Boston, 1765: The United States is far from the sweeping nation it will one day become. It does not even have that moniker yet. At this point in time it is 13 small colonies settled along the eastern shore and still very much under English rule. There are those who disagree with the current system – such as Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty – but Ethan Kaille is not one of them.
Ethan Kaille is a thieftaker – someone who is hired to track down thieves and return stolen property. It is a meager living but Ethan is good at what he does for he has an extra skill that most do not – he is also a conjurer. In using his magic though, he treads a very dangerous line; fear of witchcraft abounds and to be accused is almost certain death.
When Ethan is hired to recover a brooch stolen when a young woman was murdered, he quickly discovers that all is not what it seems. While aware there were other conjurers like himself in Boston, never has he encountered one so powerful. And this mysterious new individual seems to be out for blood.
I really enjoyed Thieftaker and am fairly sure if it weren’t for my work I would have finished it in far less time than I did. Like with other books I have read, I found myself having to place my hand over the facing page to prevent me from skipping ahead. As I simply had to know what happens next, I had to do this otherwise I know I would have missed whole paragraphs.
D.B. Jackson weaves a fascinating tale in this first book. It’s obvious he’s done his research as the infant city of Boston comes alive on the page. It also helped that a map was given at the front of the book (at least there was in the copy I got), so when there was a referral to a certain place or street, I could simply look at the map and had a better understanding. The action is swift and intriguing and the characters are likable, even the background characters. A feature I appreciate as all too often authors tend to gloss over any one who isn’t important to the story.
Ethan Kaille, our protagonist, is especially interesting. We are given hints of his background throughout this first book with him and I am really hoping to see more in forthcoming novels. Despite his rather harsh earlier years, Ethan retains his humanity and his heart. Some of the choices he must make are difficult and I freely admit that I cried with him over a decision he makes towards the later half of the book. The fact that HE cried impressed me. Many male characters in fantasy genre type books come across as hyper-masculine, they kill and maim and do not agonize over it; something which does not describe Ethan at all.
The book itself is an enjoyable mix of fantasy and reality. Many of the events described really did happen; the increasing taxes imposed by the British Crown, Samuel Adams and his Sons of Liberty, those citizens who wished to break away from the crown and those who remained loyal; all of these are true. Ethan Kaille and his thieftaking however are not though he is artfully woven in. Thieftakers certainly did exist, just not in the Thirteen Colonies at the time. That tiny fact does little to diminish the story though.
I really liked this book and will be keeping an eye out at my local library for the next in the series.