10 Thieves Books

by: Janea A. Schimmel

You might expect that someone who works in a public library wouldn’t come in contact with many thieves, good or otherwise. Sadly, this is not the case, and this week a particular woman in green and white leopard print leggings made me realise just how much my reading certain types of characters taught me about taking things that aren’t mine without other people noticing. (Granted, I’m not one for stealing things.) So, in honor of too-memorable thieves who commit felonies in the name of The Lego Movie, here’s a list of books about thieves who don’t get caught… much.

1. Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick

Series: The Kin
Genre: High Fantasy

Drothe has been a member of the Kin for years, rubbing elbows with thieves and murderers in the employ of a crime lord while smuggling relics on the side. But when an ancient book falls into his hands, Drothe finds himself in possession of a relic capable of bringing down emperors-a relic everyone in the underworld would kill to obtain.

2. Bloodshot by Cherie Priest

Series: Cheshire Red Reports
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Raylene Pendle (AKA Cheshire Red), a vampire and world-renowned thief, doesn’t usually hang with her own kind. She’s too busy stealing priceless art and rare jewels. But when the infuriatingly charming Ian Stott asks for help, Raylene finds him impossible to resist—even though Ian doesn’t want precious artifacts. He wants her to retrieve missing government files—documents that deal with the secret biological experiments that left Ian blind. What Raylene doesn’t bargain for is a case that takes her from the wilds of Minneapolis to the mean streets of Atlanta. And with a psychotic, power-hungry scientist on her trail, a kick-ass drag queen on her side, and Men in Black popping up at the most inconvenient moments, the case proves to be one hell of a ride.

3. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Series: Gentleman Bastard
Genre: Epic High Fantasy

In this stunning debut, author Scott Lynch delivers the wonderfully thrilling tale of an audacious criminal and his band of confidence tricksters. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part "Robin Hood", one part Ocean's Eleven, and entirely enthralling...

An orphan's life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest.

A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected "family" of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.

Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld's most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful — and more ambitious — than Locke has yet imagined.

Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi's most trusted men — and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr's underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game — or die trying…

4. Luck in the Shadows by Lynn Flewelling

Series: Nightrunner
Genre: High Fantasy

When young Alec of Kerry is taken prisoner for a crime he didn’t commit, he is certain that his life is at an end. But one thing he never expected was his cellmate. Spy, rogue, thief, and noble, Seregil of Rhiminee is many things–none of them predictable. And when he offers to take on Alec as his apprentice, things may never be the same for either of them. Soon Alec is traveling roads he never knew existed, toward a war he never suspected was brewing. Before long he and Seregil are embroiled in a sinister plot that runs deeper than either can imagine, and that may cost them far more than their lives if they fail. But fortune is as unpredictable as Alec’s new mentor, and this time there just might be…Luck in the Shadows.

5. Melusine by Sarah Monette

Series: The Doctrine of Labyrinths
Genre: Epic High Fantasy

Felix Harrowgate is a dashing, highly respected wizard. But his aristocratic peers don't know his dark past — how his abusive former master enslaved him, body and soul, and trained him to pass as a nobleman. Within the walls of the Mirador — Melusine's citadel of power and wizardry — Felix believed he was safe. He was wrong. Now, the horrors of his previous life have found him and threaten to destroy all he has since become.

Mildmay the Fox is used to being hunted. Raised as a kept-thief and trained as an assassin, he escaped his Keeper long ago and lives on his own as a cat burglar. But now he has been caught by a mysterious foreign wizard using a powerful calling charm. And yet the wizard was looking not for Mildmay — but for Felix Harrowgate." Thrown together by fate, the broken wizard Felix and the wanted killer Mildmay journey far from Melusine through lands thick with strange magics and terrible demons of darkness. But it is the shocking secret from their pasts, linking them inexorably together, that will either save them, or destroy them.

6. The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley

Genre: High Fantasy, Fairy Tale

New York Times bestselling author Robin McKinley's vivid retelling of the classic story of Robin Hood breathes contemporary life into these beloved adventures, with Marian taking a pivotal role as one of Robin's best archers.

7. The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi

Series: The Jean le Flambeur Series
Genre: Science Fiction

Jean le Flambeur gets up in the morning and has to kill himself before his other self can kill him first. Just another day in the Dilemma Prison. Rescued by the mysterious Mieli and her flirtatious spacecraft, Jean is taken to the Oubliette, the Moving City of Mars, where time is a currency, memories are treasures, and a moon-turned-singularity lights the night. Meanwhile, investigator Isidore Beautrelet, called in to investigate the murder of a chocolatier, finds himself on the trail of an arch-criminal, a man named le Flambeur...

Indeed, in his many lives, the entity called Jean le Flambeur has been a thief, a confidence artist, a posthuman mind-burgler, and more. His origins are shrouded in mystery, but his deeds are known throughout the Heterarchy, from breaking into the vast Zeusbrains of the Inner System to stealing rare Earth antiques from the aristocrats of Mars. In his last exploit, he managed the supreme feat of hiding the truth about himself from the one person in the solar system hardest to hide from: himself. Now he has the chance to regain himself in all his power—in exchange for finishing the one heist he never quite managed.

The Quantum Thief is a breathtaking joyride through the solar system several centuries hence, a world of marching cities, ubiquitous public-key encryption, people who communicate via shared memory, and a race of hyper-advanced humans who originated as an MMORPG guild. But for all its wonders, The Quantum Thief is also a story powered by very human motives of betrayal, jealousy, and revenge.

8. Street Magic by Tamora Pierce

Series: The Circle Opens Quartet #2
Genre: High Fantasy

It's been four years since Briar Moss began his training as a plant mage, but he still hasn't put his past behind him. Wandering through a Chammuri market, Briar comes across a street girl using powerful magic to polish stones for a merchant. He resolves to find her a teacher. But Briar understands the city's gangs as well as he understands Evvy, the young mage. When gang warfare breaks out in Chammur, Briar discovers that the fiercest gang is seeking a stone mage to lead them to hidden gems. Briar once believed gangs offered protection, but now he and his mage may offer the only protection Evvy can count on. As Briar is swept up in a bloody conflict, he must decide whether he's ready to make the final step away from his former life as a "street rat."

9. Take a Thief by Mercedes Lackey

Series: Valdemar #25
Genre: High Fantasy

Skif was an orphan who would have died from malnutrition and exposure if he had never met Deke the pickpocket. By the time he was twelve, Skif was an accomplished cat burglar. But it wasn't until he decided to steal a finely tacked-out white horse, which was, oddly enough, standing unattended in the street, that this young thief discovered that the tables could turn on him--and that he himself could be stolen!

10. Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Series: The Riyria Revelations
Genre: Epic High Fantasy

There's no ancient evil to defeat or orphan destined for greatness, just unlikely heroes and classic adventure. Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, are two enterprising rogues who end up running for their lives when they're framed for the murder of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy that goes beyond the overthrow of a tiny kingdom, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery before it's too late.

Solaris Rising 3: The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction

Author: Various

Ed. by: Ian Whates

Series: Solaris Rising #3

Subgenre: Science Fiction

Solaris Rising is an anthology collecting a wide range of short stories in Science Fiction. They try to specifically avoid any kind of theme and try to foster creativity and a lack of constraints. It leads to a very scattershot reading experience, and I found it difficult to go from one story to the next with much speed, as the lack of any overall intention from the editor to create a tone, or feel for the anthology as a whole occasionally gave a bit of literary whiplash. Even so, there are a few gems in here, and I’ll definitely be looking into some other full-length works by a few of these authors.

Following the exceptionally well received, Solaris Rising 1 and and the Philip K. Dick Award-nominated Solaris Rising 2 series editor Ian Whates brings even more best-selling and cutting edge SF authors together for the latest extraordinary volume of new original ground-breaking stories.

These stories are guaranteed to surprise, thrill and delight, and continue our mission to demonstrate why science fiction remains the most exciting, varied and inspiring of all fiction genres. In Solaris Rising 1 and 2 we showed both the quality and variety that modern science fiction can produce. In Solaris Rising 3, we'll be taking SF into the outer reaches of the universe. Nina Allan, Aliette de Bodard, Tony Ballantyne, Chris Beckett, Julie Czerneda, Ken Liu, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Ian R MacLeod & Martin Sketchley, Gareth L Powell, Adam Roberts, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Cat Sparks, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Ian Watson and Seam Williams are just some of the names set to appear.

The Speculative Post's Review

Since this is the first anthology I’ve reviewed, I’m still deciding the best way to format this. I think rather than try to score the collection as a whole, and have some sort of holistic review, I’ll give an individual short paragraph, and a single score out of five. As there are so many stories in this anthology, and I’m notoriously long-winded at the best of times, I’m going to split this review up across a few editions so you don’t get buried under the weight of 18 reviews at once. So without further ado, lets get started.

When We Harvested the Nacre-Rice by Benjanun Sriduangkaew

I hate to start off this anthology with a disappointment. This would make a -fantastic- full length novel. There’s so much going on here that it demands a larger format, but as a short story, it was complicated to the point of incomprehensibility. We’re dropped into the middle of a war being waged, as near as I can tell, through the malicious use of a global mind network? We’re talking about ‘logic bombs’ and ‘perception warps’ and ‘ballistic glitches,’ You get a fixed budget of invented words and obscure sci-fi concepts per book, and Ms. Sriduangkaew overspent like she knew there was going to be a market crash tomorrow. As an exercise in trying to condense as much information possible in as small a space as possible, this would be exemplary, but as a short story it was just too much at once. The idea of a war being waged entirely within the minds and connected neural net of the people is really interesting to me, but it just couldn’t fit into a box this small.

The Goblin Hunter by Chris Beckett

This next tale puts us on a planet with some backwater humans, and psychic aliens which are generally peaceful, but use their telepathy defensively by confronting you with your own inner fears and doubts. It ended very abruptly in a way that made me unsure what point it was trying to make, but it kept things simple and built up a surprisingly deep character for the few pages and barely any dialogue they are given. I’m starting to get the feeling that the lack of theme for the book was less about encouraging creativity and more about telling the contributors to specifically wander further afield for their ideas than they might otherwise. The very brief exposure to the ‘villains’ of the piece were genuinely creepy which might not have been the intention, but was effective nevertheless. A bit of a dark mirror.

Homo Floresiensis by Ken Liu

Homo Floresiensis tells a story of a shocking scientific discovery, and the internal war that rages among all exploratory scientists between pursuing science wherever it leads, and trying to maintain a consideration for the welfare of those who might be affected by their drive to discover. I’m not sure how this qualified as SF, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. If you’re going to get anything in your sci-fi, lets make it a little moral philosophy. Three stories in and I’ve hit one that actually has a clear point! Things are looking up!

A Taste for Murder by Julie E. Czerneda

Finally the first solid contender for top story of this anthology, A Taste for Murder is a complete story top to bottom. Rising action, a climax, a denouement, without feeling like too much was left out, or like it needed shoehorning into the length of the story. A great rendition of the dinner party murder mystery, with an interesting take on how quickly and thoroughly even mostly reliable genetic modification would become an obsession for the social elite, and how ridiculous the cosmetic mods would become. Watching the hard-boiled detective trying to have a subtle conversation with a guy who has a unicorn head was pretty excellent.

Double Blind by Tony Ballantyne

Not really sure what to say about this one. I get what Ballantyne was going for, but it really didn’t work for me. I feel like the problem is that this story is all suspense and no punch because it’s crammed into such a small space you don’t have time to feel any dread, or get to care about any characters. This could actually make a very good movie, or maybe an episode of a show like The Outer Limits, but as a short story it fell flat. Too short, no ability to feel the tension which was the obvious goal since not much else happens besides the tension. The Andromeda Strain meets Creepypasta.

The Mashup by Sean Williams

I...I really have no idea at all what I just read. There’s a point made at the end, I suppose, but it makes no sense in the context of the randomness of the previous few pages. Basically no element of any part of this story is explained in any way. It feels like the first few pages and last page of a novel, without any of the connecting bits that would make it make any sense at all. Not sure what the author was going for, but unless it was befuddled confusion, he missed the mark entirely.

Alright folks, that’s 1/3rd of the stories, and we’re already at the long end for our reviews, so I’ll call it a day for now. Stay tuned for the next sections of this interesting and exceedingly random collection of short stories!

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