The Thief's Gamble by Juliet E McKenna

(9.5/10) McKenna is clearly somebody who knows how to craft a story.

The Thief’s Gamble is Juliet E McKenna’s debut novel, the first of her Tales of Einarinn. It follows the fortunes of the thief Livak as she tries to make a quick pile of gold from a stolen item, but ends up getting caught up in a world of wizardry.

Wizards have been self-exiled to the isle of Hadrumal after years of war turned the populace against mage-born. Here, they are trying to regain the magic and knowledge lost to the past when mages were hunted and libraries burnt or left for ruin. The theory that heirloom objects may keep traces of past memories leads a water adept, Shivvalan to investigate this on the mainland, and hires Livak to use her skills of theft to obtain pieces which the owners haven’t been willing to sell. However, they aren’t the only ones who wish to know more about the old empire and a strange race of blonde men wielding a lost magic are killing people to get these items. When one of their party is kidnapped, it’s a race against time find out who these strange warriors are.

This is one of the first fantasy novels I remember reading and it has stayed with me ever since. For a debut, it’s amazing. The story sweeps you up immediately, led by the strong female lead of Livak who has a quick wit and dubious morals, making a living through occasional housebreaking, but mostly through fixing games of runes and fleecing the unwary. With no knowledge or experience of wizards or magic, we learn through her about wizards and elemental magic as she gets pulled deeper into the mystery of who these blonde murderers are who appear and disappear and can affect people’s minds. McKenna is clearly somebody who knows how to craft a story, and how to leave you wanting more at the end of it. I highly recommend.

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All reviews for Juliet E McKenna's A tale of Einarinn series

The Thief's Gamble

A tale of Einarinn: Book 1 written by Juliet E McKenna

Wizards have been self-exiled to the isle of Hadrumal after years of war turned the populace against mage-born. Here, they are trying to regain the magic and knowledge lost [...]

Published: 1999

Our rating: 9.5 | positive reader reviews

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The Swordsman's Oath

A tale of Einarinn: Book 2 written by Juliet E McKenna

Ryshad had no choice but to kill his long-time friend and ally Aiten. Aiten's mind had been corrupted by the mysterious Elietimm and he was a danger to himself and a de [...]

Published: 1999

Our rating: 8.5 | positive reader reviews

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The Gambler's Fortune

A tale of Einarinn: Book 3 written by Juliet E McKenna

Livak has decided it's time she turned her new-found connections with powerful mages and mighty princes into solid advantage for herself. If she is to have any sort of [...]

Published: 2000

Our rating: 8.5 | positive reader reviews

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The Warrior's Bond

A tale of Einarinn: Book 4 written by Juliet E McKenna

Einarinn's greatest warrior, the swordsman Ryshad, has sworn to protect his lord, Messire D'Olbriot, even if it means watching his love, the beautiful thief Livak, [...]

Published: 2003

Our rating: 7.0 | positive reader reviews

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The Assassin's Edge

A tale of Einarinn: Book 5 written by Juliet E McKenna

After a long winter spent in the Kellarin colony, the crafty and beautiful Livak is anxious to move on. Now an opportunity is on the horizon. The reclamation of a lost sout [...]

Published: 2002

Our rating: 8.5 | positive reader reviews

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More Juliet E McKenna reviews

Dangerous Waters

by Juliet E McKenna

The Archmage rules the island of wizards, enforcing a ban on the use ofmagecraft in warfare. But there is a rumour of rogue wizardry abroad, its adepts not subject to the A [...]

Series: The Hadrumal Crisis: Book 1
Published: 2011

Score: 84

Our rating: 8.4 | 0 positive reader reviews

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