The Thief

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Nothing is overdone and not a word is out of place in this auspicious debut," wrote Kirkus in a starred review of Instead of Three Wishes, the first book by Megan Whalen Turner. Her second book more than fulfills that promise.

The king's scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king's prison. The magus is interested only in the theif's abilities. What Gen is interested in is anyone's guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.

Megan Whalen Turner weaves Gen's stories and Gen's story together with style and verve in a novel that is filled with intrigue, adventure, and surprise.

Curriculet Details
84 Questions
99 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in 6th grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining characterization, point of view and moments to take note. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about mood and tone and verbal irony. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of characterization, figurative language, and structure. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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Chapter One

Below is a video that talks about point of view in literature. Watch the video, and try to determine in what point of view this story is told.  (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following pieces of information has the author NOT provided the reader?  
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up? 
When the author explains events that took place before the action of the story, it is called a flashback. When the narrator discusses the history of the prison, it is considered a flashback. Often, flashbacks provide information that is important to the story; therefore, pay attention as you read to see if any of this information becomes useful in the future.  
Use the define feature to answer the following question. Which definition is best used to define lithe as it used in this sentence?  
The point of view of this story makes this scene somewhat suspenseful. Since the reader only knows as much as the narrator, and the narrator is unaware of where he is being taken, we are just as unaware. This limited access to multiple perspectives makes it so the reader experiences events along with the narrator.  
The author compares Gen's blood to wine. What type of figurative language is used here?  
Gen does not believe the magus's words here. You can infer this based on Gen's thought, "First...I will see gods walking the earth." Since it is unlikely that Gen will see gods walking the earth, you can infer that he feels it is very unlikely that the magus and he will have a mutual respect for one another.  
What does Gen's thought, "Another half an hour," make you think? Explain.  
In this first chapter, not only has the magus made comments about Gen being able to escape, but also one of the guards. When you notice a word, phrase, or situation mentioned over and over, you should stop and ask yourself, "Why does this keep happening?" 
Amphoras are two-handled Greek vases that were often used to transport wine or oil. You can see several examples in the photo below. They can also be much more ornate.  (This annotation contains an image)
What are Gen's options?  
There are two different ways to develop characters in literature. Direct characterization is when the author comes right out and tells you what a character is like. For example, "He was too short and too oil, and he was a shade too fat to be elegant." The author is telling us directly what the King looks like. Indirect characterization is when you must infer what the character is like based on his/her actions. For example, when the King pulls Gen up by his hair, you can infer that he is ruthless and does not have compassion for Gen. As you read, see if you can pick out other instances of direct and indirect characterization.  
From what point of view is this story told?  

Chapter Two

Flagstones are stones that are typically flat, and used to create walkways. Below you can see a photo where the walkway is made of flagstones.  (This annotation contains an image)
You can infer that the magus is not a patient or necessarily kind man by the way he gets frustrated with the man who didn't pack the item. What type of characterization is this?  
Sounis is a fictional city, but based on textual evidence, you can infer where these events take place. Based on the architecture of the megaron and the amphora urns, we can infer that this is taking place somewhere in the Mediterranean. Below is a map of the Mediterranean. You can see that it includes several European countries, but also northern African countries.  (This annotation contains an image)
When Gen describes his tunic as having, "started life a cheerful yellow," he is giving his tunic human qualities. What type of figurative language is this?  
Why might the thief be interested in a shop that only sells earrings? Explain.  
Apparently, Gen likes to publicly state that he will steal something before he does. This allows us to infer that he is extremely confident in his ability to steal and is an example of indirect characterization. 
Most literature follows a typical plot diagram, which can be seen below. During the exposition the characters and setting are introduced. The exposition typically ends when the problem or central conflict is introduced, and then the story continues to develop into the rising action. As you read, consider where in the plot diagram the story is. Plot diagrams can also be referred to as plot maps and story arcs. (This annotation contains an image)
The author uses descriptive language to gives the reader a vivid sense of what Gen is going through. This descriptive language is called imagery. Watch the video below for more information on imagery.  (This annotation contains a video)
Do you think that these boys will ultimately be useless? Why or why not?  
A sickle is a farming tool seen below. The shape of the sickle is crescent-shaped; therefore, the moon Gen is describing was most likely a crescent moon.  (This annotation contains an image)
The current scene that you are reading most likely takes place during which portion of the plot diagram?  
Gen has been a prisoner since the beginning of spring, and from what he deduced, it is now late summer. It is likely that he has been chained up, in prison, without bathing or changing his clothes for several months. Imagine how it must feel to take a bath and to change clothes. What a relief he must feel.  
What type of figurative language is used when the author writes "tsk-tsked"? 
Make sure to use the define features for words such as this. Stalwart means firmly built or courageous.  

Chapter Three

Which character do you think most likely is "sensitive to personal comforts" and provides the padded lock and blanket? Explain your reasoning.  
After being imprisoned for so long, one would think that it would be luxurious to bathe two days in a row. But the magus and Pol make sure that there is nothing pleasant about this experience.  
Which of the following is an antonym for contempt?  
By this point in the story, you can see that the author doesn't tell us exactly what Pol and the Elder Useless and Younger Useless are like, but we can get an idea of who they are based on how they act. Therefore, as you continue to read, make sure you pay close attention to their actions, and see if you can put together a clear picture of who they are in your mind.  
What does this tell you about the state of the government under the King?  
The description of feeling like a bug in the center of a tablecloth is to give you an image of how flat the land was around them when they had moved outside the city.  
Above you'll noticed that there is a larger break than usual in the spacing between lines. Why is this?  
When a character says one thing but means the opposite, it is called verbal irony. It is commonly referred to as sarcasm. Here, Gen mentions that the magus hadn't planned for his "outstanding skill with horses," when you have read that Gen is not great with horses. Watch the video below for more information on verbal irony, and see if you can pick out instances of it as you continue to read.  (This annotation contains a video)
What type of figurative language is this extreme exaggeration?  
Which of the following differences between Ambiades and Sophos is NOT true?  
You have just gotten a piece of interesting information. Although Sophos excels at retaining information, it seems as though he is instead going to become a duke, despite his lack of ability on a horse. However, Ambiades has the opposite talents. He can ride a horse, but lacks the ability to retain information. Does this make you think that Ambiades is training to be the magus?  
What does septic mean?  
Again, Gen uses verbal irony to convey that he is not very polite or tact. He is insulting soldiers while sitting at the table with Pol, who is a soldier. It will be interesting to see how Pol reacts to his statements.  
The fact that Pol is not just a normal foot soldier means that there is likely a specific reason that a dignified soldier is there. What do you think it is? Is it to protect the magus? Is Gen actually more valuable than they are letting on?  
Which of the following indicates that the story is still developing the exposition?  

Chapter Four

Compare and contrast Ambiades and Sophos's personalities. Use evidence from the text to support your answer.  
Ambiades is condescending towards Sophos, which is interesting because he is supposed to become a duke. If you knew that someone was almost royalty, would you treat them more kindly than if he/she wasn't?  
When Gen says to Ambiades, "O source of all knowledge," what is this an example of? 
Below you can see a picture of a field of barley. It will give you a better idea of what Gen is describing.  (This annotation contains an image)
Gen doesn't know where he is or where he is going. How does the point of view affect the reader's experience in gaining information?  
On this new portion of the journey, the men no longer have the horses and will be traveling by foot.  
Use context clues or the define feature to choose the most appropriate synonym for rankled.  
The information that Ambiades and Sophos provide might be important to understanding what will happen next in the story. Make sure to have a clear understanding of the history before continuing to read.  
A gorge is a deep ravine between two hills, mountains, or cliffs. It is often caused by the erosion of water, such as a river. You can see an image of a gorge below for a better understanding.  (This annotation contains an image)
In your own words, briefly explain the history between Sounis, Attolia, and Eddis.  
Often when teachers answer questions with more questions, they are trying to get you to discover the answer on your own. The magus is probably leading Ambiades to figure out for himself why they are in Eddis.  
The magus is likely going to explain the reason for their trip, and quite possibly the specific reason he brought Gen.  
After reading about this story, what is most likely Gen's purpose on this journey? 
A stele is a stone or wooden slab, that images or words are carved into. You can see one below.  (This annotation contains an image)
Explain why it's a bit ironic (unexpected) that the King has revealed to the queen of Eddis that he will steal Hamiathes's Gift.  
Taking what we know about the King's behavior and characterization, it seems as though Gen is right. The King most likely wants to attack the country on the other side of Eddis, and he needs to control Eddis to do it.  
Now that you know more details about what the magus wants Gen to steal, which portion of the plot diagram is currently taking place?  
Sopho's father doesn't want him spending much time on academics. He probably wants him to spend time on stereotypical "manly" attributes.  
Section 1 Quiz 

Chapter Five

The structure of this chapter is different in that it has a title. This title indicates that there will be some information revealed about the old gods. Is this a story the magus is telling? Or is this a story for the reader to know, but the characters don't? Keep reading to find out.  
What is the purpose of the magus telling this story?  
When the word "learned" is used as an adjective, as it is here describing Gen, the pronunciation is different from when it is used as a verb, such as, "We learned about the creation of the gods in the magus's story." Below you can hear both pronunciations of the word, with the second being how it's pronounced as an adjective.  (This annotation contains a video)
The magus is telling Gen not to be offended, but what he is saying is very offensive and hurtful. How would you react if someone was condescendingly telling you that your mother was uneducated?  
Use the define feature to answer the following question. Which of the definitions provided is the correct definition for the word balked as it is used in this sentence?  
A flysch is a grouping of sedimentary rocks seen below.  (This annotation contains an image)
Again, the author provides you with indirect characterization. You know that Sophos loves to learn just as much as the magus based on his excited reaction to the temples. You can also see that Ambiades is disinterested.  
Why might Ambiades find this information useful? Explain.  
Earlier in the story, the question of why such a prominent soldier was on the journey with them arose. After this conversation, you have your answer.  
As characters are developed, you can classify them into groups based on how well they are developed, and whether or not they go through a change in the story. Round characters are well-developed and flat characters are not. Also, dynamic characters go through a change, whereas static characters stay the same. Which of the following categories would you place Gen at this point in the novel?  
Have you ever seen this type of relationship? Somebody younger is enamored with someone a bit older, even though they're not necessarily the nicest? It is similar to a older brother and younger brother relationship. Maybe Sophos feels that Ambiades is like a brother to him.  
Why might it be important for the reader to pay attention to this story?  
You can see a difference in the way that Gen tells the story of the old gods. He adds a bit of humor, and it doesn't seem as serious as when the magus told his story.  
Why is the Earth giving Eugenides gifts throughout his life? 
Watch the video below on the difference between tone and mood. As you watch the video, think about Gen's tone while telling the story, and what mood it creates in the reader.  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter Six

Which of the following words best describes someone whose moods change back and forth?  
Do you find it interesting that Gen takes note that Pol doesn't throw away his bread because he had probably eaten worse things as a soldier? What about Gen in prison? How was the food there?  
Use the define feature to answer the following question. Which of the definitions is most appropriate for the word sparred as it is used in this sentence? 
Is Gen foreshadowing here? Is it possible that they will get into a fight, and Sophos and Ambiades will have to help defend themselves with their swords?  
The magus is warning Sophos and Ambiades to make sure they don't give themselves away as upper class members of Sounis. What does this possibly mean?  
If the point of view of this story was third person omniscient, how would this scene be different?  
You can infer from the text that Ambiades is thinking about the danger involved with their mission. Gen mentioned that Ambiades was quiet and uneasy after the magus revealed the consequences of being caught.  
It's interesting to note that here the fact that Sophos is a nice person is considered a fault. Normally, when someone is kind and considerate, it is thought to be a positive trait; however, it seems to be the opposite here.  
What inferences can you make knowing this new information about Ambiades? Explain your reasoning.  
You know that Eugenides is the god of thieves; therefore, it is likely that Earth has sent for Eugenides to steal the Sky's thunderbolts. 
Which of the following sentences from the story seems to be the most important?  

Chapter Seven

A horse crop is a type of whip used in horse riding and hunting. You can see an image of one below.  (This annotation contains an image)
To sidle is to move to the side. So Gen wants to keep his horse from walking away sideways.  
What flaw might Gen be admitting to here?  
Gen has already stated that he doesn't like the idea that he is some tool to be used. How do you think it feels for even Sophos to be treating him as less than human? Do you think Gen's anger will continue?  
What is the mood of the scene while Ambiades ties up Gen?  
Gen needs his hands in order to be a proper thief. Is Ambiades putting the mission at risk by tying Gen's hands too tightly?  
Do you consider this to be internal conflict or external conflict? Explain why.  
It seems that the journey into the city has allowed the reader to get to know the characters fairly well. How do you think the story will evolve once everyone reaches the city? Will the story become more adventurous? Will the author continue to develop the characters?  
When a character uncovers information such as this, as a reader you should pay attention. Why do you think Sophos is really important to his father? Is there more to Sophos than the fact that he is going to be a duke?  
In your own words, explain what Gen is thinking here.  
The purpose of this dialogue is to expose information. What information have you learned? Will this come into play later in the story?  
What is likely the, "boiling rock that had poured out of the Sacred Mountain..."? 
When an event continues to happen over and over, such as Sophos and Ambiades practicing fencing, you should take notice. Ask yourself, "Why does this keep happening?" Will Sophos eventually come out on top? Will Ambiades hurt Sophos?  
Which of the following is likely to happen now?  
Take note that Ambiades calls Gen an "it." He dehumanizes him.  
What type of figurative language is used in the highlighted sentences?  
Striations are lines in the rock that are created by the different layers. You can see an image of striations below. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter Eight

Below you will see an example of a peplos.  (This annotation contains an image)
Do you think Gen's dream has meaning? Take note of it, and as you read, see if it could be considered foreshadowing.  
What tragic flaw does Lyopidus posses?  
Have you ever done something you knew was wrong because you wanted someone to like you? That is what happens to Eugenides. He wants his brother to like him after all this time, so he decides to do something he knows he shouldn't.  
Make a connection between the story of Eugenides stealing the thunderbolts and this story of him using the thunderbolts.  
Remember, Gen and the magus have different versions of the story because of their differing status in society.  
In the video below, you will see a dam that has two sluices closed and three open. You'll see that the water flows through when they are open. Gen is saying that the sluices were closed, and the water has stopped flowing through the dam. (This annotation contains a video)
What does the magus mean when he says this?  
This piece of information is really interesting! If Gen fails, not only is he lost forever, but everyone else is as well. Gen doesn't just have his own life on the line, but he has the lives of the others, too.  
Which of the following is something the woman in white says to Gen in his dream?  
This paragraph reveals that Gen has been stealing throughout the entire trip. Everything that is in his pockets is something that he looted from someone else.  
Describe the flow of events. What is driving the action forward?  
Obsidian is a very smooth, glassy, black stone. You can see an image of it below.  (This annotation contains an image)
The author takes a decent amount of time to describe the obsidian. Do you think that this stone has something to do with how Gen will possibly make it through? Keep reading to find out.  
What does Gen decide to do when he realizes the flow of the river is beginning again?   
Section 2 Quiz 

Chapter Nine

The way the word "ghoul" is used here is different from how you've probably seen it. You've most likely seen it used as "witches and ghouls." That's when it means a mythological creature that feeds on corpses. Gen doesn't think the magus feeds on corpses. Here, Gen uses it to refer to the magus as someone who is preoccupied with death and corpses. If you use the define feature, it is the second definition.  
Gen shows a keen awareness for the situation inside. This provides evidence that 
Below is a video that shows how locks work. Keep in mind, the locks that Gen opens might be less complicated since this takes place in the past.  (This annotation contains a video)
What is Gen likely going to do with the piece of paper?  
Gen is having a difficult time figuring out where the gift is hidden. Is there anything that allows you to figure it out before Gen? Have you been given any clues that will help you think of a solution?  
What does the woman in white foreshadow?  
The magus and Gen are joking at this point. They are poking fun at the fact that they have very little options as to what to eat.  
Do you think that there is someone or something in the maze with Gen? Explain your reasoning.  
Again, the author mentions the obsidian and the Hephestial glass. Do you think these have something to do with where the gift is hidden?  
Gen has just found the secret passage in the maze. What portion of the plot diagram is the reader most likely in at this point?  
When you think about an oil lamp, you're probably picturing a modern day oil lamp. From Gen's description, it probably looks something like the oil lamp below but made of brass.  (This annotation contains an image)
This internal conflict is the pivotal moment for Gen. Morally, he feels that he cannot take something from the Great Goddess, but selfishly, he also feels he can't leave without the Gift. What will he do?  
What is the mood of this third trip into the maze? List at least three words that support your choice.  

Chapter Ten

Do you think that Gen will tell the magus and others about finding Hamiathes's Gift? Or will Gen keep it to himself? 
Gen has not obtained the Gift that they have been searching for the entire time. In what portion of the plot diagram are you now reading?  
What does it say about Ambiades that he thought they were all dead? Would he have died too if Gen didn't make it out? Would the gods have recognized him as a part of their crew?  
Which of the follow is most likely true if they take a more direct route home?  
This is entirely unexpected! Are all of the men dead? Did any of them get away?  
Below is an image of a coleus leaf.  (This annotation contains an image)
Where have you heard of the coleus leaf before in this novel?  
Gen's frustration is easy to understand. The magus knew the description of the stone even before Gen retrieved it. Now the magus is saying that they'll just make a copy based on what they saw and all will be fine. If that would have worked, there was no need for Gen to be involved in the first place.  
The conflict between the magus and Gen is caused by what?  
The author spends a fair amount of time making the point that Ambiades doesn't agree with what the magus is saying. Will this come into play in the last few chapters of the book? Is Ambiades going to be right? Keep reading to find out.  
There are only two chapters remaining in the book. Do you have any ideas as to how this is going to end? Are you trying to piece together any bits of information? Explain what you are thinking below.  
Gen anticipated the horses making a lot of noise when taking them out. But to his surprise, the horses made no noise. He thinks that this is possibly because the gods he encountered in the temple are still looking out for him.  
What does Gen mean when he says this?  
After all this time, Gen is going to part ways with the group. Is this a good decision or a bad one?  
What is the importance of the fact that these are soldiers from the Queen's Guard?  

Chapter Eleven

This new chapter begins in a different location. Based on the information given in the first paragraph, you can infer that Gen was captured and imprisoned.  
What information previously in the story should have foreshadowed that Ambiades had done something like this?  
What does Gen mean when he thinks this? Did his father teach him more than the magus believes? Was Gen able to do more than originally thought when it comes to fighting?  
The characters throughout this story have shown different values among them, often contrasting what you would expect from that type of character. For example, Sophos, a soon-to-be-Duke, is kind and caring despite his ranking. Gen, is also thoughtful, despite the fact that he is a thief. Which of the following clichés help summarize the theme that is most aligned with this thought?  
Ambiades's morality is lost in the end. He is much too focused on himself to care about others.  
Why do you think the author chose not to reveal the fact that Gen is a skilled soldier until now?  
Gen feels that what he saw is so sacred, that he cannot reveal it.  
From the description of the Queen of Attolia, provide at least one example of direct characterization and one of indirect characterization, and explain which one is which. 
The description of the Queen's robe matches her personality. She is beautiful and soft on the outside, but when you get closer, she can be rough, just like the embroidery.  
What type of figurative language is used to describe the silence?  
Gen's relationship with and attitude towards the magus has changed. What type of character do you consider Gen at this point in the story?  
The lanterns are most likely out because Gen wanted them to be out so they were sneaking out in the darkness.  
As you're reading, keep in mind that Gen was almost killed, and it was a miracle that he survived. Also, he has been in a jail cell for several day.  
What type of figurative language is used here?  
If you remember, in one of the stories that the magus or Gen told, one of the gods had the river run the opposite way to catch the Eugenides who stole the lightning bolts.  
At this point in the story, what is driving the plot forward? Explain your reasoning.  
The story all began with the goal of the magus, to obtain the Gift. If this was just a means to the marriage of Sounis and Eddis in order to produce an heir, is this the ultimate goal of the novel? Will the resolution fulfill the magus's desire?  
The fact that the magus has changed his opinion of Gen shows that he has gone through a change. What type of character do you categorize the magus as based on this information? 
When an author makes a reference to another piece of literature or art, it is called an allusion. Here, the author makes a reference to Aesop's fable of the tortoise and the hare. You can read the story below.  (This annotation contains a link)
You can see Archimedes's principle explained in the video below.  (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following descriptions explains how the relationship between Gen and the magus has changed?  
What is it called when someone says the opposite of what they mean?  
The journey the magus, Sophos, and Gen take after they escaped from the jail seems much more suspenseful and dangerous than while they were on their journey to obtain the Gift. How does the author do this? What is causing this suspense?  

Chapter Twelve

Which of the following is a synonym for succinctly?  
A griffon is a mythological creature that has the body, tail, and back legs of a lion, and the head and front claws of an eagle. You can see an image of one below.  (This annotation contains an image)
The Queen's greeting to Eugenides implies what?  
Gen's dreams were often visited by gods while he was on his journey. The fact that he no longer sees the gods in his dream may indicate that his journey has ended, and he is where he needs to be.  
Why do you think Gen feels it is necessary for others to know how good he is at his job?  
Gen is most likely referencing his conversation with Sophos about where he'd like to be most in the world. The books indicate that he is in that location.  
Knowing how the story is ending, explain why the author chose to tell the story from the first person point of view.  
Often in stories characters will have a "tragic flaw" which leads to their demise or undoing. Here, Ambiades's flaw is his ambition and his desire for money and power.  
Which of the following is an antonym for opulent?  
There are plenty of secrets and bits of information being revealed in this last chapter. Here, you find out that Sophos is actually next in line to be king.  
When Gen says that he had experienced the powers of Hamiathes's Gift, what does he mean?  
When the word sovereign is used as a noun, like it is done here, it means one who has power. Gen is using the word to reference the Queen. Below is a video that shows how to pronounce the word.  (This annotation contains a video)
Who is Archimedes?  
Section 3 Quiz