Ethan Kaille isn’t the likeliest hero. A former sailor with a troubled past, Ethan is a thieftaker, using conjuring skills to hunt down those who steal from the good citizens of Boston. And while chasing down miscreants in 1768 makes his life a perilous one, the simmering political tensions between loyalists like himself and rabble-rousing revolutionaries like Samuel Adams and others of his ilk are perhaps even more dangerous to his health.
When one hundred sailors of King George III's Royal Navy are mysteriously killed on a ship in Boston Harbor, Ethan is thrust into dire peril. For he—and not Boston’s premier thieftaker, Sephira Pryce—is asked to find the truth behind their deaths. City Sheriff Edmund Greenleaf suspects conjuring was used in the dastardly crime, and even Pryce knows that Ethan is better equipped to contend with matters of what most of Boston considers dark arts. But even Ethan is daunted by magic powerful enough to fell so many in a single stroke. When he starts to investigate, he realizes that the mass murderer will stop at nothing to evade capture. And making his task more difficult is the British fleet's occupation of the city after the colonials' violent protests after the seizure of John Hancock's ship. Kaille will need all his own magic, street smarts, and a bit of luck to keep this Boston massacre from giving the hotheads of Colonial Boston an excuse for inciting a riot—or worse.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the second book in a fantastic historical urban fantasy. I loved it!
Ethan Kaille is an interesting character. He is a Thieftaker, a conjurer who uses his magic to track down thieves and the stolen items. I liked this eighteenth century gent. He has a very sharp mind, and is quite talented as a magical detective. He has a dark past, which gives him an air of mystery.
I downloaded this as an audio book, so I could listen to it while doing housework, or just before going to bed.
The tale was again narrated by Jonathan Davis, who brought the characters and story alive with his narration. I could listen to his voice for hours! In fact, I did! I became so involved in the story that I didn't realise how much time had gone by!
The story took me on a journey into eighteenth century Boston. I am not a history buff, but I am interested in this period in America's early history. The author has woven a wonderful tale into this backdrop.
Ethan Kaille reminded me of Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden. However, Ethan is very much his own character and has his own quirks and way of doing things. He uses elemental magic - earth, wind, water, air and fire - for his spells. It has been a pleasure watching this character grow in confidence with his conjuring abilities, and trying new spells.
In this story, he is hired by the Customs office to investigate a mysterious mass murder on board a Royal Navy ship. The mystery of the deadly conjuring sees Ethan facing even more danger than ever before. Meanwhile, Sephira Pryce, Ethan's nemesis and fellow Thieftaker, is determined to get more clients by hiring her own conjurer.
The story has several twists and turns, which kept me hooked from beginning to end. The descriptions of the characters and scenes brought Boston in 1768 to life; I could picture it quite clearly. I did, however, feel that some of the scenes were a little too long and drawn out at times. However, that being said, there was plenty of action and danger with which to keep me interested and entertained. There was one scene in particular that upset me. Not because it was particularly gruesome or anything like that, but just because Ethan was rendered helpless and I wanted to rescue him. Silly, hey? The mystery of who was behind the deaths on the ship was a huge surprise; I never guessed who the culprit was, and was totally shocked when they were revealed. The end of the story has a twist that I didn't see coming, and has me looking forward to reading/listening to the next book in the series, A Plunder of Souls as soon as possible.
D.B. Jackson has written a fantastic historical urban fantasy. I loved his writing style, which was fast paced and action packed, and the story flowed wonderfully from beginning to end. I would most definitely read more of this author's books in the future.
There are a few scenes of a sensual nature, though not explicit, and scenes of cutting (for spell making) that may upset some readers. Therefore, I do not recommend this book for younger readers or those of a nervous disposition. However, I highly recommend this book if you love paranormal, urban fantasy, mystery, thriller or detective genres. - Lynn Worton
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