Den of Thieves
Den of Thieves is the first installment of an high epic fantasy trilogy called The Ancient Blades. David Chandler has previously written several horror books under the pseudonym of David Wellington but Den of Thieves is his first fantasy novel.
“Born and raised in the squalid depths of the Free City of Ness, Malden becomes a thief by necessity. Now he must pay a fortune to join the criminal operation of Cutbill, lord of the underworld- and one does not refuse the master … and live.
The coronet of the Burgrave would fulfill Malden’s obligations though it is guarded by hungry demons that would tear the soul from any interloper. Bur the desperate endeavour leads to a more terrible destiny, as Malden, an outlaw knight, and an ensorcelled lady must face the most terrifying evil in the land.”
Well that is the blurb. The description immediately caught my attention, I’m a sucker for thief and assassin books – maybe it’s the sneakiness or slickness of the lead characters, and from the very first page of Den of Thieves I was hooked.
In Den of Thieves there are quite a few characters but the main character is Malden, a thief, who wants to be free and tries to join a thieving guild. In order to be allowed he must pay a fee to the guildmaster Cutbill. However, this fee is enormous. When Malden gets an assignment to rob the kings crown he sees a way to pay Cutbill in one go. Malden does not know that by stealing this crown he not only endangers Cutbill but also the whole city of Ness. Having succeeded in stealing the crown and delivered it in the clutches of an dangerous sorcerer, Hazoth, Malden now must steal it back – to try to avoid total chaos. This last job might be his last though. In his attempt to right his wrong he is aided by an outlaw knight and one of the Ancient Blades, Croy, who has been banished from the city of Ness by the king but still keeps his loyal oath to him and to his betrothed Cythera, a witch, who is also Malden’s accomplice. The Ancient Blades are seven knights, trained to fight the demons that roam the land and summoned by wizards. They all carry special magical swords and Malden and his company encounter various demons, ghosts and wizards.
Den of Thieves is a good book for anyone who likes epic fantasy, I especially liked the manner in which magic and the demons were used and of course the Ancient Blades – who doesn’t like a sword with magical properties that slay demons! David Chandler writes in a coherent and straight-forward manner which makes the story readily approachable and understandable. The characters or portrayed in a well thought manner with sufficient background information about them. The last 100-ish pages really made this book a page turner. The start of the book introduces one story line with Malden in the lead, however, in the end there are different plot twists all revolving around the crown. The parts in the books that are named “The Crew and The Job” really make you get the feeling of a thief preparing and executing its plan.
What I would have liked to see more were puns and jokes. Malden, the lead character, is a bit too strict, he is all business. I think with more jokes and puns the story would be even more enjoyable. Lets hope this is happens in book two, A Thief in the Night.