Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Crown Thief

by David Tallerman


One of the things I love about Easie Damasco is that he's not a fighter. The skinny thief has to rely on his wits to get him out of dangerous situations, which brings me to another thing I love about this character: his pin-sharp wit. It's too bad for him that he tends to use it to goad people rather than to avoid trouble.

Having fought to return Saltlick the giant to his homeland, Easie hopes to retrace his route and enjoy the peace he's worked for. However Saltlick is coming back with him in order to repatriate those of his fellow giants who were forced to fight in Moaradrid's army. But things aren't right in the rest of the Castoval. Criminals have taken control of the town of Altapasaeda and are imposing mob rule. Easie needs all of his skills to sneak in and find out what is going on, and who is behind the disruption. Unfortunately he leaves the town with an assassin on his trail, and it's one who has never been known to let his quarry get away.

Easie is travelling with the former mayor Estrada, and Guard Captain Alvantes. Alvantes holds the thief in disdain, and their dislike is mutual. But circumstances force them to travel together as Alvantes journeys to give the king the bad news about his failures. The further they travel, the more their sense of unease grows about what has become of the country. The party diminishes in size as people and giants break off to take care of their own affairs, but neither Damasco nor Alvantes can let people go without feeling guilty or anxious about them.

Easie is troubled by his conscience. Mostly he's troubled by the discovery he has one at all, but he's gradually changing. His antagonistic relationships with just about everyone else mellow as he develops something approaching a heart, and there's a lot of humour in how reluctant he is to undergo this transformation. His recklessness and cheek remain intact, though, so the story is a thrill ride of daring escapes, sneaking around in tight spots, and seat-of-the-pants improvisations. I particularly liked the vivid descriptions as seen through Easie's eyes, such as when he is crawling through a vile sewer.

The story is big on dramatic irony, because Damasco thinks he knows the score but he often misses the things the other characters are aware of. Yet double-dealing and changes of allegiance are frequent in his world, so there's a lot of intrigue and excitement for readers to get stuck into. The novel ends on a cliffhanger, which left me itching to read more in the sequel, Prince Thief. Damasco is the kind of vivacious, irreverent character who will steal your affections, and any book with him in it is too short.

23rd December 2012

Book Details

Year: 2012

Categories: Books

    Male Protagonist  

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