Review: Den of Thieves

This post will include my review of the book Den of Thieves by David Chandler. It is the first in The Ancient Blades trilogy, released in July 2011.

The text below is taken from the blurb on the back of the book.

Born and raised in the squalid depths of the Free City of Ness, Malden became a thief by necessity. But his skill at thieving has attracted more attention than he bargained for, and now he must pay a furtune to join the criminal operation of Cutbill, lord of the underworld – and one does not refuse the master and live to tell the tale.

Stealing the coronet of the Burgrave would fulfil Malden’s obligations, though it is guarded by hungry demons that would tear the sould form any interloper. The desparate endeavour leads to an even more terrible destiny, as Malden, an outlaw knight and an ensorcelled lady, must face the most terrifying evil in the land.

Den of Thieves appears to be a departure from David’s other work. David Chandler is a pseudonym, the author is better known as horror writer, David Wellington. According to a brief introduction at the start of the novel, he didn’t really write it with the expectation of it being published.

I’m glad it was.

I liked many things about this book. It was set in a large city in a fantasy world of swords and magic. The main character was a thief, another character wielded a magic weapon and had amazing sword skills. There were evil wizards and damsels in distress. With all these elements what’s not to like?

This book included everything I particularly enjoy reading about.

That said, there were a few things that, for me, held the book back from being awesome.

Malden, a thief who’d grown up on the streets of a the city was just a bit too likable for my taste. I would have preferred him to be a little more selfish and morally ambiguous.

Sir Croy, the outlaw knight, lived by a strict honour code that, quite frankly, should have gotten him killed well before the events of this story. To be honest he was the character that I least connected with, and also the character that was the most difficult to accept.

The relationship between Malden, Croy and Cythera (the ensorcelled lady) was somewhat superficial. There were some steps taken towards creating tension between them but it never really went anywhere.

Those few things aside, the story itself was enjoyable. The setting was well done, the bad guys were sufficiently nasty. I am definitely going to read the next two books (in fact I have already purchased them). The world building was nicely done and the magic system seems interesting.

Overall it was a fun book to read, certainly something that I, as a fan of the genre, was able to enjoy.

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