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Thieves at Heart (The Valley of Ten Crescents Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Tristan J. Tarwater
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Born in poverty, a half-elf in a human city, Tavera lives in a world where she doesn't belong -- until the day she meets Derk. Initiated into the elite group of self-made scoundrels known as the Cup of Cream, Tavera must choose between loyalty to her father and a place as one of the THIEVES AT HEART.

In this book, author Tristan Tarwater explores the development of a young woman, not as prologue, but as a story all its own -- a story of struggle, survival and loss, of the family we're given, and the family we choose for ourselves.

* * * *

Little Girl Lost ~ Free prequel
Self-Made Scoundrel ~ Book II
Red Moon Rising ~ Book III
Shamsee: A Fistful of Lunars ~ Graphic Novel

Editorial Reviews


"I'm very particular about my fantasy intake, and her book ticks all the right boxes. There's a fine line between 'grimdark' and 'real', and it's a rare treat to experience a writer that knows where that line is."  -- Jack Cayless, Author/Artist of 'Chimneyspeak'.
"It gave off 'Oliver Twist' mixed with 'A Knight's Tale'..." --Paula Phillips, the Phantom Paragrapher.

From the Inside Flap

The Valley of Ten Crescents (Series)
  • Little Girl Lost (A Valley of Ten Crescents Tale) -
  • Thieves at Heart (Book 1) -
  • Self Made Scoundrel (Book 2) -
  • Red Moon Rising (Book 3) -

Product Details

  • File Size: 1351 KB
  • Print Length: 211 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Back That Elf Up (September 28, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005SSRQX8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,696 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great character-driven fantasy October 25, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Let me preface this by saying I'm not a fan of traditional fantasy. Elves are usually not my thing, and the plots that tend to come with fantasy bore me. For whatever reason, I just can't often get into a fantasy book.

But I just finished Thieves at Heart and it was the first fantasy book that's held my attention the whole way through. It doesn't exactly have a plot -- that is, external happenings driving the story -- but it holds up very well as a story driven by the characters. Well-- that's not entirely true, because how can you end on a cliffhanger if there's not plot? (And what a cliffhanger! I need the sequel!)

Anyway. It could use a bit more copy-editing, and there are some parts where uncommon words are repeated multiple times in a paragraph, and I have a pet peeve for the breath/breathe mistakes a lot of writers make, but it's still otherwise a well-written novel following a little half-elf girl's induction into a group of thieves. I enjoy the characters, the plots, Tavi's rebellious adolescence... Yep.

So overall, I give it four stars out of five. It's a great story to read, and you too will be wanting the sequel to be out *right now* when it's over.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just For Fans Of Fantasy! January 17, 2012
By Mandy
From the beginning of the book, Tavera, or Tavi as she is affectionately known, is an endearing character. We first meet her as a young child whose mother is Prisca the Tart - literally - a prostitute. While Tavi's mother is servicing her gentleman callers, Tavi hides in the shadows and pilfers money and valuables from the man's clothing. This doesn't seem like a great upbringing for a child, but Tavi doesn't seem to be suffering or have a bad life.

However, Prisca sells Tavi to a thief, Derk "The Lurk," who had noticed the young half-elf's abilities and takes her under his wing. And while she grieves for her lost mother, Derk ends up being a great father figure (except for the whole "thief-in-training" apprenticeship aspect) and seems to genuinely love Tavi. He protects her, he tries to provide for her, and has his sometime lover, "Old Glam," teach her the secrets of womanhood that he is unable to.

The story unfolds as Tavi becomes a young woman, hones her skills, and eventually has to learn to stand on her own. I enjoyed Thieves At Heart very much. I think Tarwater's characterization of Tavi and Derk was spot on; I feel like I really knew these characters, their fears, their ups and downs.

On a scale of 1-10, I'd say this is a strong 9. This is a book I would definitely recommend to fans of the fantasy genre, but also anyone who enjoys a story about a bond between two people who aren't blood relations, but are family nonetheless. I will be keeping an eye out for the second book in this series, which, according to Tarwater's website,[...] (I just had to throw that in there somewhere - what a great name!), is going to be a prequel focusing on Derk.

(Review written by Kathy, a Literary R&R book blog reviewer)
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I was expecting Oliver Twist with a twist, October 14, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was expecting Oliver Twist with a twist, a FEMALE orphan taken in by a den of Thieves. I was expecting Paper Moon. What I got was Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret with a half elf.
My expectations were high after reading Little Girl Lost (The Valley of Ten Crescents). When a vulnerable child has no parental figure, I cannot put down the book until the child is safe. Its like finding a lost toddler wandering in the mall; my heart tells me I'm in loco parentis. The Secret Garden, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1), Annie, Seranfyll, I just love this plot device.
In my opinion, Thieves at Heart misses the opportunity for relationship and drama. Tavi's education as a thief is largely reflected upon rather than explicated. There is a scene with an encounter with other children and their pet rabbit, a digression that does not further the development within the society of thieves. The story takes a long digression into her menstruating, showing almost nothing about her maturing, just about her bleeding. And Ugh, I guess I don't really want to read about that. Exploring wives tales about ways to make her breasts grow bigger is really uncomfortable and voyeuristic.
What was missing was things to catch your heart in your throat, close calls when Tavi is almost caught, or conflicts between Tavi and her adoptive father over her taking unnecessary risks.
There was too much mystery in this volume without enough revelation.
Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing December 29, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
This is the first story by Tristan J Tarwater that I have read, and I found it rather intriguing. At the very least I want to read more of the characters. I have only a few issues with the story: It's hard to follow a time line - sometimes it seems as if paragraphs jump in time, but you can't tell how much, or a scene just...ends, and it seems like there should be more to it. Some details are left out, others seem to almost have too much. Overall, though, a good read!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A promising first novel
This has some interesting world-building and characters, and very inventive language. But having read the short-story prequel "Little Girl Lost", I was expecting... more? Read more
Published 4 months ago by Alysa H.
4.0 out of 5 stars This was a very solid book at the start of ...
This was a very solid book at the start of a series. If I had more time to read I would continue reading, but it isn't a book that I would make time to read no matter what, if that... Read more
Published 4 months ago by robosnake
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Also good.
Published 5 months ago by Brian Vo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 6 months ago by carole hagen
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended
Outstanding. The world in this story is very easy to imagine. The characters are interesting and seem real.

It captured my attention from the very beginning. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Gary L. O'Brien
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!
Wonderful story and characters. Has me wanting to read more of these author`s works. Very interesting and captivating story. Great Read!
Published 7 months ago by Lady Knight of Ni
3.0 out of 5 stars Very nicely done
it was good-I was left wanting a little but that's part of the authors writing style I think. stuck true to human nature but wasn't overly explicit which I appreciate. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Lauren
5.0 out of 5 stars self belief and determination.
This is a great read, absorbing. About inner strength and self belief and determination. Aa winner no matter what the odds.
Published 8 months ago by S. L. Hunter
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book EVER
The beginning is a little confusing but once you get into reading it. It gets more and more intense and it is awesome
Published 10 months ago by Chris
3.0 out of 5 stars A Milleu Fantasy
3.5 Stars

If you're looking to take a vacation in a different world, Thieves at Heart is a great choice. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Visceral Love
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More About the Author

Tristan J. Tarwater is a writer of fantasy, comics and RPG bits. Her titles include The Valley of Ten Crescents series, Shamsee: A Fistful of Lunars and Reality Makes the Best Fantasy. She has also worked for both Pelgrane Press and Onyx Path.

Born and raised in NYC, she now considers Portland, OR her home. When she's not making stuff up, she is usually reading a comic book, cooking delicious meals for her Spouse and Small Boss or petting one of her two cats. Her next RPG character will most definitely be an elf.

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