Conjurer Ethan Kaille is back in D.B. Jackson’s much-anticipated sequel to Thieftaker, Thieves’ Quarry, the second novel of his Thieftaker series published by Tor. The Thieftaker novels combine thorough historical research of the pre-Revolutionary War time period in Boston, Massachusetts, with suspense, magic, and mystery, to conjure up great novels that will have you on the edge of your seat from the first page to the last.
In Thieves’ Quarry, which can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone novel without having first read Thieftaker, the unlikely hero, Ethan Kaille, is once again at odds with his arch-nemesis in the thieftaking business, Sephira Pryce. Also, Ethan must solve the mystery of who conjured the deaths of every single sailor and officer aboard a British sloop-of-war, the Greystone, 100 of them, stationed out in the Boston Harbor. If he isn’t successful, the outcome could mean that every conjurer in the Boston area will be hanged, under orders by the Governor of Massachusetts.
At one time, Ethan Kaille had served in the navy of King George III, during the Crimean War. He’d been a loyal British subject, and his mind often goes to visions of what might have been, what could have been, if certain twists of fate had allowed him to go down a different path. He might never have left the Navy, become involved with privateers, nor used his magic to aid mutineers. He might never have been court-martialed and sentenced to an exile on an island in the Barbados, where he lost a few toes to gangrene.
Ethan Kaille started over a new life in the New World, in Boston, where he became a “thieftaker,” a person who sought criminals and retrieved stolen goods when the police were apparently unable to accomplish the deed. In return, Ethan would receive payment for his services, usually by the person whose goods had been stolen, and he would sometimes turn the thief or thieves he caught over to the authorities.
He remains a Loyalist, and Kaille’s political leanings are increasingly placing him in uncomfortable situations. While he thinks that the British Crown often overreacts to what if considers to be offenses, like seizing John Hancock’s ship after accusing him of smuggling goods, he still feels like Samuel Adams and revolutionaries like him are potentially more harmful to him than any British soldier or sailor.
Even being able to conceal himself using spells, which he speaks in Latin after cutting himself and drawing blood, or drawing blood by biting his inner cheek, doesn’t mean that he is lacking in rivals who try to get the better of him and steal conquests he is on the verge of realizing away from him.
Sephira Pryce is Ethan’s main rival. Although she is not a conjurer, she is beautiful, wealthy and has many connections, besides being personally deadly with knives or guns. She also has the manpower and muscle to ensure her success as a thieftaker, and she has often foiled Kaille in the past. She has even had her goons follow Ethan to his place of residence where they beat him to a bloody pulp in Thieftaker. In Thieves’ Quarry, she has also enlisted the aid of a conjurer who might just rival Ethan in magical ability, increasing her previously slight advantage over him.
When Ethan is woken up out of a sound sleep by a mysterious pulse of magical power that seems to shake the very foundations of Boston, he suspects that some powerful conjurer must have pulled off a very potent spell, quite possibly one which resulted in the death of at least one person. He is somewhat suspicious of the conjurer who is now employed by Sephira, who he thinks of as “spectacles,” as the man wears glasses; but, Ethan isn’t sure if Spectacles is powerful enough to have managed such a potent magical spell. But, if he didn’t do it, then who did?
Ethan begins to suspect that, whatever the magical spell had done, and whoever had spoken it, it had something to do with activity he saw from the wharf, of British officials inspecting a ship out in Boston Harbor. When he is later visited at his apartment in a cooperage by his brother-in-law, Geoffrey Brower, and British Naval Lieutenant William Senhouse of the Launceston, requesting his services, Kaille realizes that his suspicions have been confirmed.
Geoffrey, who is the husband of Ethan’s sister, Bett, has generally speaking not wanted to have much to do with Kaille and his unsavory past. Ethan’s sister has turned away from conjuring, and has taken up a more respectable mantle as the wife of a prominent customs official. However, now he and Senhouse have reason to request Kaille’s services, as Geoffrey and Senhouse have found no logical explanation as to what could have caused the deaths of the 100 men aboard the Greystone.
Senhouse offers Ethan Kaille the princely sum of 10 pounds to find the murderer and help bring him to justice. Kaille, understandably, especially with the Salem Witch trials still a part of recent memory, is somewhat hesitant to help out and reveal that he is a conjurer to Senhouse; but, he does both of these things. Geoffrey even tells Ethan that, at first, he had suspected that Kaille might have been behind the murders, until he apparently changed his opinion.
In Thieves’ Quarry, D.B. Jackson’s latest installment in his Thieftaker series of novels, conjurer Ethan Kaille must solve who was behind the murders of 100 men aboard the sloop-of-war the Graystone, or be outed as being a witch and be hanged by the neck. The Governor of Boston is holding Kaille responsible for the fates of everyone in the Boston area suspected of being a conjurer or witch. It will be no easy task for Kaille, especially as Sephira Pryce, like a shark, senses blood in the water, and there is a powerful conjurer walking the streets of Boston who will stop at nothing to avoid being brought to justice. Check out this suspenseful book today!
Written by: Douglas Cobb