Book Review: Among Thieves, by Douglas Hulick

Among Thieves (Tales of the Kin, #1)

Drothe is the eyes and ears (known as a Nose) of a criminal organisation and also deals in stolen artifacts on the side. But when an unusual book lands in his lap, everyone, including his own boss, is after him and the book.
Drothe is chasing up an Imperial artifact that was stolen from him, only to find that it had been traded for a different artifact; a book that contains imperial secrets and an ancient, forbidden magic. The problem is that its last keeper turns up dead and just happens to be one of Drothe’s ears in a really rough area, and all the clues point to Drothe as the murderer. If that was his only problem, he could have taken care it. But rumors of treachery is something that the Kin do not take kindly too. Then there is the matter of the book. Everyone from the imperial elite guard to the Dark Princes of the criminal world are after what is locked away in its pages.
Hulick has created a wonderfully dark and rich world, full of interesting characters and mishmash of cultures, that blends the historic cities of Western Europe with the cultural highlights of the Middle East. This is made richer by the hierarchies and structures of the Kin, and the inclusion of real world criminal ‘patter’ to give it authenticity and a flavor all its own.
The lead character is an appropriately dashing rogue, but Hulick strikes a fine balance between making him ruthless and every bit a criminal and at the same time human and willing to go out of his way for the good of his fellow, and just the right amount squeamish in killing in cold blood.
My initial impression was that it was a blend of The Lies of Locke Lamora and Gangs of New York, an impression that remained with me for quite a way into the novel. Hulick’s mastery of the craft is evident in the way he has spun plot, dialogue, characterization and world building together, and should definitely be considered among authors such as Lynch, Barclay, Abercrombie and Weeks.
Without stringing together any more cliches, go out and get this book. You will not be disappointed.

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