by Megan Whalen Turner
Greenwillow Books, c2006.
Costis, a member of the Queen's Guard, expects to lose his life because he has punched the King in the face. Everyone knows he's just a swindler from Eddis who stole their queen, but obviously, even if you hate your sovereign hitting him is dangerous business. But Eugenides doesn't kill Costis; he promotes him. The new lieutenant instead sees the King at his finest - half asleep during the morning sessions, bored during lessons on history and languages, practicing sword drills in first position. This is the King of Attolia?
Because the story is told primarily from Costis' perspective, we are that much more distanced from Eugenides, though his personality still comes out, especially when he speaks with his cousins or Attolia. Though I like this book least of the three I have read, I appreciate it in rereading in ways I did not before, picking up on more details and having my reading eyes attuned to any hints regarding what A Conspiracy of Kings may cover. The King of Attolia is more about political maneuvering than the previous books in the series, and more about Eugenides becoming a true king than about the action. As a result, some parts are rather slow, but every time I've read it, I've only taken a day or too, so I can hardly complain on that count.