My review of Thieftaker, book one in The Thieftaker Chronicles, is here.
D.B. Jackson returns to Colonial Boston and conjuring thieftaker Ethan Kaille in this sequel to Thieftaker (book two of a current four in The Thieftaker Chronicles). In Thieves’ Quarry, D.B. Jackson continues to do well what he did well before. Kaille is a strong lead. Minor characters are painted remarkably well in a scant few brush strokes. The magic system is thoughtful and well tailored to the kind of story Jackson wants to tell. The history, as always, is solid. The political situation is threaded skillfully through the narrative.
The change is in the previous weaknesses of the series. Urban Fantasy (and its historical trappings aside, Thieves’ Quarry is certainly Urban Fantasy) seems to favor more ordinary characters—little fish in a big pond—as opposed to the powerful warriors and wizards dominating the epic fantasy landscape. This has its attractions, particularly as a change of pace, but it brings with it a danger. If you protagonist is weak, and his enemies are strong, then he exists at their sufferance and the dreaded deus ex machina begins to cast its shadow. This was my big problem with Thieftaker. In Thieves’ Quarry, however, Kaille finally begins to seize control of events. He shows (real) strength to his nemesis Sephira Pryce and begins to doubt his Loyalist sympathies. He’s righteously defiant in a tight spot where before he only tossed impotent threats.
My biggest complaint about the next books in The Thieftaker Chronicles, A Plunder of Souls, is that it takes a break from the politics. Much of what attracted me to and keeps me interested in this series is the setting. Soldiers have arrived in Boston, and Kaille finds himself thrust into the political maelstrom when he is tasked with investigating the murder of a hundred sailors in the Royal Navy. In process we see Kaille begin to become radicalized and sympathize with the proto-revolutionaries, and it shows that Jackson made a wise choice in making Kaille a Tory-sympathizer, allowing him to show how the character reacts to the events of the time and drive a long-term character arc. I’m still reading Dead Man’s Reach, but Thieves’ Quarry is my favorite of the first three books in The Thieftaker Chronicles.
My review of A Plunder of Souls, book three in The Thieftaker Chronicles, is here.
My review of Dead Man’s Reach, book four in The Thieftaker Chronicles, is here.