Series and book summary:
The Queen of Attolia is the sequel to The Thief and is the second of Turner's four books about Eugenides, the Thief of Eddis.
The books are set in a Byzantine-like imaginary landscape, reminiscent of ancient Greece and other territories around the Mediterranean. The action takes place in the countries of Eddis, Attolia, and Sounis. The characters’ names are also Greek, and references are made to actual Greek authors, but this is fantasy, not historical fiction. The gods of Turner's pantheon, ruled by the Great Goddess Hephestia, are her own, and her world possesses such items as guns, pocket watches, printed books and stained glass windows.
Eugenides, the Thief of Eddis, has been caught spying on the Queen of Attolia. He expects to be hanged, but the Queen instead resorts to an ancient traditional custom – she has his right hand struck off with a sword. This shocking act sets the plot in motion.
Maimed and broken-hearted, the Thief returns to Eddis and wallows in a deep depression. Attolia, an apparently heartless ruler, secretly regrets her action, but must live with the consequences of it. The countries of Eddis and Attolia are soon at war, with neighboring Sounis playing both sides. Also manipulating the situation is Attolia’s ambassador from the Mede Empire, Nahuseresh, who pays extravagant attention to the beautiful Queen of Attolia while serving his own agenda. As Attolia juggles her overattentive ambassador, the rebellious barons who do not believe a woman can rule alone, and a bloody, costly war, the reader begins to understand what has made her into the Queen – and the person – she is.
Meanwhile, a visit from the magus of Sounis awakens Eugenides to the fact that his country is at war. His cousin, the Queen of Eddis, may lose her throne and her country. Eugenides is forced to grow up and become more than just a boy hero and a clever trickster. He remakes himself into a new kind of hero – and a new kind of Thief. As in The Thief, the gods play an important role, there are stories within stories, and the clever plot holds more than one surprise.