Thieves’ Quarry is the second novel in the Thieftaker Chronicles by D.B. Jackson. You can find my review of the first, Thieftaker, here.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Thieves’ Quarry is second in a series by D.B. Jackson featuring Ethan Kaille, a thieftaker in pre-Revolutionary Boston. Ethan is also a conjuror, which is helpful for his job, but the God-fearing public would just as soon hang him for a witch.
It’s September 1768 and British war ships are anchored in Boston Harbor after a summer of unrest. With the threat of occupation looming over the city, Ethan is asked to look into the deaths of every sailor and soldier on board one of the ships, a potentially explosive situation. With no obvious signs of violence or poisoning, his investigation leads him to the very last place he ever feared returning to and endangers a close friend.
Ethan has always considered himself a British citizen. However, the conflicts between the colonies and the British government have effected him. The more he sees and experiences, and is treated harshly by the authorities, the more his loyalties lean toward the cause of liberty. It’s a slow, believable process and fascinating to watch unfold.
The main antagonist in this series is the lovely but deadly Sephira Pryce. She is the leading thieftaker in Boston and has strong connections to government figures and wealthy citizens as well as the unsavory types on the wharves and in the back alleys. Sephira resents another thieftaker in her city, even one who barely scratches a living from it. She would have run anyone else out of town long ago, but Ethan’s magical abilities have saved him. Unfortunately, they aren’t infallible and Sephira’s toughs beat Ethan whenever the odds are in their favor. Sephira is smart, though, and this time has hired a conjuror of her own.
With this novel, the door is opened a little wider on the secret world of magic. Turns out there are several conjurors practicing in Boston. Some are like Ethan, who daily walk a thin line, needing to use their powers to survive but fearful of being discovered. Others have been dormant for years. Some are new to town. Ethan eventually finds his way to most, both allies and enemies.
Ethan carries a great deal of guilt. His conjuring has cost him a lot over the years. He’s not on good terms with some in his family and has hurt friends. Yet, there’s something in him that inspires loyalty in those he’s closest to.
He finds answers where few dare to go. He gives a voice to the dead. He is stubborn and persistent in the face of overwhelming opposition and somehow finds the will to keep on going. Ethan is a strong character with serious faults and I’ll follow him into the dark corners of history any day.