Gen, the thief, can steal anything. Except for himself out of the King's prison as he promised when he was arrested. Luckily, the King's Magus is in need of a thief, a thief who can steal anything, even if the object is mythological. Of course, Gen agrees, and sets off on an adventure with people he despises in order to cement his name in history.
Perhaps the strongest part of the book is that Gen is hilarious. As they are about to depart on their secret missions Gen says, "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 forget that it is as likely to step on your foot as look at you." After riding for only half a day, Gen slides off his horse exhausted. "Oh, thank gods, I thought. They're going to leave me. All I wanted to do was lie in a dry prickly grass with my feet in a ditch forever. I could be a convenient sort of mile marker, I thought. Get to the thief and you know you are halfway to Methana. Wherever Methana might be." Gen makes fun of others, is uncouth, loud, chews with his mouth open, is a coward, and most importantly a very good thief.
The story is definitely a character piece, the first half focusing largely on building the five main characters. Without giving anything away, I can tell you that my favorite part...the best part of this book is the twist. It is amazing. Fun. It will make you want to flip back to the beginning and read it all over again with fresh eyes. I promise, you won't see it coming. You'll have no idea. Even with all my bragging, you still won't see it. But don't read the book searching for a twist. Read the book and enjoy it. Enjoy it for this wonderful character voice, strong plot, slightly fantasy, with an awesome twist ending. Believe me, you will read the book again and then rush out to grab the second book, The Queen of Attolia. Oh, did I mention it was a Newbury Honor Book?