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.
Douglas Hulick is author of "Among Thieves", the first book in the "Tales of the Kin" fantasy-adventure series. He is busy at work on the as-yet untitled second book in the series, with a third to follow.
When not writing, Douglas is a stay-at-home dad (or should that be: when not busy being dad, Douglas is an as-time-permits-writer?). Either way, he makes his home in the upper Midwest. He has a B.A. and M.A. in medieval history, with minors in history and anthropology. Who knew they would come in useful?
He is also a practitioner of Historical Western Martial Arts, with his main focus being on early 17th century Italian Rapier. (Primarily Capoferro, for you WMA enthusiasts and Princess Bride fans out there. Yes, Capoferro was a real guy!)
Aside from Fantasy Fiction, Douglas likes to read History, Historical Fiction, Mysteries, Adventure tales, and whatever happens to look fun/cool/entertaining.
I read this back when Prince of Thorns was first published as it came out just before my debut.
I didn't review it at the time so this is from hazy-ish memory.
As I recall, the book opens with a torture scene. That fact stuck with me as Prince of Thorns (which has no torture scenes) was getting stick at the time for having torture scenes :)
Anyway, this is basically a buddy movie that takes place in a city dominated by organised crime. Our two heroes are Drothe who is himself a criminal (a member of the Kin) and the Degan who is a more morally upstanding fellow and part of a small order of elite swordsmen. Their relationship is troubled. Drothe is a "nose" (I think) whose job entails getting information.
Drothe gets rather too much information (in the form of a book) and suddenly is the focus of interest of dangerous and powerful groups. He does a lot of running about through a complicated plot, trying to keep himself and his sister alive while unraveling the mystery from the inside.
Magic is deployed from time to time but most of the conflict comes in the form of sword fights which we are given in considerable detail and from an expert point of view since Hulick himself is a keen fencer.
It's high action stuff, and I liked it. The sword fights are well portrayed and the friendship between Drothe and the Degan feels real. If you're looking for comparisons I would point at Scott Lynch, Brent Weeks, and Sebastian De Castell.
Book with bromance between two criminals where one is skilled thief and other one great fighter. We seen that already done well in more famous Gentlemen bastards and Ryria revelations so Among thieves has already good competition to measure against but luckily first book of Tales of kin lives up and even surpasses in some segments cousins that preceded it. Setting and characters are somewhat similar to Gentleman bastards but more balance, plausible and ridden of some of melodrama present Lynch's books. And indeed Among thieves sometimes seems like older, more level headed brother of Lies of Locke Lamora.
Worldbuilding is fairly localized and takes backseat to story that keeps you on the edge. Pacing is great. There is constantly something happening and story keeps moving fast. Entire story is told through PoV of Drothe, anti-hero with some compassion and true sense of loyalty but who can be merciless bastard who kills and tortures to get to his goals. As a "nose', information gatherer for crime boos, he is proficient fighter, a good thief and sneaky bastard but by no means person of extraordinary talents so when story takes him to situation way over his head he must rely on his wits, good decisions, bit of luck and healthy dose of paranoia to stay alive. Fights themselves are done very well and rarely our protagonist get out of them easily or without wounds. There is bit of magic but it's expensive thing and reserved for few.
I would definitively recommend Among thieves if you are fan of series mentioned above or grimdark fantasy in general. If however you want book with likable, virtuous hero you might want to skip this one.
Well I couldn't stop reading this book. I mean, up front, I love thieves, I always play one in my RPG games, so this book had me hooked from the first on that basis alone. The world building was quite interesting, with the Kin and a complex thief society, and I really enjoyed the anti-hero Drothe (very confusing from Patrick Rothfuss' hero Kvothe, but...well, not that confusing.) The characters were interesting, and the plot was complex enough to keep me page turning. This is one of those great "dirty fantasy", urban and gritty, in the vein of Scott Lynch and Joe Abercrombie. Only complaint is that a few aspects of the plot coulda been laid in sooner to not seem like a surprise, but whatever, very recommended!!! Hope there's more in the world, and soon!
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through Good Reads First Reads.
I was torn between four and five stars, but opted for five. I'm not usually much for these sorts of gritty, who-double-crossed who type books, but this one was fantastic! The pace is quick enough to keep it exciting, but not so fast that you can't keep a handle on what's going on. I really loved the pseudo-Byzantine atmosphere and the relics. The author gives a great feel for a late medieval/early modern city.
Also, the author's descriptions of Drothe's fencing techniques are fantastic, accurate and exciting. As a former fencer, I can clearly picture what is happening on each side of a duel he describes.
One element I particularly enjoyed was the pacing on a wider scale. Just as I was getting weary of one situation, the author ramped up the overarching plot about the journal just enough to keep me interested. As I was tiring of the back and forth between all the different players, the author gave me chapter 25 and Solitude. That portion really took it to another level of excitement and stripped away the maneuvering of the Kin to reveal Drothe's true character and quality.
Degan is a great character! And though I didn't connect with Drothe right away, he and Kells too, grew on me.
On the negative side, it took a while to feel much connection to Drothe. This didn't bother me much at first, as I always allow time for a book and its characters to grow on me. Also, I like the idea of different kinds of criminals, but I was getting kind of burnt out on the different names the author kept lobbing at me.
However, the positives far outweigh the negatives, and I look forward to more! Yay Drothe!
Fantasy in 2010 is different than it was 20-30 years ago. Gone are the days when the genre is filled with whiter than white characters that take on quests for the greater good. We have had far, far too many of those over the years...
In the last few years novels such as Brandon Sanderson's; Mistborn, Scott Lynch's; Lies of Locke Lamora, Brent Weeks'; Night Angel Trilogy and Joe Abercrombie's; First Law Trilogy have taken fantasy to new places. In these novels we meet dark characters, who murder, steal and generally do bad things to survive - and yet somehow still have us rooting for them.
Début Author Douglas Hulick is the latest to write a novel that slots in within this hierarchy of gritty modern day fantasy writers. And the good news is - not only does he sit amongst these names comfortably, he is indeed a contender to the crown.
Drothe is a nose... an informant for a gang-leader. His work involves dealing with and reporting on some of the shiftiest characters within the criminal underworld. As you can imagine, he is not very popular. Especially seeing as sometimes in order to get the information he needs to do some very, very bad things...
In fact, we begin the book with a scene of torture. A scene of torture so well described and so eerily written that you will be wincing at every cracked finger, slap across the face and various other methods which I am not sure I should go into through an uncensored review.
We quickly realise that whatever information Drothe is trying to extract from his victim... it's not going to come easy. The guy has been beaten to a bloody pulp and yet still will not talk - that simply does not happen. As thieves there is no loyalty - no one is willing to die out of loyalty so Drothe summarises it must be fear.
This leaves Drothe in a predicament, who could possibly put more fear into this man than himself, the man standing over him whilst bound to a barrel and being tortured within an inch of his life? Eventually Drothe's methods eventually get him a meaningless name, but his victim quite openly tells him that he would rather die than give him anything more. He is of course obliged.
Using his night vision - an ability passed down to him by his step father, Drothe searches his dead victim's belongings. All he finds is a note with a few meaningless symbols.
Before he can research any further into the matter, his boss; 'Nicco' calls him back to his lair. Someone in Ten Ways has been pushing about the people that pay him for protection. No one steps on Nicco's turf and therefore he is sure something is going down. We quickly find out that the Criminal Underworld is in a state of conflict. Someone is trying to cause a rift between the rival gangs in the underworld - but what could be their motivation? The last time there was a war in the underworld the empire got involved and nearly wiped the whole damned region out.
As he arrives at his best lead's workshop he notices something strange... his entrails are spilled all across the floor. Not good for a nose looking for the information he was harnessing. All signs show that whatever happened - those that assassinated his lead were looking for something. When cutters storm the building, Drothe is forced to make a run for it. Whilst making his escape he hears a conversation about 'a book' - he makes tracking it down his next priority... however when he hears who has the book... he knows he is in for a mission so dangerous that it could almost be called suicide.
This is a mind blowingly good read. The book begins by thrusting you right in the centre of the action and from there it simply doesn't stop. If you are not accompanying Drothe shaking down those within the underworld you are witnessing intense battles and feats of magic. The fight scenes are extremely well done - you can certainly see how author 'Douglas Hulick' has used his experience in the art of fencing to add in that extra bit of flair. Throughout this whole journey you will enjoy the ride, being twisted and turned in a way that you never quite know who is playing who or where the next lead is coming from.
What I think readers will love about this book is the very rare, very well done first person perspective. Drothe is talking to you and sharing his thoughts throughout the novel in a way that much resembles the voice of 'Philip Marlowe' (a hugely popular character by Raymond Chandler). Drothe is witty, he is to the point and he is quite happy to tell you when he is pissed off with how things are going. It's hard not to love the man and seeing as I've already told you that he is an informant that performs torture and commits murder - you may well be surprised... but as I have said; this is not your typical heroic tale.
As a fantasy book... it is up there. If you like Brent Weeks or Scott Lynch's work then this is one for you. Ask yourself the question; 'Do you like your Fantasy dark, gritty and action packed?' If the answer if yes to all three - this will no doubt be your best read of 2011. DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK!
Look...I know some people will hate that I consider this urban fantasy. Yes it's in a fantasy world of swords, daggers, wizards and so on...but it's firmly urban. These are city people who live on dirty gritty streets. There are burglars, second-story people and so on.
So, if it bugs you and you don't think of it as UF, fine...but I do.
Now, why 2 stars? Well when I first started it I was sure it was going to be at least a 4 star read I want to say "why" it dropped so far.
I was almost half way through the book when I realized I was laying it aside and looking for things to do rather than get back to it. I was (of all things) watching TV rather than reading. The book bogs down so badly in the center section it could be used as a boat anchor. Mostly the writer seems (to me) to have become enamored with his own dialogue sections. They go on, and on and on.......AND ON. There are long conversations that are completely pointless and tell us nothing. They don't help us know the characters, the plot, the world or anything else. The book just got so....Dam errrrr, doggone wordy.
Near the end the book does pick up again and tell a good story. Maybe I should say ties up a good story. I don't know if I'll follow this series. I'm not enthralled with our "hero" as he builds his own criminal organization gathering power as he rationalizes his way through life. I liked much of the book and for a while it really drew me in.
Until it completely lost me...by it's WORDINESS. So, maybe decide for yourself. If I get in a mood where only a sort of medieval urban fantasy will suffice I may try the next Kin book...but I'm just not sure.
So, too bad I think it could have been much better than it is.
Disclaimer:- I swore when I signed up to this site I would be very tight with my 5 star ratings. Surely to get a perfect score the book has to be perfect, and seeing as that is impossible a 5 star rating should never be given. That said I just couldn't bring myself to give this a 4.
Among Thieves follows Drothe, a sardonic and intelligent nose, on what starts out as a simple job that goes rather wrong rather fast.
Among Thieves is written in the first person, this can be a risky move. When done well (see Eisenhorn (Eisenhorn Omnibus)) books written in the first person are compelling and damn hard to put down. When done badly books written in the first person are almost unreadable.
A book written in the first person lives and dies by its lead, they fall into two categories: Leads that are just close enough to a blank slate to allow the reader to project into them, a good example of this is Bella from the Twilight saga. The second category is leads that are so likeable we don't project ourselves into their place, we want to listen to their story, they are superbly characterised well written and rounded people. Drothe falls firmly into the second category.
Drothe is cool, there's no two ways about it. He is funny in a dry, witty Jack Dee way and most importantly, despite how farfetched the plot gets, he remains believable. In an age where the lead in an action book/film/programme/zoetrope has to be a superman it's refreshing to see a character struggle at times. Drothe is not untouchable once he draws his rapier, he gets through most of his fights by luck and relying on his infinitely more skilled companion Bronze Degan. It works, why would a thief and a nose, who does his job by staying out of trouble, be an expert swordsman?
So, we've established that the lead is cool, what about the story? You'll be pleased to hear that the story is also great. It flows well from the first act where we see what Drothe's life is like, to the second act where everything goes wrong, to the third act where he pulls it all together. At no point do you stop to think 'hey wait, how or why did that happen?'
The word in which the story takes place is also well written and very filled out with minimal expositional information dumps. There is one in the third act when Drothe meets one of the big players and they talk about the empire and the emperor, but it fits, because not only is it bringing us up to speed, but it is bringing Drothe up to speed as well.
The supporting players are brilliantly written as well, from the small time characters like Fowler to the bigger, more important people like Degan and Christiana. They are more than vehicles to drive the plot, they are people.
So, is this book worth your time and money? Yes. Yes it is. Simple as.
Among Thieves is Douglas Hulick's debut novel and the first of a new series. This makes it very hard for me to review because debut novels and new series make me dance with glee and become completely illogical. But I'm going to try. For you.
Among Thieves, is, predictably, a Thief novel, but it doesn't do this in predictable ways. The city of Ildrecca is a dangerous, beautiful and organic place. Many books about thieves seem to make the entire city the play-place of criminals, with dirty alleys in every neighborhood. Hulick doesn't fall into this trope, some parts of the city are beautiful and pristine (to look at) and if thieves do their business there, they'll find out that they can be more dangerous than the dirtiest cordon in the city.
On organic settings, Among Thieves does a great job of bringing you into the world without giving you a geography lesson. It kind of reminds me of looking through a camera lens zoomed in all the way. First you see our main character, Drothe, then you see his friends and his home, and slowly you zoom out and the neighborhood comes into focus, then the city, and in the distance, the world and it's workings. It's very gratifying when these things become clear.
Which brings me to the part of the setting that could have really been a mess, by the author's own admission, and ended up bringing a lot to the book. The thieves' cant used in the book is inspired by real cant. I can see why some people might feel it's irritating, but I though it was fun when I was noticing it in the beginning and then it became a part of the world later on and I didn't notice it more than I notice the floor. That's not to say that it was useless the more I read the book, it just became "right". Much like a floor.
The book revolves around the main character Drothe, who is complex and likable, if not always very moral. He remains mysterious through much of the book, and some bits of him are still mysterious even after the end. (Looking forward to the sequel there!) There are several mysteries going on in this book, but some of the reveals about the main character really gave me a start. I'm not usually surprised by the way a character unfolds. Bravo, Hulick!
I can't seem to think about this novel without thinking of Lock Lamora, but the similarities pretty much end at the fact that they're both thieves. There's micro-plot, macro-plots and super-macro plots going on here, and unlike Lock Lamora, they're not based around a heist, which is what makes it defer the most from your usual thief novel.
However, if you liked The Lies of Lock Lamora or any other of the myriad novels about thieves and heists, then you'll like this book for it's creative take on the subject. Unlike many first books in a series, this one doesn't end in a cliffhanger, so I feel comfortable saying that you should pick this one up right away. You'll have a reason to look forward to April of next year for the new book!
Ангелы не избирали Стефана Дорминикоса Бессмертным Императором – он сам это придумал. Он поручил Эталонам сделать его бессмертным, но те не сумели и добились только реинкарнации. Поэтому они разделили его душу на три части и сделали так, чтобы те непрерывно воплощались одна за другой. Так Стефан Дорминикос стал Маркино, Теодуа и Люсиеном.
Когда-то давно во главе Круга стоят Исидор, король-теней, который держал в своих руках всю воровскую братью, брат не крал у брата, жили они не тужили, пока на Круг не пал глаз Императора. Тот долгое время подвергал воровской Круг репрессиям с помощью созданной армии Кушаков, которые вырезали целые семьи нерадивых воришек и в итоги с годами Круг превратился в раздробленную структуру, которую возглавили мелкие паханы, постоянно воевавшие друг с другом. Серые Принцы, некое подобие Исидора (их 7) уже не имели власти над Кругом, но их боялись и сторонились. Это часть мира. На самом деле устройство сложнее и интереснее и в книге все понятно и интересно рассказано.
"я зарабатываю на жизнь тем, что сую свой нос куда не надо, принюхиваюсь ко всякому дерьму и всем докучаю. Я поставляю сведения и собираю их любыми способами: нанимаю стукачей, даю взятки, подслушиваю, шантажирую, подставляю, граблю, иногда – редко – даже пытаю, лишь бы добыть информацию."
Дрот – местный Нос, часть Круга, этакий шпион для Тузов в Илдрекке, он собирает сплетни и слухи, и проверяет их достоверность, наемник. Сам конечно руки старается не марать, для этого у него есть специальные лю��и, но палец в рот Дроту лучше не класть, парень он смышленый. Да и как прожить без мозгов в такое время. Работает Дрот методично, за что снискал уважение в Кругу. Работает Дорт на одного из местных Тузов – Никко, коварного и злобного местного авторитета, который делит территорию с еще одним Тузом – Келлзом. Два авторитета ненавидят друг друга и мечтают поубивать друг друга, чтобы получить абсолютную власть над кордоном.
Давным-давно, еще до усобиц и бесконечных пограничных стычек, Никко и Келлз, еще не ставшие Тузами, жили душа в душу. Ходили под одной паханкой, окучивали один кордон, работали в паре – пока не решили скинуть свою хозяйку, Риггу, а территорию поделить. Но оказалось, что они не могли удружить себе хуже.
И вся заварушка зачинается, когда в руки к Дроту попадает таинственная книга Иокладии Неф – имперского Эталона, попросту говоря мага, жизнь воришки переворачивается с ног на голову. В книги содержится информация о секрете перерождения Императора (тот в свое время решил стать бессмертным и запряг 10 императорских магов найти способ даровать ему вечную жизнь, но закончилось все тем, что маги смогли только разделить душу Императора на три части, которые постоянно перерождались, сменяя друг друга). Книгу хотят получить оба Туза и два Принца. Одному из Принцев удается настроить Тузов против друг друга, на кордоне начинается война и Дрот оказывается в самом ее центре. Чью бы сторону Дрот не принял, в живых его не оставят, книга его единственный шанс выпутываться из этого. Но кому ее отдать – Тузам, Принцам, или самому Императору… И жить Дроту хочется и сделать дело хорошее - отдать книгу в хорошие руки. Но кому?
Эта книга понравится любителям динамичных сюжетов, магии, интриг, увлекательных приключений. "Свой Среди Воров" - это сплошные драки, погони, интриги. Отсутствие в сюжете любовной линии, в лихвой покрывается круговоротом событий. Я не могу назвать не одного минуса в сюжете. Мне было безумно интересно читать, Дорт очень забавный, юморный персонаж, который вызывает симпатию. За приключениями Дрота и его друзей очень интересно следить. Воровской жаргон, который в начале книги меня чуть-чуть напрягал, под конец книги мне даже понравился!
Так что если не хотите получить от меня рака, щемитесь в книжный за своей копией "Своего среди воров", вот! :D
A reader will know within a few pages of picking up Among Thieves whether or not the book is for them. Torture scenes are not all that subtle; if that is the starting point an assumption that more darkness will follow is not a stretch. When it quickly becomes apparent that Drothe, the man inflicting the pain is the book’s protagonist the tone is further set.
This is not the most original setting. Drothe is a bad man with a hunt of honor in a typical fantasy city that has an economy that appears to be entirely driven by crime. There are warring crime lords, hidden puppet masters, and a police force that is more interested in protecting the interests of those in power than any kind of civil service. A series of info-dumps from our first person narrator provides this information. It is effective, but slightly awkward. I could find a similar setting in how many other books published the last few years.
Well give it credit, it takes skill to make the familiar work as well as Hulick managed to do here. The crime organizations felt right, perhaps because they felt like actual organizations. Not everyone is a super assassin, look no further than Drothe. While he carries his share of weapons and is reasonable proficient in them his skills are not as a fighter. He is a Nose; a sniffer of information, middleman, and two bit smuggler. Other people in the organization act the bruiser, the fence, or any number of other needed jobs. The Emperor’s lack of concern about rampant crime also works within the setting. There are lines that cannot be crossed, and if crossed the Empire will come down hard, but the organizations’ know where the line is.
Drother is a great main character but I find myself with a couple of quibbles. He is interesting because with only a couple of exceptions he really is an everyman in a land of legends. The power crime lord Drothe works for inspires fear on the street. A mythical group of Gray Princes secretly pull the strings of said crime lord and all his competition, moving Drothe even farther down the line. Even the people he employs hold talents he can’t begin to match; from mythical fighter and sometimes bodyguard Degan to the people who can actually use the magic that saturates the land. Drothe uses his cunning and network not trying to get ahead, but just trying to keep caught up with the spiraling events.
My problem with Drothe comes from the way he is presented. I think I am supposed to like him, even think he is a good person. He acts with honor in his dealings, tries to prevent war, and works solutions that will make as many people as he can happy. He even looks after those he holds power over; specifically a family of renters in a building he owns. But through it all I know he is deep in a criminal organization, hires bad people to do bad things, and was first seen overseeing torture of a man who interfered with a little profit he was trying to make on the side. I prefer my anti-heroes to be anti-heroes and not everyone gets to have the best of both worlds. I also felt his vision condition, the ability to see in the dark, was a clumsy addition that didn’t help the story (nor did it hinder, just didn’t add much).
Get into the story though and it is pure entertainment. The city is a strong setting with a very interesting history (a three bodied, reincarnating Emperor especially stood out). There are double crosses, chases, and plenty of fighting. There is also plenty of plotting and mystery through. That is all feels so familiar is probably intentional; though it already feels a bit dated. Fire years ago I would have probably considered it a near perfect debut; as I read it after so many similar books I am content to just call it an entertaining story.
A fantasy set in the city of Ildrecca, where the law abiding citizens and the criminal Kin exist under the control of the latest reincarnation of the immortal emperor. He's crazy, but so long as the Kin don't step too far out of bounds, they are able to go about business as usual. Drothe is a Nose, it's his job to ferret out information, get a handle on rumors, and make sure his boss doesn't have any unpleasant surprises.
Lots of action, intrigue, oaths, betrayals, good humor, fun characters. Love, love, love thief characters. Smart, wily, yet they always get in over their heads. I liked the complex relationships in this one too. There's a lot going on here - setting the stage for future books, wars between criminal factions, what it means to be "honorable". I liked getting into the Kin organization, seeing the alliances and cons. Good start to series. It's also edited by Anne Sowards (you know, the editor of the Kate Daniels and Edge series and many other awesome books). Yep - this is good stuff
Gah. I hate being lied to by goodreads reviews. This isn't remotely a 4-star book. Not even close to the quality of Abercrombie or Lynch, to which other reviews compared it. Very sophomoric plotting and writing. If anything, it reminded me of Brust's Taltos series - if written by a high schooler. Made it two-thirds of the way through and not bothering to finish.
Among Thieves is Douglas Hulick’s debut novel and part of his new Tales of the Kin series. It is the story of a dangerous city, Ildrecca, and an ancient, constantly reincarnating emperor who rules not just the city but the world. Among Thieves is a story of mystery–approaching the feel of a detective novel–and of gritty epic fantasy filled with thieves, assassins, and other figures from the underworld.
A refreshing perspective A first-person narrative in fantasy usually has a purpose: a bored innkeeper tells a chronicler the story of how he was once famous, or the main character is actually having a conversation with a god in her mind. Among Thieves is told from a first-person perspective as well, yet it has no ulterior motive. In fact, all it offers is a very refreshing epic told from one viewpoint instead of multiple viewpoints.
While reading this novel, the benefits of this narrative immediately become clear. Not only is the focus primarily on action and suspense, without slowing the story down by telling it from a wider angle, but the character that is being built this way is one of the best characters in fantasy to date. Instead of looking from the outside in, the reader truly gets to know Drothe and all his motives, seeing how he views the world and the people around him. More than that, the writing as Drothe tells us about his world is incredibly well done. He takes us along into the underworld he lives in and briefly informs us of any background we need as the story develops. There are no big info dumps that throw off the pace of the story, just small flashes of background while the action takes place. If you’ve ever watched the television series Burn Notice, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
Nosing around mysteries Drothe is a Nose, a member of the Kin, who works finding out information for a crime lord. Unlike Ears, who just relay small pieces of information, Noses puzzle the small pieces together into a bigger picture.
When he’s not nosing around, Drothe collects valuable relics. Among Thieves throws us into the middle of the action as Drothe is tracking down a lost relic that points to a bigger mystery. When his boss calls upon him to track down who is crossing him in the slums of Ten Ways, the mysteries soon collide and Drothe realizes that something big is going down. From there, the story never slows down, leading you from trying to fit together various pieces of the story to fighting assassins and crime lords.
Among Thieves will keep you guessing until the very end, throwing dilemmas at you that you’ll want to resolve just as badly as Drothe himself. Most importantly, through all the action and suspense, the story stays true to itself, never once faltering or slowing down and never once making us doubt the believability of Drothe or his friends.
Character-driven despite the action Drothe is smart, witty, funny, and honorable, but most importantly, he isn’t your all-powerful hero. In fact, he’s small and weak and hardly ever wins a fight on strength alone. Instead, he relies on his wits and his friends. Despite the amazing action, pacing, and suspense, Drothe is what truly makes Among Thieves one of the best books I’ve read in a while. The fact that the novel doesn’t offer anything that we haven’t already seen in fantasy doesn’t change the book’s greatness: Among Thieves is a perfect mix of all the familiar tropes and elements of the genre.
Running through Ildrecca’s streets The world and atmosphere, too, make this one of this year’s best debuts, an assertion I don’t hesitate to make even though the year has barely begun. The city of Ildrecca perfectly fits the story’s needs, with a gritty atmosphere, a mysterious air, and many different factions that expand the scope of the city in a very realistic way. I could almost see myself running through Ildrecca’s streets alongside Drothe. The brief pieces of history relayed by Drothe during the story only serve to further increase this scope. The alternative use of magic, set up almost as an afterthought yet still important to the story, adds to the story’s originality and creativity.
However, I would lie if I said the world-building was perfect. The first person perspective clearly works to limit Hulick’s world-building, and that feels like an opportunity missed. I’d love to see more of the world and the empire in future Tales of the Kin.
Why should you read this book? As I said, Douglas Hulick is definitely a contender for the best debuting author of the year. His debut novel isn’t quite as good as Patrick Rothfuss’s Name of the Wind, but Among Thieves is definitely up to par with a lot of other debuts like Sanderson’s Elantris, Peter V. Brett’s The Warded Man, or Brent Weeks’ Way of Shadows. If you’re a fan of any of these, you owe it to yourself to give Among Thieves a try. If you’re a fan of mysterious, exciting, and action-packed epic fantasy, you should definitely pick it up as well. I promise you, it’s a hell of a read that you won’t put down until you finish it.
Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick is a fun and fast adventure with a scoundrel named Drothe who is a bit too honorable for his profession, set in a rich fantasy world, and filled with delightful plot twists. As a fan of Lies of Locke Lamora, I definitely have a soft spot in my heart for all anti-heroes who spend their days thieving and scheming and Drothe is now my second favorite thief (no one can replace Locke, let’s be real here, hehe). If you also swoon at main characters who steal from the rich and are too clever for their own good, you have to check out Among Thieves! Note: I received Among Thieves from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This book has adult content.
4.5 Stars Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick (Tales of the Kin #1) Published by Roc on April 1st, 2011 Genres: Adult, Fantasy Length: 414 pages How I got my copy: Publisher
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.
Strengths: Among Thieves has a couple of major and awesome plot twists that are sure to delight. I was ridiculously impressed with one in particular given the fact that the narration is in first person. Drothe, you clever bastard! Given how much I love trying to figure out how things are going to play out, when I stop and have to excitedly tell my boyfriend about a plot twist, you know it’s good. There are so many cool and intriguing things in the world of Among Thieves. The emperor has three reincarnations that cycle and have been for hundreds of years. The religion is based around Angels that are apparently the heirs of the dead gods. Then of course there is all the typical political scheming between groups both within the underworld and the nobility! I love love love that there are several tough female secondary characters that show up in Among Thieves. This is a great example of how to accurately represent the sexes in a story: it isn’t a big deal that there is a woman leading a bodyguard organization or scheming in political matters, any of the women could have easily have been men and the story would have worked fine. However, the world and story are richer and more realistic for having those characters be female. Even though Among Thieves is 400+ pages, I read it in a couple of days. The writing is incredibly readable, the action scenes flow well, there is always another piece of intrigue to add stakes and tension before anything drags.
Weaknesses: There is a fair amount of info-dumping at points when something about the world needs to be explained. I was actually mostly okay with those moments since I was intrigued about the history of the world, but it was a little clunky. Despite those info-dumps, I feel like I don’t have enough knowledge about the world yet. I want more details about what is going on in the rest of the world, what is up with these Angels, how the nobility work, how the Emperor’s reincarnations work, etc. Obviously all of this can be answered in subsequent stories, but I wasn’t satisfied with how much we got in Among Thieves. The ending wraps up rather nicely despite Drothe being a bit thick at times. I realize it’s a story, but when I have to raise my eyebrow at just how lucky some things end up, it’s a bit disappointing.
Summary: As you can tell from my rating, I really freaking enjoyed Among Thieves. I was reading it on a roadtrip and at first thought it was a bad idea to have brought such a thick book along to read. However, I am so so thrilled that I did since it meant I could gobble up this story in two sittings! Among Thieves is one of those books that is just too much fun. While it isn’t quite as funny as Lies of Locke Lamora, I do definitely recommend Among Thieves for fans of Scott Lynch for the fun thieving and intriguing fantasy world aspects!
I *think* I came across this when someone linked something somewhere about under-appreciated fantasy books/series and I read one review of a different book someplace (hey, managed to avoid actual repetition despite extreme repetitiveness!) which maybe mentioned this. Kind of thing. Anyway, I went in warned about the book's opening with a pretty grim bit of torture, and the warning was a valuable one. Our "hero", Drothe, is an informant (or Nose) among the Kin (or criminal world, I guess. Which seems to be a very large section of this society), and he doesn't do the torture himself, but hires an "agonyman", who, of course, also enjoys his work. (Drothe is kind of appalled, but certainly not about to call the torture off, or stop it before the guy is so far gone he's not going to recover anyway.) While I'm perfectly happy reading a fantasy with a protagonist who's some sort of criminal, the torture would probably have caused me to give the book right back to the library, had I not known it's the only such scene in the book. More than that, it's probably a bit of a misstep, as it sets all of the story into motion, but time and again Drothe is seen to be unwilling to do the more brutal alternative, even in situations of some desperation. Marginally unwilling at times, admittedly.
After that first section was over, the book became much more readable, and often very enjoyable. There were a lot of fight scenes, as the author is - uh, well, read the author profile, maybe. The book continued on the darker side of my enjoyment spectrum, but Drothe is a good narrator - often not nearly as clued-in as his (many and growing) enemies believe him to be, admitting he's stumbling around half the time, and becoming more honorable as he's pushed into increasingly difficult situations. This isn't a book which says that the world is so corrupt and evil that there's no way to make a good choice, but it does sometimes present Drothe with nothing that looks even close to a good choice, and I liked the way he handles it. I also ended up really liking one of the gang lords (Upright Men), and appreciating that the book showed quite clearly how different these could be, while still being effective as leaders. Also very pleasingly, the women weren't different - there are women at the highest levels of the Kin, and nobody remarks on it as in any way odd.
Then there's the Emperor, not that we meet him, as the action is kept strictly in the sections of the city outside the imperial realm. This is the kind of weird, twistedness I really like, and it only gets cooler (in a very grim way) as Drothe/we discover more about the empire's history. In fact, it's just occurred to me that the closest I've come to what the Emperor has done has been in Frances Hardinge's A Face Like Glass, which is very high praise indeed.
There's a lot of thieves' cant, some of it historical, some invented or adapted, and for the most part I felt this added to the novel's atmosphere. It could get a bit much on occasion, but I liked the way the Kin world felt solid - there are even three types of Noses described, for example, and it wasn't unnecessary detail without relevance. I was also taken with Drothe's friend Degan, who is actually Bronze Degan, with the Degans being another entity, leading both Drothe and Degan to more questions of loyalty and promises and their meanings. All told, there was plenty to keep me happily reading here despite the violence and general darkness, and I'm looking forward to the next.
Among Thieves is a fast paced book about a man named Drothe in the criminal underworld of the Imperial city Ildrecca. Drothe is a ‘Nose’ for a crime lord's territory, which means he listens to rumours of treachery within his boss’ organisation, and then sorts it using whatever means are necessary. Drothe is an intriguing character, because even though he is a murderer and torturer he still has a trait that is rare in thieves, honour, and this is shown by the thought process by which he makes his decisions. As Drothe’s work plunges him into an affair that involves him with characters much more powerful than himself, he tries to do what he thinks is right for those around him with his friend Degan, who is a mercenary. Personally I really enjoyed Degan’s character as even though he is a mercenary, the order he belongs to demands the utmost loyalty, and he is also an incredible warrior who can dispatch multiple opponents with ease, which comes into use numerous times. The intricate plot line that involves a multitude of twists makes the book very unpredictable as the politics and social hierarchy of the fleshed out city is shown time and time again. I highly enjoyed this book and I recommend it to all.
At first this book sat in my to read pile for awhile. I always intended on getting to it, but some other book always popped up. Eventually I got around to picking it up, and boy am I annoyed that I didn't sooner!
Among Thieves tells the tale of Drothe, an informant and 'heavy' for a local gang leader in the city of Ildrecca. When there is a problem (or suspected problem) within the organisation, Drothe is brought in to investigate and clean it up. When Drothe stumbles upon a much bigger mystery involving a relic whilst conducting one of these investigations, he finds himself caught up in a deadly and dangerous game that could shatter the criminal underworld of which he is a part.
This book is, to put it simply, amazing. Brutal and uncompromising, it opens with a scene of torture that grabs you and then refuses to let go. As you read the novel you almost feel like your there standing next to Drothe, intimidating people and patting them down as you go about your business for the boss. At times I even found myself thinking about what move Drothe and I should make next. That is how immersed in the story I became. The fight scenes are, for lack of a better term, amazing. You can really tell that Hulick is a WMA practitioner with experience in fencing. I was delighted with how they played out, and again I found myself strategising on how I would handle the situations Drothe found himself in. The story itself is a ride of ups and downs and twists and turns. Witnesses and leads appear and then fall through, friends quickly become enemies, and we are always aware that things can quickly turn to shit fast! Drothe is a witty, funny, and likeable character despite the fact his business is usually involves torture and murder. His narrative had me glowing in pleasure, and the insights into his thoughts gave him a real depth of character. Yes, his business is bloody and hard, but god you still love him! By the end of the book I was just wanting more... and I found myself going back to sections just to reread a particular fight or turn of phrase.
I would happily reread Among Thieves tomorrow, and it has quickly jumped to be one of my favourite reads of the year! I will be hunting down the sequel quick smart. If you love Lynch, Abercrombie, or Polansky then you have to check this out! Seriously... if you don't... Drothe will get you!
Even if it was an invitation, I doubt I would have been able to take her up on it just then. Inspiring as she could be in bed, I just didn't have it in me at the moment.” ― Douglas Hulick, Among Thieves
I`m glad that the sight of this book being nominated in some genre Awards has convinced me to read it, because it was well worth my time. I`m not usually impressed by them been listed, but this time I`ve made a fortunate exception.
This fantasy novel it`s situated in a world of thievery, deceit and crime, with a lot of twist and players involved, but very easy to watch and enjoy. It has magic, swordplay, lying and spying, chases and turn arounds that I definitely enjoyed.
The story flows well, even if it`s narrated from the first point of view, it has some humor and smart words talong the way, but like I said before, not so much that I`ll become irritated, the dosage is subtle and smart.
The book it`s more dark than others, in fact in it`s opening it has a gruesome torture scene, in some of her tones it reminded me of the Abercrombie books, but like with the humor level, it`s not overstepping it.
Engaging, clever and action packed, this was a total surprise for me. And I loved the way all the threads converted in the end and how the writer choosed to resolved all the situations at hand.
I loved this book. The world was amazingly well thought out and seemed very real to me. Some fantasy worlds can be very two-dimensional, but Among Thieves was very 'fleshy'. The description of the crime ring itself was interesting and I loved the different job titles like: Long Nose, Wide Nose, Oak, Arm, Ear, etc. I love any story where the main character fights against overwhelming odds and bends his own morals to succeed. Drothe is exactly the kind of character I love to read about and I can't wait to see what happens next. The fact that he wasn't a Gary Sue who got everything right appealed to me. He made a lot of mistakes and muddled through most situations without knowing exactly what was going on. This was a very good book and I would recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy and thieves, or criminals with noble hearts.
A very good book this. Definitely worth 4*. Intrigue and a good plot. Half the time I didn't know what was going on who was who but I think that's why I liked this book so much very fast paced and allways on the move it didn't give me time to breath. The main character reminded me of Harry Dresden gets beaten down throughout the story while stumbling through clues trying to find out what is happening and then ends up coming out on top ( that's high praise from me as I love the dresden files ). Anyway a very good read and I'm moving straight onto the next book.
Nothing was very special about the story, but it could have been interesting if executed well. Badly written characters, especially the main protagonist, that might otherwise be great. The females, man, the females, they were either very angry, irrational, unreasonable women with hormonal issue or manipulative but stupid ones. The way the plot unravel with the awkward first person narrative was grating, by the time the action began, I couldn't care less. And then that ending, very convenient, very laughable. Apparently Drothe was the only one with brain, every one else was just a freaking idiot, bleh.
Not bad for a debut fantasy novel! All in all, I was glad I picked this up at a time I was looking for a new author to read and was particularly interested in delving more into the "thieves" fantasy sub-category. However, I choose to give this book 3.5 stars, namely because of several factors:
1. Narration in the first person perspective. Sometimes this works great; sometimes it doesn't. In the case of Among Thieves, I think the decision to use it was perhaps a tad ambitious. We as the readers only see what Drothe sees, know what Drothe knows. Normally, I'd enjoy this; when I'm relying solely on a protagonist to give me the play-by-play, it also starts to make me feel like I'm living out his adventures with him. But it can also prove extremely awkward when it comes to the revealing of plot twists by the character.
2. Convoluted storyline. Too many things going on at once and too many characters to keep track of made this book very difficult to follow, especially in the beginning when catching and keeping your reader's attention is so crucial. Granted, all the numerous plot lines fall into place towards the end, but that still seems like a lot to ask of your readers, in my opinion.
3. Just a few other little minor observations I made while reading, such as awkward dialogue moments or writing techniques that leaped out of the page at me and reminded me that I was reading a book by a new author.
However, even without its polish, Among Thieves delivered a great story that was full of action and interesting twists and turns. At times, I even found myself wishing the book would slow down a little -- Douglas Hulick takes the idea of "something interesting must happen in every chapter" to the max.
If you asked me whether or not I will ever read something else in the future by this author, I would say most likely yes. As a fantasy author, I think Mr. Hulick has great potential. He has already shown that he can spin a good yarn; with more time and experience, I think he can deliver some amazing stories.
In a literary sense, if Scott Lynch and Joe Abercrombie had a baby, it would write like Douglas Hulick.
This was just great fun for those of you who love heist adventure, sword fights and general smart-assery.
Taking place in the city of Ildrecca, our anti-hero, Drothe (I know it's close to Kvothe, but this book started 10 years ago, so I think Hulick had it first)is an information administrator (a Nose)for organized crime. He is part of the Kin, which is the network of underworld characters, from pick pockets and thieves, to assasins and crime lords. The Kin is more than occupation. It is a lifestyle, and practically another character.
The characters are great. For instance, Drothe's sister is a courtisan-turned noblewoman who makes a hobby out of trying to kill our guy.
The magic is nothing mind-blowing, but beyond your average wizardy-wand fare. Smart and well thought out. And the average person does not have, or encounter it.
The politics, which is intertwined with the religion, is pretty interesting. It has the potential to go epic (please, please, please let me have sequels).
Fights - there are five fight scenes in the first third of the book alone. Swords, rapiers and daggers galore! Should this ever come to a screen large or small, I shall clap like a little girl at her fourth birthday party for the fight scenes alone.
Characters - great, cool Action - LOTS!!! Magic - just enough to make things interesting Creatures - None. Not a pointy ear, fang, claw or tentacle anywhere - but it's totally fine without Cool places - Nothing yet, but I'm hopeful. There's this mile-long wall that is taller than any building in the City. We don't get to see what's on the other side, but it got my attention
Buy it. Read it. Say nice things. I need more!
Personal Note: I got this from Robert's list. Which makes about 15 books/series that have basically made my adult, fantasy-reading life. Whenever I need a real winner - that's where I go. Thank you, Robert. Thank you Fantasy Book Critic.
dnf at 35% This book was recommended to me as a fantasy with a bromance. I am reading mostly m/m but I am ok with bromance. I understand bromance in most cases to be an underlying romantic or sexual tension between two male characters that do not fully evolve into more than intense friendship.
In this book the friendship between Degan and Drothe is already established and we don't know how they met or how their friendship has developed. I'm not sure if it really has a bromance and I just not read enough or if whoever recommended this to me defines bromance differently from me - but at least within the 35% of the book that I did read I could not see anything more than normal friendship while we learn that Degan has a thing for Drothe's sister. So I really struggled. I just realized I have been trying to get into this for 13 days (!) and can't get myself to read more than a few pages at a time because I want two men at least in bromantic way. It has pulled me into a serious reading slump and I turned to binge-watching netflix things that don't even interest me.
The fantasy seemed interesting and the suspense plot well developed plus the book was well written. It was that kind of story though that you are thrown into the middle of don't really know what is actually happening for a really long time. Still if you want to read a classic cloak and dagger fantasy this might be a good match. I personally had expected something else and I wasn't in the mood for what I got instead. Maybe I'll try it again in a few years when I am not stuck on a book at least having a bromance to offer.
No rating because it's clearly not the books fault that I expected something else. The blurb says nothing about a bromance.
Every so often I come across a story that just grips me from the moment I set my eyes of the cover. Honor is a noble virtue, but among thieves honor can get you killed. I then proceeded to read the back cover and I knew I was in for a treat with thieves, crime lords, political alliances, and powerful magic relics. This is Douglas Hulicks debut novel and I would definitely say that this is a book you will want to get your hands on one way or another.
Ildrecca is a dangerous city to the average person especially if you are travelling in places you shouldn’t be. Idrecca has a normal economy and structure but the criminal underworld is the real holder of power in this city and the powers that be will try every trick in the book to remove the beating heart from this criminal organization. We follow a single POV perspective named Drothe. Drothe has a wary eye for running the streets and surviving if things turn bad, which in his case is more often then not. Drothe gets by not with any magical ability of extreme smarts but with the knowledge of the criminals he is encountering, help from his friend Degan, and a lot of luck.
I shouldn’t say that Drothe has no skills, he does possesses an ancient skill where he can see in the dark but he doesn’t consider this skill to be anything special. Drothe has been a member of the kin for years and working for a crime lord he finds and deals with trouble inside the organization, while stealing relics on the side. On his many missions, he discovers that the people leaning on his crime bosses organization are involved in a much bigger mystery pertaining to the Gray Prince. Drothe eventually discovers an ancient relic that can bring down the emperors and the criminal underworld, but he will have to survive first as everybody is now out in Idrecca hunting for him.
What excited me most about reading Among Thieves was the world building Douglas Hulick has incorporated into a novel just over 400 pages in length. I always got the feeling of something creepy around every corner or new treasures to discover in that building and who was going to betray to crime bosses next. There is a lot of backstabbing in this novel with plenty of surprises along the way. Douglas Hulick has also written a very creative may to people in this world call thieves. Each thieves is called a nose and there are 3 different types of noses: Wide, Long, and Narrow. A wide nose you work on the street and sell the information you learn to those whom would pay handsomely for it. A Long nose keep their heads down and information close to the chest. They gain information by infiltrating crime lords organizations and become secret agents. Narrow noses investigate the crime lords organizations own people and stop problems before they become big ones and this is what Drothe is. Also, the character of Degan was brilliant in everyway. Bronze Degan is part of an arms organization that are considered to be the best fighters in the world. In order the get Degans help, Drothe must give him an Oath where they would be bound to each other until the oath has been repaid, a task for a task and there is no telling what the repayment Degan will ask for in return.
As you can probably tell from me rambling on that I had a blast with Among Thieves. It was fresh, tense, fast paced, and delivers on the promises the story demands of it. I hope you will give Douglas Hulick an chance to show you what the real life of a nose entails what you may have to throw away to achieve your goals.
Among Thieves very well could rank as by far the highest on the "book that caught me most off-guard" list. I went in with lukewarm expectations; the ratings on Goodreads were good, but not consistently exceptional. Reviews tended to be positive, but they certainly weren't universal, and I hadn't heard much scuttlebutt or discussion about this book in any of my usual venues (r/fantasy, book blogs, Goodreads). Part of that could be due to the book being released a couple years ago, but I did not have any data either way.
This novel is about a thief/rogue/spy type character, Drothe, who lives and involves himself with the criminal underworld of the Kin. Along with his buddy Bronze Degan, he ends up pulled in several directions, due to his affiliation with multiple crime bosses, some run ins with powerful lords in the Grey Princes, and his alliances and oaths to protect or assist multiple people. The story is fast-paced and interesting, and involves multiple changes of direction and boatloads of high-intensity battles, both of wit and of steel.
The writing is tight, the prose approachable and enjoyable, and the dialogue is entertaining and fun, reminiscent of Scott Lynch at times. The characters tend to be fairly three-dimensional, and struggle with the consequences of their actions and decisions. The fairly frail thief type + bodyguard dynamic isn't exactly new ground or remotely original, but the execution here is superb, the relationship interesting and complex. The world is well defined, the concepts of the Degans was unique and dramatic, the people and places all well fleshed out, the history of the world done enough to give a feeling of reality.
The ending left a bit to be desired, but not enough to detract from the book for me. I loved this book and didn't want it to end, and I'd love more from this author for sure.