The Thief Rothdas book review RSS
4.0 Stars

Another extremely fast reading book. In this case, the adventure is about a group making an overland hike through enemy territory to recover a politically priceless heirloom locked away in an ancient and hidden temple. The setting is somewhat as if the power structure of ancient Greece had managed to last till the 1500's, with city states, occasional guns, and some fantastic elements that have the same general shape as the Greek gods and spirits. Now that I write this, it sounds a great deal like _The Barrow_, but the tone is considerably more upbeat.

There are a couple of elements that make the story more interesting than your average adventure. For one, the protagonist is a master thief, allowed out of jail to help with this one task. He's as lowborn as possible and not entirely there of his own free will, while the other four members of the group are either nobility or nobility adjacent. So there is a class/educational/wealth tension between him and the rest of the group, and also mystery as he tries to figure out the position and motivations of the other members of the group. Another enjoyable element is that as an immensely skilled thief, he can basically steal anything from anyone that comes within reach. The book usually doesn't mention these thievings though, so most items/bits of gear exist in a cloud of possibilities, where if they've ever come close to the protagonist they might or might not be on him at any given time. So in addition to the narrative uncertainties, there's uncertainties about who is actually carrying what. These elements carry the book through it's first ~150 pages, after which we reach the wonderful water temple, where the author did a genuinely good job of designing a dungeon that is A) thematic B) interesting to explore C) could plausibly have been killing off entire groups of adventurers for centuries without needing any significant maintenance. The remainder of the novel isn't bad, but after the strong start it ends as somewhat of a letdown as the reveals become too much, and the strong central stream of the plot starts to divert into different and less compelling channels.