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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2010
With THE THIEVES OF DARKNESS, Richard Doetsch returns to the world of Michael St. Pierre, a reformed master thief who still finds a use for his anything-but-dormant skill set. Those who first encountered Doetsch in THE 13th HOUR, last year's impressive stand-alone thriller, will find that his careful plotting and memorable characterization are trademarks of his St. Pierre books as well.

THE THIEVES OF DARKNESS revolves around what are known as the Piri Re'is map, one of antiquity's most interesting and puzzling artifacts. Created early in the 16th century, this map of the world's continents is drawn with an accuracy that would have been seemingly impossible for that era. The heart of the book is that there is another such map, one that has lain hidden for centuries, that reveals a detailed description of a place of horrors, a place to avoid rather than a destination. The hunt for that map begins with Father Simon Bellatori, St. Pierre's friend and mentor, held captive in the notorious Chiron Prison in Akbiquestan, an institution from which the only escape is a painful death. St. Pierre accordingly finds himself in the unique position of having to break into prison in order to rescue Simon. It is the map, and Simon's efforts to obtain it, that puts him and an unexpected colleague into jeopardy to begin with.

St. Pierre, Simon, and the always trusty Paul Busch embark on a race against Phillipe Venue, a ruthless fiend who truly believes that the secret location the map reveals will contain the riches that will return his failing financial empire to its former grandeur. Their search for the map, and for the vile key that accompanies it, results in a fascinating journey to Istanbul with St. Pierre and Venue in a neck-and-neck race of deadly one-upmanship to obtain it. St. Pierre's new love interest, K.C. Ryan, is along for the ride as well, as Venue uses the one person most dear to her as leverage to ensure that the artifacts St. Pierre seeks are delivered directly to Venue and no one else. Venue is aided by the deadly Iblis, a deadly foe who has ties to Ryan's past and who has his own feelings for Ryan. As the story moves from the centuries-old palaces of Turkey to a desolate mountaintop in the Himalayas, St. Pierre finds that his quest brings with it a sacred duty, one that will require he reach into the depths of his soul and confront his own demons, even as he must protect those he loves from dark forces of this world and the spiritual one.

Richard Doetsch has a wonderful ability with respect to picking and choosing the subject matter and locations of each of his novels, and THE THIEVES OF DARKNESS demonstrates this again and again. I will confess that it took me longer to read this book than it ordinarily would have, as I kept breaking off to do refresher research on Piri Re'is, Istanbul, and Aleister Crowley, among other topics. And while Doetsch demonstrates a mastery over his subject matter, his narrative never gets bogged down in minutiae. From its gripping beginning to its extremely enigmatic ending (which may well set up St. Pierre's next appearance), THE THIEVES OF DARKNESS is the perfect way to usher in the new season.

--- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2011
Let me just say it. This book is a roller coaster ride. It's a thriller mystery and it is written very well. As soon as one part of a mystery is solved, you find yourself a part of another. It is a never ending ride as well as a compelling read. The main characters are likable and even though they are thieves, they only do "moral" thieving. Just this topic alone can make for interesting discussion, but it was in here only so you can like the heroes and heroine, Michael and KC, in the story. I will say, however, I did not always like the relationship between those two. At times, their distrust and bickering got tiring, but it also makes sense as if they were to trust each other too quickly. I feel that could have been worse. This book also has a changing POV, and it works in this book. You get a feel for all the major players in this running mystery.

I can see some might compare it to another book *coughDavinciCodecough* because there is a priest and it deals a bit with religious myths, but it is a book that stands on on it's own. And on top of that, it is well researched. ;) In fact those parts in the book that deal with religious undertones are only there to give the mystery more presence and it does not preach in any way. It does not step on the toes of any religion mentioned in the book.

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. If you like thrillers, I do believe you will like this one.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2011
I suspect I'll get some thumbs down, as Richard Doetsch seems to have some loyal fans, but this book is really terrible for a host of reasons. The dialog is trite and the descriptions wooden (Example: "They didn't have sex; they made love." I'm not kidding. That's in there.) The plot is a series of wildly implausible (even for a book like this) adventures that build to a climax where they promptly...end. Just like that. Lots of dangerous escapades that once completed transition to our heroes and heroines flopping into the back of a limo looking tired while tossing off a quip. So they just walk out of trouble? They just happen to have a safe house? They fly around in a personal jet that apparently is never searched, seized or even sized up by authorities in any country. (Does Turkey just let people fly in and out without any customs? No need for passports? ID? Nothing? And do they really let people into international events featuring high level security because they're pretty?) It's just too silly.

Wrapped around all the adventure is a really dull love story that's on-again/off-again/on-again. We get loads of examples of the lovers' "fiery tempers" but it's just so much whining and complaining. Lots of "his heart warmed at the sight of her green eyes" too.

And what's worse is a sense of moral ambiguity that pervades the entire book. Our "hero" and "heroine" are thieves who steal things. We're told how they have some code of honor or decency, or do things out of familial obligation or whatever. We're supposed to side with them because they're not ruthless killers like the bad guys, but our hero kills a half dozen guys in the first 50 pages. His sidekick kills as many in the last 50 pages. They have no qualms about shooting, stabbing or dropping people into lava while stealing and yet they're the good guys.

This is an adventure book made for reading on a long plane trip or while waiting on the tarmac. I get that. But even by those lowered standards this one is a stinker.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2011
I hate to be a naysayer but this book is just silly.It is a series of
improbable escapes interspersed with "He/she loves me;He/she loves me not".One comes to expect that the villians will have preternatural powers,but here the supernatural rules.The dead rise;the living are thousands of years old;and everyone is a kazillionaire.Oh, and did I forget to mention that young and old,including the hopelessly out of shape climb the 3d highest mountain in the world which had been climbed a thousand or so years before by some pirates carrying billions of dollars in treasure.
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on February 26, 2011
I haven't read a thriller in a pretty long time, not because I was avoiding them but I think I had forgotten about them a little. This book was offered to me for review purposes from Gallery Books Publicity and I decided it was time to give a thriller another try. For me this book had a slow start, but once I got into it I finished it in one night. It reminded me a bit of The Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Davinci Code, Angels and Demons and even The Mummy. There was a lot of research and religious texts and finds. This book is part of a series, but I had no trouble picking it up as a stand alone novel.

Michael has a security business. Part of the reason he is sought after and is so good at security is the time he spent as a thief. His friend, a priest and also a thief of stolen or lost religious items, ends up in jail and Michael receives an anonymous tip that his friend is in jail slated for a five am death sentence. When Michael breaks into the prison in the middle of the desert in a foreign country he finds out that Simon is not alone, he is with Michael's girlfriend. So starts a journey in a private jet across different countries and into numerous dangerous situations. Some of the surprises I anticipated but there were a few truly big surprises along the way.

Along the journey background information on each of the characters is revealed. At times I felt like too much background was given, especially at the beginning. That was part of the reason why this novel was a slow start for me, but as I read further I saw that having that information was important to the rest of the story. Doetsch was very descriptive in the pictures he painted of the restored harem they visit in Turkey and the mountain they climbed, in the hotels they stayed in and restaurants they visited. It was obvious that he put as much thought into his settings as he did the actions that were taking place. It seems like he did a lot of research as well because the places were believable and felt real.

I enjoyed this book, last night I read more than four hundred pages because I just couldn't find a spot where I wanted to stop. I must admit I am a bit tired today since I read later than I should have, but it was so action packed that I couldn't put it down. I am glad that I had the chance to read this book. That is part of what I love about receiving review books, often times they are ones that I would not have selected on my own and when I love them, as I did with this one, I realize that I would have missed a good book because it wasn't in my usual genres.
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Michael St. Pierre is a reformed thief. He's turned a new leaf, and even has a new squeeze. Her name is KC and she is helping him learn to live again since his wife died. He spends his time now running a respectable security company for high-end clients. It's not as dangerous or has the same adrenaline rush as his thieving days, but he's making progress.

But then Michael learns of his best friend Simon being held prisoner in the Middle East. Simon is a Vatican priest who appropriates art that has been stolen from the church. Michael has been working hard on leaving his thieving days behind him, but he soon finds himself breaking into a prison. When he locates Simon, Michael is astonished to see KC in the cell beside him. It seems the two of them had been on an adventure of their own, looking for a treasure map.

Michael joins with the two and they are soon on a high adventure of secrets, danger, and mystery. Someone thinks that Simon has key information and when he is attacked, Michael and KC to beat the enemy at their own game.

Full of adrenaline powered scenes and fast-paced action, a twisting and thrilling plot, The Thieves of Darkness is a must read for any mystery/thriller lover. It's the first Richard Doetsch book that I have read, but I'm going to visit the back-list. Michael St. Pierre appears in the first two books, The Thieves of Heaven and The Thieves of Faith. Check em out!!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Having gone straighter after a career as an art thief Michael St. Pierre uses his experiences as a criminal as a security consultant. Almost forty years old, Michael remains shook by the death of his wife Mary over a year and a half ago. His friend Father Simon Bellatori arranges a blind date with Katherine "KC" Ryan, who happens to be a thief.

As he is falling in love with KC, Michael learns that his best friend Simon has been locked away in the brutal Middle Eastern Chiron Prison in the Akbiquestan Desert; where he is to be executed. Michael flies to the country and breaks into the prison to rescue Simon and shockingly KC. As the trio flees for Istanbul, maniacal businessman Philippe Venue searches for a fabled treasure and he knows Simon possesses key information. Soon everyone rushes off to the Himalayas on a treasure hunt.

The third St. Pierre thriller (see The Thieves of Heaven and The Thieves of Faith) is an exhilarating over the top of the Himalayas tale that grips the audience the from the moment Michael develops his plan in depth to save his friend and never slows down on his Asian tour. Fast-paced throughout, but requiring the locking away of plausibility, sub-genre readers will stay up late to follow the action-packed adventures of Michael and his two cronies.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I was able to devour Richard Doetsch's latest novel THE THIEVES OF DARKNESS in less than 3 days---but there are so many great scenes that I found myself thumbing through it later trying to make notes of the scenes that were so vividly brought to life.

The book takes you into Richard's familiar main character but introduces a cast of characters around him that showcase the complexities that all of us go through. One of the main messages of the book seem to be What would you do to help those you love? For some, they would risk everything. For others, they have become jaded by the problems of the world and think that there is no hope.

It is up to individuals like Michael to show that hope is not lost and that if your motives are pure, things can work out for you in the end.

This is an incredible literary journey, and you will do yourself a favor by taking it.
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on February 23, 2014
I have read all 4 books and cannot wait for the 5th! Hooked from the first line! Excellent writer and his other books are excellent!
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on October 7, 2013
This is a thriller that keeps up a amazing pace.
I wondered if it was a female writer at time with its extended romantic sections
After recently being in Istanbul I found the discriptions of the areas very good.
I enjoyed the references to history and religion with made this book all the more interesting.
Very entertaining.
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