Among Thieves (Tales of the Kin #1) by Douglas Hulick

When it comes to fantasy novels- I've picked up my share of dragons flying through the sky, magic users, but never a crime center fantasy. Nothing in this book was cut or dry with like the lead, the reader is stumbling around picking up clues that end up very clever, deadly and always ending with some very surprising results. Drothe is a Nose or an informant, whom takes care of trouble before it gets well out of hand for his criminal organization, but when he stumbles onto something bigger that all starts with a hidden message, and later a very valuable book he'll not only have his boss out for him, other bigger and two bad-bad criminal organization bosses know as the Gray Princes but the whole empire after him, unless he doesn't get killed in the progress and finds a way out of the mess before a full-scale war breaks out. Drothe was the type of hero that grabs me, he's smart, but not a big badass, he's not some super-human, magic wielding user. At times I thought he was a cross between the Jacques Clouseau and someone with alot of dumb luck! Drothe had more lives then a cat, but unlike Clouseau, who really never knew what was going on Drothe, had a jest and followed the clues where they lead. In more often then not many of those whom were after the relic were one step in front of him, leading him into some tight sword-fights that had my inner fangirl swooning from all the action. The sword fights weren't pretty, and ended up with Drothe getting his butt kicked or him skimming out of trouble with the help of one or a few of his comrades or friend like Bronze Degan. Because of his imperfection and nine-lives and deep seeded sense of honor made Drothe very appealing to the reader. The first chapter showed that Drothe walked the grey line, after helping with some bloody interrogation (think godfather,scarface) this pre shadowed two sides of Drothe, his criminal actives and the pity and hurt he had for the man whom he worked with and had to helped hurt to get information out wasn't something he had the taste to do. This gave the reader an insight into Drothe's characters and perhaps the human nature in all of us? I think author Douglas Hulick did an great job showing more of the working of Drothe as being a man then being a anti-hero. With is interactions with others and (my new crush!) Bronze Degan. There were alot of funny comments between the two that made the friendship that much stronger between the two when both had each others back. (Degan more so as Dorthe wasn't the best sword fighter in the land) The bigger picture comes in small clues and not everything is given to the reader in one whack nor to Dorthe- whom like the reader does have some AH-HA! moments. Everything was very clever more so then the history behind the world from Ten Ways the baddest place to be with a much deeper secret to the Emperor having his soul split into three in order to be reborn again and slowly going insane from not being whole. The world was vast and the Kin had alot of politics playing behind the scenes like the Grey Princes. This isn't force fed to the reader but given in snippets through Dorthe's own monologue. Everything was surprising and refreshingly new from start to finish and took the reader where sometimes just playing the cards your dealt maybe the only way your going to get ahead in the end. "Let me tell you something about promises, their aren't blind, they aren't immutable, and the aren't fragile. I've seen more oaths and promises broken in the last few days than I want to think about, but I learned something about them in the process- you can't keep everyone one of them. No matter how hard you try, it's just not possible. So you have to choose, not only which ones you are going to keep, but how your going to keep them. You have to look behind the words, behind what you want them to mean, and see what they're really about. It's easy to hold on to the idea of what the words meant to you when you spoke them, but that's not what it means to take an oath. A promise like that has to change as you change, and more important, it has to adjust to fit whatever the world throws at you.." -Dorthe

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