Book Review: Den of Thieves

In the interest of full disclosure, the author of the forthcoming novel, Den of Thieves, David Chandler, emailed me about a month ago asking if I would read his work. He’s a member of the Red Box Campaign in NYC, and was involved in some various gaming projects. He “hoped I’d mention it on my blog”, but other than that, there was no expectation of any sort of advertising in exchange.

I’ve got to say, I really enjoyed this book. I tore through it as I rarely do with any books nowadays, and that’s about the best endorsement I can give.

The roots of this book in both Fritz Lieber’s Lankhmar, and E. Gary Gygax’s Greyhawk are obvious. It’s set in a Free City in the midst of a (thusfar) fairly generic fantasy kingdom, with a thief from the slums getting involved in both the affairs of the local thieves’ guild and a heist that ends up embroiling him in some fairly high-powered sorcery and affairs of state. I won’t give away more of the plot than that, but there were some nice plot twists, the setting (the city) was fairly engaging, and the characters were well developed.

I would tend to agree with Joethelawyer’s assessment that the primary character, who was supposed to be a sort of guttersnipe thief, would have such a talent for speaking and a vocabulary to match, but that didn’t distract me from enjoying the depictions of the Free City of Ness and its inhabitants. It’s not a fairy tale by any stretch– the characters are (with one notable exception) flawed and human enough to realize it. But I rather liked that aspect; the fact that the characters weren’t cookie-cutter heroes left room for some interesting twists and turns.

I would heartily recommend this book to anyone looking for a light fantasy read, and I’m very much looking forward to the rest of the books in the Ancient Blades trilogy.

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.