A Thief in the Night: Book Two of the Ancient Blades Trilogy
by David Chandler
Cover Artist: Richard Jones
Review by Steve Sawicki
Harper Voyager Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780062021250
Date: 27 September 2011 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
This is the second book in the Ancient Blades Trilogy. Malden, a thief, has learned his trade well and operates in the Free City of Ness pretty much as he pleases. And he's happy with his calling. Until, however, he manages to one day save the life of an Ancient Blade, the knight Croy.
Now Malden possesses one of the seven Ancient Blades and has become a reluctant member of a brotherhood from which only death is the release. To make matters worse, Malden is in love with Cythera, a sorceress who has been promised to Croy. It's the kind of thing one only reads about in stories and yet Malden is living it on a day to day basis. And, to make matters worse, he's embroiled in a quest to kill an undead creature of nightmare. While there is rumored to be great treasure hidden in the demon's lair, Malden would just as soon avoid it all. If only Cythera weren't coming along.
As with the first book, David Chandler has managed to pack in a great deal of adventure and no few laughs as he put Malden and crew through their paces in what is a rich and robust fantasy universe. The world is complex, interesting, populated with characters who seem to have their own minds and would just as soon stab you in the back as help you out. Except for the Ancient Blades who are operating on a moral code that seems archaic and often gets in the way more than it helps.
The writing is crisp, the pace is quick, the plot is complex and interesting, and the story will continue beyond although the events in this book do come to a satisfying conclusion so far as they can.
The issue with writing a series is that sometimes you have a continuing theme and this theme can not get resolved until the final book so you have to develop sub themes that come and go while the overarching theme continues on. If you've made a bad choice then you're just teasing and pissing off your readers who are waiting and waiting and waiting while you continue to write about this conflict that never seems to get resolved.
If your theme is not big enough then it's hard to argue that the characters should be spending that much time pursing it. Neither of these is an issue here--yet, although I wonder how long the love issues between Malden and Cythera can continue to be shadowed by other things before it becomes just too annoying. But, this is only book two and that won't happen until probably book four. Until then, this is a series worth chasing after and picking up. And, as to the future? We'll all find out together. Recommended.