatiion Best Books for Young Adults, 1997
Discussion guide at HarperCollins
Read an extra story from this book, which is included in the paperback.
“A tantalizing, suspenseful, exceptionally clever novel is set in a Mediterranean-like country called Sounis in a time when the old gods have just been supplanted. (So vivid are the geography and the details of daily life that the reader can easily believe in the existence of this imaginary landscape.) Gen, a thief languishing in the royal dungeons, is summarily reclaimed by the king’s magus, who wants him to steal the unstealable: a legendary stone conferring the power of the throne of Eddis, a rival neighboring country, on its bearer. The magus and his companions set off, with Gen brought along as a ‘useful sort of tool.’”
— The Horn Book, starred review