The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice, by Stephen Deas

Review published on June 24, 2012.Reviewed by John Redfearn

Berren was a streetwise young thief working for dung-master and juvenile-thief-master Hatchet in the port city Deephaven when he watched the execution. Three men having their heads’ chopped off by the executioner in Four-Winds Square had brought out the crowds, and the crowds brought out the pickpockets. Like Berren.

When he saw the thief-taker being paid ten gold Emperors just before the beheadings commenced avarice warred with spectacle and he watched the thief-taker so closely that he missed the first strike of the axe. Dismay. After it was all done he trailed the detective only to find others had the same idea, along with some nasty sharpware to assist them, not that it did them much good. Thief-takers can take good care of themselves.

Unexpectedly, to him at least, Berren became Master Sy’s unwilling and somewhat uncooperative apprentice. Berren wants to learn to use a sword, Master Sy wants him to learn to read and write. Cue adolescent tantrums and adult frustration. Master Sy wants Berren to learn to behave like a merchant or member of the lesser nobility. Berren wants to learn swords. Cue adolescent tantrums and adult frustration. Master Sy does not want Berren to pursue Lilissa. Cue adolescent frustration and adult tantrums.

The Apprentice is a fun and rapidly moving fantasy novel with elements of coming of age and rite of passage, along with thieves, villains, pirates, rogues, wizards who seem to do nothing wizardry and pubs. Plenty of pubs.

A good introduction to the world of fantasy novels, and with lots possibilities opened up for exploration in future novels in the series.



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