If you have any interest in reading this book, DO NOT READ THE GOODREADS SUMMARY. Read Tatiana's review instead. It's not that the summary is so spoiler-heavy, but it tells you more than you need to know. Some people may prefer that -- I suspect these are the same people who go on guided tours and stick to detailed itineraries when they explore new places. Not that there's anything wrong with that.* But I think you tend to miss the forest for the trees when you're too focused on finding the next turn, and what a forest Megan Whalen Turner creates. Okay, it's not a forest so much as a Sea of Olives, but you get the idea.One of the reasons I loved this book was why I love books like Mockingjay and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: the politics of war. I love seeing how decisions made up high affect the battle on the ground and vice versa. I also love seeing how an ice cold queen, or a Tom Riddle comes to be the way they are. (Not that the Queen of Attolia and Lord Voldemort are anything alike.) My complaint about The Thief was the lack of action, particularly in the beginning. Whalen Turner more than makes up for that with this book. From the first page, things -- major things -- are happening. You don't even see an olive tree reference til, like, the SEVENTH page. And after that, the next reference doesn't come up for another hundred pages or so. Seriously though, how often do you see two powerful female heads of state battling it out? I wish HBO would buy the rights to this multi-layered, fascinating, incest-free story. *There is something wrong with that.