Thief of War: A Tor.Com Original
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Thief of War: A Tor.Com Original (River of Souls 0)

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  39 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Arbija will do anything to stop the Erythandran Empire from conquering her homeland. She will take on a new name, a new past, even a new face, all so she can infiltrate the palace and steal the Empire's more powerful magical artifacts. With these weapons, surely she can defend her people and keep them safe and free. Can she succeed where her sister failed?

At the publisher'...more
ebook, 66 pages
Published September 18th 2013 by Tor Books
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This story is part of Ms. Bernobich's River of Souls setting, and is the first work of hers that I've read.

It's possible that Ms. Bernobich's present strengths express themselves best in novels. My impression of this novella (60-ish pages?) is that there are too many irons in the fire in relation to its length. Arbija's strong feelings of romantic love and friendship weren't given enough support to be convincing. I wasn't able to get a good bead on this world's magic aside from its smell (inter...more
This is the first that I have read from this author, even though I have had her on my to-read list for a while now. It really struck me how beautifully written this story was, and I would recommend it for both fans of hers and those that have never read something of Bernobich's. This story has gotten me really excited about reading more of her work, and I am about to go put her novels on the top of my to-read pile.
4.5 stars. I haven't read the series that this novella is a prequel to, but I might in the future. You don't get a large amount of background on the world this is set in, but you don't need it. I'm a sucker for fantasies set in an academic setting. I wish I could have studied magic in college! The main character is only pretending to be a student here, since she's really a spy trying to prevent the invasion of her homeland. Engrossing and too short.
Nerine Dorman
I absolutely adore Beth's writing, and this is a lovely tale of magic, intrigue and yes... love, which illustrates past events that will make sense to those who've read her novel Passion Play and the rest in the series. I don't want to go into too much detail because this will just spoil things, but themes treated here are about how one can be torn between familial obligations and one's true desires.
A lovely fantasy novella, of adventure, magic, learning, intrigue and coming of age. I read this one for free, but will look out for more from the author.
Louis Groff II
I'll be honest, Thief of War appealed to me largely because of its brevity after reading the three current Outcast Chronicles books by Rowena Cory Daniells back to back (check them out if you haven't!).

It's a story of a character named Arbija Ismaili, a young woman who can manipulate magic for a variety of uses, although primarily to disguise her identity as part of a grand espionage scheme to steal a set of magical jewels in order to prevent a war from invading her homeland. She assumes the id...more
Beth Bernobich's latest book, actually novella, in her River of Souls series is Thief of War. It serves to tell one of the back stories her readers have been begging for. This is the tale of how the the three fabled jewels of Lir were first stolen. But, as usual for Ms. Bernobich's work, it is so very much more. It is, primarily, the story of a woman, Arbija, who has vowed to do anything within her power, which is pretty formidable, to keep her lands from being conquered. Arbija undertakes years...more
3.5/5 stars. I liked this very much. I liked the tension between who the main character pretends to be and who she actually is. I liked that she fell so well into her role and enjoyed it so much, yet still embraced her mission, even if completing one would mean the ending of the other. I liked the world this was set in, the friends she had, and every vivid, well fleshed-out moment of it.
I rattled through this in a pleasurable hour or so. I've not read any of the other books to which this is apparently a prequel, but that did not hinder me at all. It is a thoroughly well constructed short story / novella, written with both intensity and a light touch: just enough description and a real focus on character.

My only reservation, and the only reason to hold back the fifth star, is a stylistic point. The grammatical structure changes when the main character falls into reflective moods...more
Short, but sweet. It is evocative and draws you into the story - something that is challenging for a short story like this. And it leaves you both satisfied and wanting to know more of the story.
Adam Siegfried
This was an impromptu purchace after browsing r/fantasy on reddit. The story can be read for free through
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Beth Bernobich is a writer, reader, mother, and geek. She loves to tell stories.
More about Beth Bernobich...
Passion Play (River of Souls Series, #1) Fox and Phoenix (Long City, #1) Queen's Hunt (River of Souls Series, #2) Pig, Crane, Fox (Lóng City, #0.5) Allegiance (River of Souls Series, #3)

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