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September 28, 2013 / minusbar

Book Review: Thieves’ Quarry, by D.B. Jackson

Book Review: “Thieves’ Quarry” by D.B. Jackson

I jumped into Thieves’ Quarry, by D. B. Jackson, knowing that it was the second book in a series. Why would I do such a thing? I normally wouldn’t. However, I had been assured that it could be read as a stand-alone novel as well. My (extremely reliable) sources were correct. I enjoyed the book very much not knowing anything of the series. Jackson was able to find the happy medium between completely confusing a new reader and basically re-writing the previous book, which I appreciated.

Ethan Kaille isn’t the likeliest hero. A former sailor with a troubled past, Ethan is a thieftaker, using conjuring skills to hunt down those who steal from the good citizens of Boston. And while chasing down miscreants in 1768 makes his life a perilous one, the simmering political tensions between loyalists like himself and rabble-rousing revolutionaries like Samuel Adams and others of his ilk are perhaps even more dangerous to his health.

When one hundred sailors of King George III’s Royal Navy are mysteriously killed on a ship in Boston Harbor, Ethan is thrust into dire peril. For he—and not Boston’s premier thieftaker, Sephira Pryce—is asked to find the truth behind their deaths. City Sheriff Edmund Greenleaf suspects conjuring was used in the dastardly crime, and even Pryce knows that Ethan is better equipped to contend with matters of what most of Boston considers dark arts. But even Ethan is daunted by magic powerful enough to fell so many in a single stroke. When he starts to investigate, he realizes that the mass murderer will stop at nothing to evade capture. And making his task more difficult is the British fleet’s occupation of the city after the colonials’ violent protests after the seizure of John Hancock’s ship. Kaille will need all his own magic, street smarts, and a bit of luck to keep this Boston massacre from giving the hotheads of Colonial Boston an excuse for inciting a riot—or worse.

As the story, I found it refreshing. It was a nice change from the medieval-esque setting that many fantasy books are set in. The backdrop of the revolution lent a certain urgency to the story. Jackson made the world believable, even with his addition of conjuring, and that combined with the fluidity of his writing made reading Thieve’s Quarry particularly fun to read.

The main character, Ethan Kaille, is a complex protagonist. There were hints of his “troubled past” thrown in here and there, but not enough to make him completely transparent as a character. Personally, I found it intriguing that his initial sympathies were with the invading British. His determination was particularly admirable, especially when he was faced with bad odds more often than not.

Jackson uses more latin in his book than I’ve seen in any other lately. The spells cast by the conjurers require Latin phrases to complete them, so they are pretty common. Jackson doesn’t make the mistake of leaving the reader to find their own translation though. I was appreciative that (especially during fight scenes) the meaning of the Latin spells was directly afterwards. It gave the reader a better understanding without taking anything away from the excitement.

All in all, Thieve’s Quarry was an enjoyable, fresh-faced read with interesting characters and a surprising plot twist (you don’t really think I’m going to give it away, did you?).

You can find it here!


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