Book Review: Thieftaker, by D.B. Jackson


Thieftaker, by D.B Jackson (published by Tor Books on July 3rd, 2012), is a thoroughly entertaining, genre-blending story that I could barely put down. Mixing elements of urban fantasymystery, and historical fiction, Jackson crafted a wonderful novel that would satisfy fans of any or all of those genres.

Set in 1765 Boston, Jackson used his historical knowledge to masterfully craft a vivid world for his characters to roam. Historical events, like the Stamp Act riots, and historical figures, like Samuel Adams, helped believably develop the turmoil of life in Boston just before the American Revolution.

Ethan Kaille, a thieftaker and conjurer, is the protagonist of this story. Kaille is hired by a wealthy merchant to recover a brooch stolen from the man’s murdered daughter. Throughout his tense inquiry, Kaille is faced with myriad obstacles and well-drawn characters that impede his progress. Jackson’s development of those secondary characters bolsters the story and provides the protagonist with the necessary foils and support along his journey. He peppered the novel with just the right amount of backstory to round out the characters while not losing any of the narrative’s momentum.

The development of the Magic System within the world was perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the story. Jackson clearly presented the reason, limitations, balance, and cost of magic throughout the novel, which blended seamlessly into the historical tapestry of the story and the requisite mystery elements that had to be in play.

Jackson channels his inner-Raymond Chandler in this one. The story kept me guessing throughout, with the specter of the antagonist looming just out of sight for so much of the narrative.

My rating for Thieftaker is 5 out of 5! I highly recommend this novel to fans of urban fantasy, mystery and, perhaps most of all, historical fiction. I know I’ll pick up the second novel of the Thieftaker Chronicles, Thieves’ Quarry, as soon as possible.

Don’t miss the link below to Lucienne Diver’s blog. Diver is D.B. Jackson’s agent, and he wrote a guest post on her site about writing historical fiction and point of view.

He also took the time to ReTweet something I posted recently:

Here’s one of his Tweets to get more information on his protagonist, Ethan Kaille, and one of Ethan’s primary antagonists, Sephira Pryce:

D.B Jackson Links

Here’s a link to the author’s website:

Here are some free samples of his work:

Here’s a link to a Thieftaker short story, A Spell of Vengeance, from Tor Books:

Here’s a link to Amazon to get your own copy of the book:

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: Thieftaker, by D.B. Jackson

  1. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at this book and wondered if I would enjoy it. Largely because, shallow person that I am, I am always drawn to any book with cover art by Chris McGrath. This might even be one of his favorite models, John Paul Pfeiffer, who who is the model for Harry Dresden. So, it has really caught my eye on many occasions. I’m very glad to know you found it so good. I was a bit hesitant, thinking that it might be a confusing mish-mash with so many elements involved, but it sounds like the author was up to the challenge.

    Thanks for such a thorough review. I’m definitely going to put this one on my Wish List, now. Near the top!


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