Jamie Reviews: Stephen Deas—"The Thief-Taker's Apprentice"
Don’t judge a book by its cover; that’s a point I learnt long ago. Some covers are an exact representation of what is in the book, some are so clearly divorced it boggles the mind, and some are just following the trend of what gets books sold.
The first thing I thought when I picked up this book was “Oh, Two men in hoods on the cover, how original.” To be fair, this is due to a discussion I had with a few high-end editors about what kinds of images sell books.
Thankfully, in this case the cover does not reflect the content. The main story is a relatively classic one: a young thief picks the wrong purse and ends up working as an apprentice for, as is obvious, a thief-taker.
This book is pure fantasy, old school sword and sorcery style, without being ridiculously so. The characters are well thought out and the setting constructed with a high level of detail.
Berren, the main character, is single-minded in his desire to learn swordsmanship from his new Master, despite the intention Master Sy has of teaching him his letters first. He is faced with a host of new experiences, many of them unpleasant, and is given many a life lesson from the scarred characters that dot his city.
The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice holds, for me, reminders of what I used to love about the fantasy category, (a genre which I have to admit I had been avoiding for a long time): the richness of emotion, the colour and tone of the background, and, of course, the occasional fight scene. All of these this book has in scores.
There are scenes of an unpleasant nature, of course, as any true reflection of the genre will contain. There is foul language – suitably themed – and some very ironic passages of violent behaviour that kept me quite amused.
For me, this was a great reintroduction to the fantasy genre: a well-written tale that well deserves a read.
Just don’t judge it by the cover.
For further info, visit Stephen Deas’ website.
The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice — Stephen Deas
August 19, 2010 by Gollancz
Paperback, 320 Pages