D.B. Jackson

Books: Fantasy | Mystery

The Thieftaker Chronicles: Thieftaker (2012)

Short Stories: A Spell of Vengeance (2012)

The Thieftaker Chronicles

Thieftaker (2012)

ThieftakerEthan Kaille is a thieftaker and a conjurer living in Boston in 1765. Around him, discontent with Britain and taxes swirl, but Ethan, having already paid the price years earlier for mutiny, wants nothing to do with the Sons of Liberty. However, a girl–young woman–is killed during a riot, and the girl's father asks him to return the brooch stolen from her body. Not only does the other thieftaker in Boston, Sephira Pryce, not want him involved, but the death seems to have occurred through conjuring–a magick that is far stronger than anything Ethan could achieve.

So here we have an historical crime fantasy–all my favorite ingredients in a single book.

Is this a perfect book? No. Is it a good and interesting book? Definitely.

I enjoyed the historical bits very much, especially since Ethan doesn't have much interest in the Sons of Liberty movement, and sees their attacks by mobs led by Ebenezer Mackintosh on the lieutenant governor Hutchinson's house as beyond the pale. I also enjoyed the fact that I've actually been in Boston now, and could somewhat picture the areas where events were taking place (only somewhat, as Boston today is very different from Boston more than two centuries ago).

The author makes it clear that there he lifted the idea of thieftakers from London and moved them to Boston, where they didn't actually exist at that time, but that's the advantage of fantasy–you can weave in bits that never happened with bits that did and enjoy the end result.

Of course, the mystery is also quite interesting, and Ethan is a fascinating character. I'm not quite sure the secondary characters, aside from Sephira, were as well-developed, but if this is going to be a series, there is plenty of time for that. Because I'd quite like to know what Mister Pell decides to do with himself.

Published by Tor

Rating: 7/10

Short Stories

A Spell of Vengeance (2012)

Set in Boston in 1762.Spell_Vengeance

I'm not quite sure how I missed this story when it first came out, especially considering that I read the first Ethan Kaille book last year.

But I'm not sorry I didn't read this first, because it might have made me reluctant to read the first book, which I did enjoy.

Ethan Kaille is a thieftaker in Boston, just prior to the Revolutionary War. Earlier, he had been convicted as a mutineer and that, combined with the fact he is a spell-caster, makes him a figure of suspicion.

So he is greatly surprised when the sheriff, who has threatened him on previous occasions, brings him two men who have been threatened by magic.

What bothered me about the story was the fact that the sheriff is antagonistic to Ethan, so I don't understand why he didn't go after Ethan at the end of the story.

But aside from that, it was an interesting short story.

Published by Tor Books

Rating: 6/10