The Darkness That Comes After

Believe in me and I will give you eternal Salvation, said the Lord. “Can I have Might or Kings instead?” asked the tank.

Review – Thief With No Shadow by Emily Gee

Posted by senseichow on April 1, 2007

The bottom line – strong, well written fantasy. Ignore the ‘romance’ part and tuck in.

The blurb on the back cover of Thief With No Shadow describes it as a ‘rich, romantic fantasy tale…’. Good thing I only read the blurb on the inside front cover before reading it, or I may not have started. The term romantic fantasy has unfortunate connotations with Mills and Boon, with smouldering bare chested heroes leaning over equally smouldering but just slightly less bThiefcover-1are chested heroines on the front cover.

Luckily for me, the romance takes a back seat to the fantasy in this book. Author Emily Gee’s debut novel tells the story of Melke, a woman able to become invisible at will. This gift runs in her family, and when her brother, Hantje is caught by the magical salamanders whilst using his power to steal from them, Melke has no choice but to do bargain for her brother’s life. The bargain involves stealing a necklace from a local farm, owned by the once proud sal Vere family.

Being able to turn invisible makes Melke a pretty good thief, and she manages to steal the necklace, only to set off a chain of events with serious repercussions, not just for her brother, but also for Bastian sal Vere and his sister, Lianna. Turns out the necklace had been stolen from a psaaron (think mer-man) by a sal Vere long dead and gone, and because of his crime the entire family had been cursed. Bastian needs the necklace to break the curse and thus save his sister from the amorous attentions of the psaaron, while Melke needs the necklace to give to the salamanders to save her brother.

The story is mainly told from the viewpoints of Melke and Bastian, and although they come off as a little two dimensional at first, Gee builds them up to become interesting characters who you can actually cheer for. The supporting cast consists of Melke’s brother Hantje, Lianna, Bastian’s sister, and Endal, Bastian’s hound, as well as a host of minor characters. Again, the respective siblings aren’t really well fleshed out at first, but they do get a bit more page time later on in the book.

As a sidenote, Bastian’s magical gift is the ability to talk to dogs, and the conversations between him and Endal are actually quite funny. Endal quickly became my favourite character in the book.

You won’t find sprawling epic fantasy here with character numbers running into the hundreds – this is a well written, self contained tale focusing on the bonds between family. True, there is the undercurrent of sexual tension running between Melke and Bastian, and some slightly disturbing man-on-salamander and psaaron-on-man sex towards the second half of the book (I mean, what the hell?), but these scenes are mercifully brief.

(And hey, I’ve read through the S&M scenes in Wizard’s First Rule. Salamander sex? Dude, that’s nothing. Check out Goodkind’s stuff if you really want to be disturbed.)

Thief With No Shadow is due for release in the UK in May, and worldwide in April 2007. Fore more Emily Gee info you can check out her website at www.emilygee.com.

In the interests of full disclosure – this title was a review copy sent to me by Solaris Publishing.

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