“A Conspiracy of Kings,” by Megan Whalen Turner, is the third book in a series, following the books “The Thief” and “The Queen of Attolia.” It follows the story of Sophos, an unlikely heir to the throne of Sounis. Sophos has been exiled to a small, quiet villa, where he lives with his mother and sisters. He has had many tutors over the years, his favorite being the magus, Terve. Terve often quizzed him on battle tactics, which Sophos never thought he would have to use, until one day when the villa is attacked.
Sophos is captured and sold into slavery, ending up as a field worker on a villa owned by a baron who plots against his father. He spends many months there and becomes happier than he had ever been. He becomes stronger both physically and emotionally, and can pretend he is no one. But he begins to tire of his quiet life and takes the opportunity to escape slavery when he realizes his father is coming to visit the baron. The baron intends to kill his father and it’s up to Sophos to stop him.
Sophos helps his father escape with his life, and soon learns that he, Sophos, is destined to be the new king of Sounis, since his uncle was killed in the wars. He and his former tutor, the magus, journey to Attolia to seek help from his old friend King Eugenides and his wife, Queen Eddis. He soon becomes caught up in diplomatic discussions, until he journeys home to meet with the barons who will decide if he will become their king. But during the meeting, he breaks a long-held truce among the barons and a battle breaks out. What will become of him? What will become of the country?
“A Conspiracy of Kings” is an action-packed book filled with characters fans will recognize from earlier books. It is a beautifully written story about countries balanced on the edge of war, and will keep even new readers entranced. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about balance of power, espionage, military strategy, and trickery. It was an intriguing book that was an interesting departure from most books written for young people.