Cornerofmadness's Reviews > Thieftaker

Thieftaker by D.B. Jackson
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Jan 19, 13

bookshelves: historical, urban-fantasy
Read in January, 2013

** spoiler alert ** Thieftaker started out a little slowly and I thought this wasn’t going to be for me but the idea was interesting so I stayed with it. I’m glad I did. Once you get a chapter or two in, it takes off. Ethan Kaille is a thieftaker, which appears to be someone who is hired by families to help find things that were stolen from them (while the sheriff and his men are freed up to do other things). Ethan is also a disgraced Navy man who spent time in prison. Even more importantly it’s the mid-1700’s right before the revolution and Ethan is a conjurer. The idea of witchcraft in this alternative history is a bit convoluted. It can still get you hanged. Some people seem to believe it doesn’t exist. Others know it does but look the other way and so long as the conjurer isn’t too flashy they’re not likely to die. They also require a medium to help their spells. One of the most powerful (and the one Ethan uses most) is blood. Magic runs in family lines.

Ethan is more than a little down on his luck, hanging out at the Dowser with his not quite upstanding friend, Diver and Ethan’s lover, Kannice. The tavern is hers. As a former prisoner, work isn’t often tossed Ethan’s way. Worse, Sephira Pryce is Boston’s main thieftaker and she brooks no competition. She will beat/kill Ethan if he steps on her toes but she’s content to let him have the little jobs.

However, Ethan is asked to find a brooch taken from a dead young lady from a very wealthy family, because she was killed by a conjurer and Sephira knows nothing of magic. That doesn’t mean she’s happy about this and the running subplot is Ethan trying to stay out of her way before she and her men take him out. There is more at stake than a brooch as Ethan finds out and he is swept up into the revolutionary happenings going on in Boston at the time. Noted historical figures like Samuel Adams make an appearance. (There are several others but since I drink his beer, that’s the one I remember, poor Samuel, that’s all anyone knows of him now).

This is one of the more inventive books I’ve read in a while. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next one in the series. This is a bit of a spoiler but it’s also fair warning. At one point Ethan has to choose between the life of a person and the life of a pet. He loves both but only one can live. That said, it’s handled very well with real mental consequences down the road. It’s not done out of hand and forgotten.
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