Thief's Covenant

Thief's Covenant by Ari Marmell, Widdershins Adventure #1

Once she was Adrienne Satti. An orphan of Davillon, she had somehow escaped destitution and climbed to the ranks of the city's aristocracy in a rags-to-riches story straight from an ancient fairy tale. Until one horrid night, when a conspiracy of forces-human and other-stole it all away in a flurry of blood and murder. 

Today she is Widdershins, a thief making her way through Davillon's underbelly with a sharp blade, a sharper wit, and the mystical aid of Olgun, a foreign god with no other worshippers but Widdershins herself. It's not a great life, certainly nothing compared to the one she once had, but it's hers. 

But now, in the midst of Davillon's political turmoil, an array of hands are once again rising up against her, prepared to tear down all that she's built. The City Guard wants her in prison. Members of her own Guild want her dead. And something horrid, something dark, something ancient is reaching out for her, a past that refuses to let her go. Widdershins and Olgun are going to find answers, and justice, for what happened to her-but only if those who almost destroyed her in those years gone by don't finish the job first.

I have had my eye on the Widdershins Adventures for quite sometime now and by chance I got the third book in the post and Pyr kindly send the first two book for reviewing as well. Ari Marmell is best know for his adaptation books written for Wizards of the Coast and Dungeons and Dragons, but he has also written many original fiction stories, most of those published by Pyr. 

As the story begins Ari Marmell doesn't hesitate a moment to introduce the reader to the bloody past that made the Widdershins we read about in Thief's Covenant. This beginning wasn't what I had expected to first read as an opening chapter but it does immediately set several things straight for the book. One thing that did kept bugging me a bit was if the classification of young adult is correct, some scenes in the book are quite visual and for a younger audience maybe to much, on the other hand, there are a lot of scene that fall directly into the young adult category, there is quite a healthy dose of humor. Better for me even was the part that there was for starters no romantic stuff happening, in the past I have read numerous young adult stories all centering around one things.. well reading this thieving/rogue action packed story did me real good. 

The storylines of Thief's Covenant is divided into past and present lines, but both focusing on the main protagonist: Adrienne Sattri (past) or now known as Widdershins (present). The big event in the beginning of the book left Adrienne as the sole survivor, though she didn't do anything and is innocent, the authorities only see that she is the one that could have caused this and in fearing for her own life, Adrienne turned into Widdershins, the thief with also quite a reputation. She is quick with her wit and even faster and agiler on her hands an feet. I have read some thieving books but never with a female protagonist so this was quite refreshing to read about. Ari Marmell has created a strong protagonist with Widdershins and this mainly is owed to the fact of her history that is explored all throughout the book, with flashbacks going back ranging for a year or two back to eight years. And each time you learn more and more as to what really makes Adrienne and Widdershins. One of the cool things about Thief's Covenant and Widdershins character is her companion. Olgun. Olgun is a god! how cool is that, a thief with a god as a sidekick! Well if only it were that simple. Olgun is only a minor deity, with Widdershins being it's only worshiper, Olgun still has power to help Widdershins in her plotting to steal the rich but it doesn't make her all powerful. By employing these limits, the godlike interventions were kept in great balance on the whole story. 

The funny parts of the book are owed to the witty and fast remarks of Widdershins to well... every other character of the book, but mostly it comes to show when she is conversing with Olgun when they are in a tight spot. It also comes to show that perhaps Olgun has a more "selective" ear as to what he really wants to hear... Some dialogues in the book perfectly captured the tension (in a good way) between Widdershins and her god companion. I could just picture Widdershins tapping her foot, finding it horrible that she has to wait. This little hot head doesn't take no for an answer. 

As for the story, it takes on several nice transformations and firstly focuses on establishing Widdershins as a clever thief, and this goes on for quite a bit with an eventual intervention of the thieves guild that wants to see their share of what Widdershins has been looting from the rich. Also there are rumors going around town that a representative of the Church is visiting Davillon, Widdershins has found a new mark to rob. Now you might think that this is just a standard thieving storyline, well maybe in the beginning it is but this really is just the beginning of an intricate plot line that goes way, way back in time. When the Bishop enters Davillon the whole story is thrown in a nice rapid paving where Ari Marmell start to cleverly reveal just where the story stands, and this by far changes the standard thief plot into something much more. Nearing the ending of the book is really impressed with in how a different direction I was led in the beginning and how the story eventually ended. This is a great example of keeping your friends close but your enemies even closer. 

Thief's Covenant is a excellent story. I have read my fair share of thieving books, but Thief's Covenant is something else (saying this in a very positive way). Reading it from a kick-ass female heroine perceptive added a different kind of flavor to the story than the often male leads. Ari Marmell establishes with Adrienne Sattri/Widdershins a very powerful character that I look forward to seeing developing further as the series progresses. I also liked the concept the gods/deities with Olgun and how it worked in combination with Widdershins character, it definitely gives her an edge but it doesn't make her all powerful. Thief's Covenant further builds a solid foundation in terms of world building, you already get to elarn some of the dynamics that make the world go round, hierarchy and the thieves guild. The book ends with a lot of things being revealed and does answer a lot of questions, but also raises quite a few more. I will be looking forward to see what kind of adventures Widdershins will face in False Covenant.



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