Parental Warning: “The Return of the Thief”

It is with great regret and no small measure of annoyance that we find the need to warn parents that the sixth and last book of Meghan Whalen Turner’s The Queen’s Thief series needs editing.

After successfully skirting dangerous issues for five wonderful and engaging installments – leading us to recommend the series in our Issue 3 “Book List” – in the sixth installment the author comes out of left field and makes it clear that two of the supporting characters are homosexual.

While there are no gratuitous sex scenes, nevertheless there is also no mistaking it. There are perhaps 5 or 6 scenes throughout the book that make further reference to it, or to the same issue with minor characters.

We cannot express just how disappointing and frustrating this is, and wanted to make sure you had adequate warning before simply purchasing the book for your teens on the assumption that it would be clean like the others.

Below, we have given the pertinent page and line numbers for parents who wish to salvage the book without having the time to read the entire series. The insertions fit smoothly with the general storyline and character arcs.

If anyone finds a scene we missed, please let us know via our contact page.


Spoiler-Free Edits (Hardcover Edition)

Necessary hand-written insertions/replacements are in italics. Deletions are shown by …

Page 161

  • Lines 3-16.  Cut entirely.

Page 222

  • Lines 3-4. Cut the first sentence on line 3 up to the word “Teleus.”  Then change the rest of the sentence to say, “Teleus turned to see my frown.”
  • Line 5. Change to, “He does not approve of my going,” said Relius.
  • Lines 19-20. Change to, “Teleus clapped him grimly on the shoulder and left.”
  • Lines 22-23. Cut completely.

Page 229

  • Lines 14-15. Cut the sentence about winter sports in Eddis.

Page 269

  • Lines 2-3. Cut the entire sentence about Legarus. You may want to retroactively edit the scene near the two-thirds mark of King of Attolia where Aristogiton’s squad is in prison and Legarus is crying to say that he was betrayed by a “friend.”
  • Lines 5-17.  Cut the end of Line 5 starting with “I wondered…” through to the section break.

Page 365

  • Line 11. Change to, “that the friend he’d betrayed had died”

Page 422

  • Line 16. Cut “and kisses.” It has been established that formal greetings involve some kind of kiss of peace but in the context it just comes across weird.

Page 436

  • Lines 15-16.  Put a period after “Costis was dancing with his younger sister” and cut up to the word “Teleus.”  Change Line 16 to read, “I saw Teleus, who’d propped himself against the crenelated wall.”
  • Lines 18-19.  Put a period after “The captain refused to dance” and then cut the rest of the sentence.

Pages 441-443 (Optional)

  • You may want to modify the exposition about the behavior of the gods and goddesses, but since Greek/imitation Greek deities are notoriously immoral it can probably be glossed over and ignored.

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