Review by Jacqui.
I first heard of Among Thieves from a friend who also reads fantasy and decided to have look. This is Douglas Hulick’s first novel, and sometimes I am slightly wary about reading first novels, especially after reading a review where the book is described as ‘A beguiling lively urban fantasy’, which can mean absolutely anything. This aside, I decided to risk it and after a few pages in, I was really glad that I had.
Many fantasy books tend to blur into one another, with elf like creatures and magic seemingly used as a matter of course (not that there is anything wrong with such things, I hasten to add). But this novel is different; the story is darker with some violence, I have only a little knowledge of fencing, but Mr Hulick’s obvious knowledge is used well but not too much, so the reader is not bombarded with unwanted technical terms.
The story is told by Drothe who is an informant or Nose as they are called, who gathers information for his boss’s organisation and also smuggles on the side. He comes across signs that there is a great deal of serious trouble coming, and that somehow involved in it all is a book which everybody wants including some very important people called Grey Princes. Drothe then finds the book and all the trouble as well.
The descriptions of the City where the story is set are linked in well to the story so the reader is not faced by paragraphs of just descriptions which can often happen. You can visualise the world that Drothe moves in as the characters have depth to them, and there are not too many used that you get confused or have to stop and turn back pages to refresh your memory.
There is magic or glimmer in the story, but it is used cleverly and Drothe is an excellent main character who thanks to Mr Hulick excellent writing makes you sympathise with him. The story comes to an excellent close and leaves you satisfied with the ending. There are clever twists in the plot that keep you entertained and though I was left with a few questions at the end, was then happy to see that there is going to be a book 2, which I will certainly buy without any qualms. 9 out of 10