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Follow the Author
The Thief (Gamehouse Series, Book 2) Audio CD – 3 November 2015
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About the Author
- Publisher : Hachette Audio and Blackstone Audio; Unabridged edition (3 November 2015)
- Language : English
- Audio CD : 1 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1478962518
- ISBN-13 : 978-1478962519
- Customer Reviews:
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The Thief is a heady, exotic and thrilling tale which takes the reader on a journey – one of survival and victory – across Thailand and Asia. Through jungles and cities, on railroads and by foot, North weaves across the landscape as she spins her tale of The Gameshouse, where bets, debts and the game remain king. This is an exciting, intoxicating and incredibly beautiful tale and, much like The Gameshouse, once it has it hooks in you, it is impossible to let go.
The Gameshouse is preparing itself for The Great Game but, first, another pieces needs to be manoeuvred into place. Once more we take up the die and play the game which transcends all boundaries, the game which fells empires and topples kings and where the cost of victory leaves an indelible imprint on the world. Anonymous sentinels stand watch as they recount a tale of hide and seek, a game where whole countries are the board and governments, military and warbands are the pawns.
It’s the summer of 1938 and Remy Burke has made a bet with the notorious Abhik Lee; a bet he made whilst drunk and in no fit state to call terms. The wager: Twenty years of Abhik Lee’s life versus Remy Burke’s memory. The deck is stacked against him and his pieces, those people and forces that he holds in his power like pawns on a chessboard, cannot compare to the powerful hand that Lee holds.
Under such circumstances a game of hide and seek is no easy feat, not when you’re a near six-foot Anglo-Frenchman in the heart of Asia; not when your opponent has such powerful forces to call upon; and not when your opponent would never have made a bet unless he knew he could win. For Remy, victory and survival may just be one and the same thing.
Throughout The Thief, North stuns with her sumptuous and compulsive writing. She paints a picture of 1930’s Thailand, and Bangkok in particular, with such skill and ease that it’s hard not to feel you’ve suddenly been transported there. From the heart of the city, to the wilds of the jungle, to the cracked and dry deserts, North conjures up a world of politics and alliances, of cities and wilderness, and saturates her writing with a wealth of history in this fantastical and enchanting tale.
The Thief is almost reminiscent of those great chase stories, such as The Thirty-Nine Steps or twentieth century escape memoirs, which share a protagonist fleeing across expansive stretches of wilderness and jungle with unknown enemies hidden within the landscape. North delights in stacking the decks against her creation; everyone and anyone could be a piece in Lee’s hand. Trust the wrong person and Burke may lose more than just the game. But even an underdog may yet have a few tricks to play.
Once more the silent observers take the reigns of the tale and steer our course, recounting Burke’s tale in additively florid prose. Their identity remains a mystery and their allegiance remains unknown, but their desire for Burke’s unlikely victory lends them a friendly if other-worldly air. They seem both part of The Gameshouse and separate from it, transcending time and earthly boundaries to observe and record the unfolding of the game.
Remy Burke is an affable and likeable protagonist who, in his own terms, has become a little sloppy when it comes to the game. His fundamental flaws of character leave him with no time to assess and no time to think, his game becoming a chase from start to finish, and the pursued outwitted and outmatched at almost every turn. But friendship may be found by our beleaguered protagonist, even within The Gameshouse, as The Thief sees the return of the enigmatic Silver.
The Thief is an incredibly well written tale which rejoices in its own prose and is almost impossible to put down. This is a series of novellas which, although close to perfect in their own short format, consistently leaves me yearning for more. The writing is poetic, the premise is full of intrigue and excitement, the characters are both likeable and other-worldly, and the power and draw of The Gameshouse is almost tangible. Once it has you in its sights, The Gameshouse will not let go.
I wholeheartedly recommend The Thief, along with the other Gameshouse novellas, to anyone wishing for a beautiful, tense and exciting break from reality. Fantasy, history and intrigue are entwined throughout the narrative for something which, for me, bordered close on perfection. Claire North has once again left me with the distinct impression that I really do not have enough of her work in my life.
As usual with my reviews, please first read the publisher’s blurb/summary of the book. Thank you.
Once again Claire North provides superb prose, great intellect, astounding knowledge of foreign places and times, and a growing insight into the human heart.
I was astounded at her intimate knowledge of Renaissance Venice and pre-WW-2 Thailand. These are living places and peoples. The rural areas of Thailand are beautifully painted, and the common people are alive and fascinating.
Overall, a fine series, but not quite as good as her other novels.
Quotes and notes:
He also had three elephants under his authority, which regarded the great turbulence of the humans about them with the patience of wily priests who have seen rebellion and heard the changing of the psalms, yet looked up and known the heavens never altered for man’s delight.
The youngest monk, the orphan, sat next to him and said, “First I am the breath. Then when I am the breath, I am the air. I am the wind that moves through the sky. I am the leaves bending in the trees. I am the earth turning, the soil splitting, the dust that blows away. I am here and above and in all the corners of the earth. I am in the first gasp of the newborn child; I am in the last sigh of the dying mother. I am the sobs of the abandoned lover. I am the laughter of the delighted child. I am breath, I am wind, I am life, and when I am all of these things, I, the I that was simply me, that sat by you now, was nothing at all.”
Remy, you have the greatest gift of a higher league player –you remember that your pieces are human. At a superficial level, some might say that makes you kind, but I would suggest it makes you beautiful.
The ultimate game of hide and seek, set during the tail end of European imperialistic ambitions in the far east.
Claire North does it again. I haven't read a single book or story that has been published with Claire North as the author that hasn't gripped me from start to finish, stretched my imagination and spat me out after I've finished it wanting more.
Give me MORE!
This is the second installment of the Gamehouse sequence of novellas. Each novella can be read separately, but for maximum enjoyment I recommend reading them in numerical order... for the first time any way.
If you want to read a book about genuine gamesmanship, check out The Flanders Panel.