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Thieftaker (The Thieftaker Chronicles) Hardcover – July 3, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 110 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“D. B. Jackson has masterfully woven history and fantasy to create a pre-Revolutionary Boston that should have been. Peopled by an array of entertaining characters from conjurers to revolutionaries, Thieftaker is a compelling debut novel by a writer who knows what he's doing. I look forward to reading more of Ethan Kaille's adventures!” ―C. E. Murphy, author of Urban Shaman and The Queen's Bastard

“An elegant, intricate tale of a multilayered, tortured conjurer and a world on the brink of war. With skillful, clever plotting and prose sharper than a spelled blade, D. B. Jackson has woven real history with imagination and created a character and a story to believe in and cheer for.” ―Faith Hunter, bestselling and award-winning author of the Jane Yellowrock Series

“A beautiful balance of magic and crime, history and fantasy that was fast-paced, compelling, and completely absorbing. Historical fantasy that reads like an old-school crime novel, as if Raymond Chandler were channeling Jonathan Swift. I loved it!” ―Kat Richardson, bestselling author of the Greywalker series

About the Author

D. B. JACKSON was born in one of the thirteen colonies but now lives in Tennessee. Thieftaker is his first novel.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Thieftaker Chronicles (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765327619
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765327611
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,104,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Who is D.B. Jackson? That's actually a better question that you know.

"D.B. Jackson," is the pseudonym of an award-winning author of more than fifteen books, including epic fantasies, media work, and non-fiction. D.B. has also published several short stories. His work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. The novels of the Thieftaker Chronicles -- THIEFTAKER, THIEVES' QUARRY, A PLUNDER OF SOULS (due out in July 2014), and DEAD MAN'S REACH (due out in 2015) -- are his first forays into historical fantasy; hence the name change. (Publishers call it "author branding" and it's not nearly as painful as it sounds. Google the phrase for more.)

D.B. Jackson was born in New York many, many years ago, and has since lived in New England, California, Australia, and Appalachia. He did his undergraduate work at Brown University, worked for a time as a political consultant, went to Stanford University, where he earned a Master's and Ph.D. in U.S. History, and finally returned to his first love: writing fiction.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
We don't see an abundance of male protagonists in urban fantasy, and we see still fewer that are really great. Fortunately, D.B. Jackson's Ethan Kaille falls into that category. THIEFTAKER, the first book in The Thieftaker Chronicles follows a conjurer, or wizard, in colonial America who uses his magic to eke out a living as a thieftaker. Everything in this book is meticulously researched. The time period feels completely real. The dialogue, clothing, and numerous historical characters all lend THIEFTAKER an authenticity that allowed this magical story to shine.

Set against the back story of increasing political unrest in mid 18th century Boston following the Stamp Act, Ethan is called upon to recover a missing broach and, more importantly, track down a murderer who is using spells to kill. Imagine Sherlock Holmes meets Harry Dresden and you have a pretty good idea of what this book is like. Ethan must rely on more than just magic to find this killer, and constantly be aware of the very real threat that his conjuring could get him burned at the stake. There's some lovely personal conflict as well involving Ethan's first love, his years spent in prison, and the new woman in his life who loves him fiercely.

THIEFTAKER was a completely immersive and thoroughly entertaining book. Jackson's well-researched historical details coupled with his fresh and comprehensive worldbuilding are not to be missed. Jim Butcher fans take note: Ethan could be Harry Dresden's forebearer. I'm anxious for more of Ethan's story in the next book in The Thieftaker Chronicles, THIEVES' QUARRY, which is scheduled for 2013.

Sexual Content:
Kissing. References to sex
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Format: Hardcover
I've had a lot of reading discoveries in the past year, but one of my favorites has been the discovery of the Urban Fantasy genre. I was always a fantasy girl, but give it the edge of our own world, an urban setting, and usually a pretty kick butt protagonist, and I was pretty well sold right out of the gate. Now, before I got all big and fangirly about fantasy, I was all big and fangirly about historical fiction...but then I mostly stopped reading it, for something like 15 years. So this year also marks my return to historical fantasy. Given these facts, I think it's obvious by now why I was pretty much off the charts excited for Thieftaker.

Thieftaker isn't your average urban fantasy read. Not only because it is set against a historical backdrop, but also because it features a male protagonist, Ethan Kaille. I love that this genre is so chock full of strong female leads, but it's always nice to read from a different perspective, and that's exactly what we get with Ethan. Ethan Kaille is a middle aged thieftaker, a professional who hunts down thieves, bringing them to justice and returning the items they steal. He only gets away with working the streets of Boston because Sephira Pryce, the most prominent theiftaker in the city, lets him. He subsists on small clientele, taking only jobs that are below Sephira's interest. That is, until, he's given a case he can't turn down. Ethan doesn't usually work for rich clients, or murders, but when a wealthy man implores him to find his daughter's murderer, Ethan can't refuse because he knows he's the only one who can solve it. He's the only one, because he's a speller, a conjurer-a witch, and that's just what killed the girl.

I was completely drawn in by the premise of D.B.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Murder mystery, American history, and urban fantasy all rolled into one: That's Thieftaker. The story is set in Boston, 1765, and the tension of those pre-Revolutionary days is woven throughout this tale. The thieftaker himself, Ethan Kaille, is a man with serious mistakes in his past and magic in his blood--literally. Kaille himself is a down-to-earth character, not a super-hero; he makes mistakes, he misses things, he gets angry and afraid. I like that in a good guy.

There's a good deal of action, and Jackson is hard on his hero. Magic has a price, much like doing the right thing often does, when taking the darker path or giving up would be easier. Sometimes there are no "good" choices. Blood magic is not a new idea in fantasy, but Mr. Jackson uses it here in way that's deceptively simple. Kaille does what he has to do, and he doesn't give up. I like that, too.

Amid the first rumblings of revolution, Kaille contends with murder, the suspicions of those who mistrust conjurers (don't call him a witch!), and a deadly rivalry with another thieftaker, the supremely confident (and seductive) Sephira Pryce. Don't make the mistake of thinking women like her couldn't have existed in the colonies: A bit of reading into women's history will correct that impression, and you will find women doing just about everything that men did. Pryce is a nasty piece of work, but not omnipotent. I look forward to seeing what happens between her and Kaille in the next book.

I read fantasy for fun, and this book has everything I enjoy--a hero I can believe in, action, magic with a touch of darkness to it, even a bit of realistic romance. The historical angle is icing on the cake. A great read.
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