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Dead Man's Reach (The Thieftaker Chronicles Book 4) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 366 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
“Regulars patrolled the streets night and day, and with tensions rising, everywhere they went they encountered the taunts of young men inflamed by drink or simply the folly of youth.” Those tensions begin to boil over when customs officer Ebenezer Richardson shoots into a mob in front of his house and kills a young boy named Christopher Seider (a real event). Kaille, of course, is there to see it. And, to make matters worse, he sensed a conjuring immediately before Richardson made his ill-fated decision to fire into the crowd.
I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, though. Dead Man’s Reach Starts on a more prosaic note. Kaille has once again run afoul of his thieftaking rival, Sephira Price. My patience for this sort of run-in ended with Thieves’ Quarry, or perhaps Thieftaker, but thankfully we move on quickly. And the initial run-in is our first look at the threat (and mystery) at the center of the book, as one of Price’s men suddenly and without provocation attacks the thief they are holding (the attacking is ok, it’s the failure to wait for orders that is out of character for Price’s men). When it happens again with Richardson, Kaille and the reader more than suspect a link. In between we get a lot of the reestablishing of characters, past events, and so on that I would generally prefer the writer to keep brief and let the reader catch up, but then it’s been a year since I read A Plunder of Souls and longer since I read the others, so I probably shouldn’t complain.
My biggest complaint about A Plunder of Souls was that the political turmoil in colonial Boston took a backseat. Given the timeframe, it is right back in the forefront in Dead Man’s Reach. Further, Kaille is in the center of it, as the strange conjurings precede every act of violence pushing Boston toward a tipping point. He meets with Lieutenant (and Acting) Governor Thomas Hutchinson. Both Samuel Adams and Dr. Joseph Warren play prominent roles. Future president John Adams even makes an appearance. The book climaxes shortly after a night that lives on in infamy. Jackson’s decision to give his protagonist strong initial Tory leanings again pays off, and we get the supreme payoff of seeing him finally self-identify as a patriot after four books. All of this is I think accurate (sans the conjuring) and I know skillfully woven into the narrative (or vice versa).
Jackson is a well practiced hand at this, and it shows. Kaille and the other characters have had time to firmly settle into their roles. For all my frustrations with Sephira Price, her interactions with Kaille after the initial one are often a highlight. Kaille’s relationship with Kannice, the owner of his favorite pub (I suspect an ulterior motive) plays a more important role and adds a strong romance element to the stew. Kaille has become more powerful and assertive even as the events of the book drive him to self-doubt and loathing. He also throws around more snark (what do the kids say these days? Shade? Salt?) than I remember. This chapter in the Chronicles is, as always, strongest as an urban fantasy, and the mystery at the heart of the story is a bit too predictable.
Now what’s it going to take to convince Jackson to write a fifth book?
The Colonial Boston setting is one of the things I love most about the series, and this time the story takes us through the events of the Boston Massacre in March of 1770. Tensions are smoldering between the British soldiers occupying Boston and the citizens who oppose them, including Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty. But when the protests begin turning violent, Kaille discovers that a conjurer is using magic to fan the flames. Even more, he suspects the conjurer may be one of his old foes – one that Kaille thought he had put in the grave.
The mystery drives the story, but it’s the history and the characters that make this such a fun read. All the regulars are back: rival thieftaker Sephira Pryce, his girlfriend Kannis, Kelf the bartender, his good friend Diver, and all the real historical characters who lived during this time like Sam Adams. But my favorite among them is Kaille. In fact, after four books Ethan Kaille is becoming one of the iconic characters of historical and fantasy fiction, like Roland Deschain, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, and Elric of Melniboné.
The story’s villain hits Kaille close to home in this book, and for a moment I feared we were headed toward the end of this series. But after the last chapter, I don’t think that’s the case. Jackson has been slowly building his tale toward the Revolutionary War, and Paul Revere is already a minor character. I really hope we get to experience Revere’s Midnight Ride before the series ends, and if so, I’ll bet Ethan Kaille will be right in the thick of it.
But solve it he does. If the series ends here, as it seems it does, then this is a good place to leave it. I've enjoyed the whole thing, and an happy to have had this universe to jump into.
I seem to read these books very quickly and then am left wanting for the next! There is a wonderful fictional story
with facts of the period thrown in. I enjoy reading books set in this time period but there are not many available.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If not for the sex and violence, the plot would only be suitable for young adult literature.Read more
Ethan Kaille is an interesting character.Read more