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When Demons Walk (Sianim, #3)
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When Demons Walk (Sianim #3)

4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,579 Ratings  ·  183 Reviews
Don't try this at home
Sham had spent most of her young life as a sorceress and thief, stealing from Southwood's nobility to survive. Now she must face the greatest test of her skills...

A killer has struck Southwood, claiming the lives of nobles. Lord Kerim, Reeve of Southwood, turns to Sham for help. Posing as his mistress, she delves behind castle walls to find the killer
Mass Market Paperback, Reissue, 272 pages
Published by Ace (first published June 1st 1998)
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Badass Female Leads!
241st out of 689 books — 744 voters
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Strong Fantasy heroines who are NOT teenagers
250th out of 511 books — 319 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Beanbag Love
I can't say I was disappointed in this book, but I think it's much weaker than Briggs's later efforts.

The world is interesting (although this is the third in a trilogy, apparently, it's the only one I've read), but the story itself is uneven. Toward the end the explanation of the magic was complicated and, after reading one segment about three times I decided to trust it would all work out and moved on. That's not to say it's bad, perhaps just a bit technical and convoluted. It led to a very ex
Seth Kenlon
Dec 16, 2014 Seth Kenlon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Sham is a low-ranking mage, female but sometimes mistaken for a young male in part for her rogue-ish penchant for petty thievery. She returns to her master only to find that he has been slaughtered by who-knoweth-what. So it becomes Sham's job to find the killer, and this leads her to a wide variety of smaller tasks, resulting in a pretty good ending.

I quite liked this book. Could have been a little more graphic and I would not have minded, but as it is, it's suitable for any age. It's a good fa
Sep 22, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
read 7/5/1999

sometimes I pick up a book JUST because of who did the cover -- and this Luis Royo cover was no exception. I've now been enjoying Patricia Briggs since 1999

re-read 3/27/2015
Dec 10, 2009 Marsha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adults
One of the things I enjoy most about the writing style of Patricia Briggs is she takes average females and makes them heriones by their cunning, personality, empathy, self-discovery and shear determination. Briggs is a master at weaving an alternative reality and making you feel like you are there. Sham (Shamera)has entered a life of crime when her island was invaded and taken over by Cybellians. She formerly lived in the palace with her servant parents. However, they were killed and she now is ...more
Nov 26, 2008 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shamera is a wizard, she has been a thief for the last 12 years protecting and caring for her Master the Wizard Maur, who was blinded and tortured 12 yrs ago when the kingdom was overrun. Her father and mother were murdered then also. Now she is just Sham the thief.

Kerim is Reeve of Southwood. He rules from the palace where Sham used to live. One night while he rides through Purgatory he sees Sham and speaks to her at the docks. By the time she gets home it is to find Maur in a battle for life
Mar 10, 2012 Jacey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
This gives the impression of being a slight book (slighter than it actually is) from Patricia Briggs early work (1998). It's set in the Sianim universe though with no crossover characters from Steal the Dragon except for the Prophet of Altis (who's mentioned but doesn't appear on the page). It’s slight but it's absorbing, a crossover between fantasy, murder mystery and romance. Sham, sorceress and thief was exiled to Purgatory (the bad part of the bad part of town) when the hated Cybellians inva ...more
I love this book; it's not as polished as Brigg's later series (this is the third book in the verse though they all read as standalones) but it's light easy reading.

The story is Sham's. Sham is very self-assured and enjoys her dressing up and shocking people. I liked Kerim's enjoyment of her mischief, there's no great romance or sparks but more a warm playful appreciation of each other, I could see these two getting together amongst a lot of laughter. Their both strong independant people. It wou
Jul 25, 2015 Miki rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's a good thing I did not read When Demons Walk before I discovered Mercy Thompson. With due respect to Patricia Briggs, this is not her finest moment. If a Harlequin Romances had a Paranormal line, this book would be in it.

Consider: A spunky heroine, not classically beautiful but striking, meets a slightly older man in authority. She is a master of magic, he is steeped in reality. She goes undercover as his mistress, wears some stunning clothes, they have adventures together, she wears more
Dec 14, 2015 Katie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The 3rd book by Briggs set in this particular world, it's ok. I think I would have enjoyed this more if I hadn't read the 2nd book in the series. This book introduces a completely new set of characters, which would be ok, but it references large-scale events from the previous book...but doesn't really address what had happened from book 2 to book 3. Since book 2's plot pretty much revolved around this event (the gathering of information about an impending war & the identity of the enemy's ar ...more
May 12, 2013 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love you Paticia Briggs.


Everything in this book was awesome. In fact, it was so awesome that it was awesomer (not a real word, I know) than the other books in this series, which are also awesome. I tried to find a picture of what I imagine Sham looks like, but I couldn't find anything that would work, so have some happy minions instead.

Oct 23, 2010 Estara rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010, re-read
Still on my comfort rereading trip this book holds up extremely well on a second reread. You have the mystery, lots of great characters, lovely descriptions of sexy wardrobe ^^, a nicely understated romance and a villain who is so alien that you can eventually feel sorry for it. Not to mention that at least the setting of Purgatory and the Shadow Tides come alive.

We get two more memorable women in this one, other than the heroine, which is better than usual for P. Briggs. Also this is very much
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa Denn
Patrica Briggs' When Demons Walk was good but it lacked the 1,2,3 punch I experienced after reading Masques and Steal the Dragon.

When Demons Walk follows the adventures and missteps of the story's main characters Sham, a mage and thief, and Lord Kerim, the Reeve of Southwood. Hired by Kerim to pose as his mistress, Sham uses her knowledge of magic and skills as a thief to slip in and out of rooms in the Castle as well as the homes of Southwood's upper class to find information about the elusive
Jan 08, 2015 Elena rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, adult, reviewed
This was better than I remembered. A fun, uncomplicated sword and sorcery tale. The denouement felt a little abrupt, especially the romantic resolution, but other than that this was an enjoyable read.
May 23, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this book. I recommend that you read it. I've reread this book many times. Really, I'm not sure how to describe it without giving anything away, but I'll try. The main character goes undercover to hunt a demon to has begun to kill people in the castle. Normally, a thief from the bad section of town wouldn't be called in to do something like this, but Sham is a sorceress, and this demon has killed one of two friends she has left in the world. In her hunt for revenge, she learns tha ...more
Feb 16, 2014 Miranda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So far of Patricia Briggs AU medieval fantasy books that I've read, I'd say this was her weakest. The characters didn't seem to go through much development which is normal for a medieval fantasy because they grow throughout the series, but as far as I can tell these characters aren't getting another book. The previous books in this world, the characters actually seemed to face tough choices that helped them grow instead of just going through the plot as they seemed to in this one. Personally, I ...more
Jan 14, 2013 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a good read even though I got distracted. I love the world. I can't wait for more!
Amusing book. It took a while to get into the story, I stopped reading few times before I finally got into it. I do like Sham, I like her humor, and the brief interactions she had with the Reeve in the beginning were a solid base to their relationship.

But then the long drawn out boring mystery took over, and the only interesting parts were the ones when she pretended to be be his mistress. Nevertheless it was ok read. I'm am very very disappointed by the lack of romance only 2! 2 kisses, no mor
Paige Ellen Stone
I could not finish this book. It is a huge disappointment for this PB fan. It is boring and slow. The character of Sham could be a fascinating one, alas, she is, indeed, for the reader, a sham. It is a very rare event when I repeatedly TRY to read a book just cannot get through it. This book should be titled, "Waiting for Something to Happen." Except for a promising moment or two, there is nothing that holds this book together. I would refer potential reader's to Charles Stross' Afterword in his ...more
Nov 19, 2015 Magnolia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From Magnolia Reviews: Four Petals

I would recommend this book. It's a good read about magic and politics and how to be a good person even in the worst of situations. It is missing a strong connection to the series and the romance feels like an afterthought, but the excellent plot and characterizations make up for that. I have read the rest of the series and will be reviewing it soon.

Read the full review on Maggie's website:
Aug 11, 2013 Paula rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, favorites, fantasy
reread, still enjoyable
Sham is a mage, and thief who is being trained by another mage, her mentor. She uses her magic to help her steal from the rich so she can survive. Sham wants nothing to do with the upper-class until her mentor is murdered. He is murdered in the same way that several rich people in the castle have been killed so when the ruler, Kerim, comes asking her for help to find the killer she agrees. She learns to adjust quickly and quickly fits in even though she sometimes doesn’t feel like she belongs am ...more
Oct 27, 2014 Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Shamera, the daughter of a minor noble, is forced to turn thief when her homeland is invaded and occupied by the Eastern Empire. After years of life on spent in theft and sabotage, her master is killed by supernatural means. To track down the demonic killer that is murdering the natives and the occupants alike, Shamera reluctantly joins forces with the Eastern governor.--Internet Speculative Fiction db (viewed March 31, 2011,

A fun fantasy novel about a mage born thief who poses as a flippant mistress to a lord in order to find a disguised demon hidden at court. It is a stand-alone novel in a book series set in the world of Sianim [Masques, Wolsfbane, Steal The Dragon].

When Demons Walk is considered a stand-alone novel however it utilizes an established magic system that may be overwhelming to new readers unfamiliar to the series. For a more rounded and enjoyable experience I would recommend this book be read last
Aug 04, 2011 Anita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. It's another early work by Patricia Briggs, and you can see that the editing isn't perfect, but the characters are interesting and the story is compelling. I was engaged for the entire book. It's the 3rd in the Sianim series, and again it is a stand alone novel set on the same continent as the first 2, but in this case 12 years later in a country that is new to the reader. You get to see that there might be hope for the followers of Altis and magic users co-existing side by ...more
Kathy Davie
Jan 18, 2016 Kathy Davie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: homey, fantasy
Third in the Sianim fantasy series of very loosely connected stories.

My Take
Wow. Patricia Briggs has done it again. This story has all the homeyness and personality I have found in her other series. I've fallen in love with Sham and Kerim and am desperately hoping that Briggs will consider another installment.

The only connection any of the books have is the countries involved and the ae'Magi although the Voice of Altis does get a mention in When Demons Walks.

When Demons Walk, does not answer any
L'empreinte du démon est le quatrième tome de la saga Sianim, que j'aime de plus en plus à chaque tome. Vous pouvez retrouvez mes chroniques sur les deux premiers tomes : Masques et L'épreuve du loup. Et celle sur le troisième : Le voleur de dragon. Ce quatrième tome n'a pas échappé à mon amour inconditionnel des romans de Patricia Briggs, et à vrai dire, je suis fière de pouvoir avouer qu'elle est la seule à me faire aimer la pure fantasy. Au dos de ce tome, on trouve un commentaire du qui dit ...more
Jun 26, 2008 Paxnirvana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Briggs fans
I'm very very glad I found Patricia Briggs later in her career -- which means I read this one of hers 5th or 6th.

This is obviously an early work. The core of creativity and future focus on great characters is there, but not yet polished. This book is rough and rambling and has a bit of an identity crisis on what kind of story it wants to be: a gee-whiz magical wonder tale, a revenge tale, a clash of (too hastily devised) cultures, a mild romance. I very much wanted to like it, but in the end, I
Dec 03, 2007 Brownbetty rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bored people
Pretty much as expected, a decent read if one doesn't expect too much. The cheesy cover art was redeemed, however, by the main character's delight in the ridiculousness of the costumes she wears. That said, it resembled a vampire novel in the detail given to costume changes, which, while a plot point, were not as interesting to me as they evidently were to the author.


Briggs has never been good at romances, in my opinion. Generally, in her books, two opposite gender characters develop a dec
Jun 10, 2013 Vickie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I do enjoy authors who write several different series and each one is unique. Patricia Briggs is one of those authors.
Sham lives in a world where magic exists, but not everyone believes in it. Sham does since she is both a thief and a sorceress. Her land was taken from her people and she is doing what she can to take it back where she can from the nobility.
A killer is running amok and killing the nobility. There seems to be a pattern, but she can't quite see it.
The Reeve of the land asks her
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 25, 2015 09:18AM  
Alternate ending please 3 35 Jul 11, 2011 03:59PM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Patricia Briggs was born in Butte, Montana to a children’s librarian who passed on to her kids a love of reading and books. Patricia grew up reading fairy tales and books about horses, and later developed an interest in folklore and history. When she decided to write a book of her own, a fantasy book seemed a na
More about Patricia Briggs...

Other Books in the Series

Sianim (4 books)
  • Masques (Sianim, #1 / Aralorn, #1)
  • Steal the Dragon (Sianim, #2)
  • Wolfsbane (Sianim, #4 / Aralorn, #2)

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