Stealing Magic by T. L. Ford
After years of dedicated practice and service, Angela Thomas is finally a highly-skilled, newly confirmed Master of the Thieves' Guild, willingly accepting her duties as heir to Kevin Bennett, Merryweather's Guildmaster. Unfortunately, it seems that when a thief becomes truly adept, that thief gains some unsuspected abilities, and the Mages' Guild just might have something to say about that.
Someone steals spellbooks from the Vrolt mages, and Angela becomes the prime suspect. Who is leading the hunt and targeting her allies first? Is it an attack on her town, her guild, or her? Can she unravel the mystery and find the real culprit before everyone she knows is dead?
This is book 2. Read book 1, Lawful Good Thief, first.
Wow. This book is impossible to put down. The complexity of character development and intricate plotting sucks you in. And the moral ambiguity that tears at the heroine is one that is familiar to anyone seeking the least bad choice in their lives. Like Ford's previous novel, the kingdom of thieves addresses the question of responsibility of the gifted and the role of truth in decisions that affect the many. I look forward to reading more from this author.
- Amazon Customer
Read this, read the first one, leave reviews. Deserves to be farther up the sales rankings.
A very good continuation of the tale, with several unexpected twists and turns. Frankly an amazingly good book that deserves many more stars.
- Amazon Customer
Picks up where Lawful Good Thief left off
Another fun romp through T. L. Ford's imagination!! Danger, intrigue, and a snarky heroine— fantastic read!! I highly recommend this for a cold, gray weekend. Curl up with your favorite cuppa and this book and enjoy!!!
- Goodreads Community
Click, Drag, Zoom Dagger Fun
Summoned, Angela Thomas entered the private dining room of an upscale Siedes inn. She glanced at the knife in Guildmaster de Siedes' hand and forced herself to focus on his face. She was the future Guildmaster de Merryweather and a confirmed Master thief of the Guild, not some ignorant, easily distracted novice. Her stomach churned nervously nonetheless. What form would his punishment, his revenge, take? Ostensibly flaunting her skill, she had stolen a very valuable statue from this powerful man's private chambers during her Mastery test - a foolish, irresponsible, and utterly dangerous act about which her own Master had lectured her several times. The statue had been returned, but the public insult, the humiliating taunt, would not be forgotten easily.
Leaving the thought of possible attack to Robbie and Kent, who stood behind her as bodyguards, Angela looked at the evil man casually eating a late lunch (or if one thought of it in terms of Guild-hours, a mid-sleep-cycle snack). As the ruler of all the thieves' guildhalls, he could have demanded her presence any time in the last two weeks. Sending his heir to fetch her just as she was leaving his city was certainly calculated to annoy her, just as her own decision to depart midday had been calculated to avoid this meeting, or to at least make it very inconvenient for him. His face showed no hint of anger or displeasure though. Guild conversations at this level were always a carefully choreographed, potentially deadly dance.
Angela curtsied, spreading out a lovely green overskirt she'd designed herself. At first glance, it looked like a Rashesh noblewoman's gown, but it was split and could be quickly reversed into a thief's camouflaging brown Verkam tunic and cloak. Magnificent dark green embroidery decorated the bodice. Angela hoped it looked appropriately alluring; the man had flippantly called her a mere bed toy when they'd first met. Using his "outside of den" title, Angela said, "Lord Siedes, I'm afraid I don't have time for a lengthy repast. We were just departing for Merryweather."
"Sit," Guildmaster de Siedes replied. Behind him, the Guildmaster's own heir smirked, the slight movement of his hand suggested he was prepared to help her sit if necessary.
"Very well." With the proper noblewoman's studied grace, she sat and arranged her skirt, but she did not reach for food or drink. She folded her hands into her lap and waited for the Guildmaster to speak.
He took another bite of what looked like an excellently prepared cut of meat, chewed it, and swallowed. Finally, he said, "You performed admirably during the Mastery test."
"Lord Merryweather trained me." She pressed her lips together and did not elaborate. By all accounts, no one had ever done better and she was becoming quite famous - a fact that was as surprising to young Angela as it was to the Guild. She knew her skills were superb but legendary? Yet, her skills wouldn't matter at all if she didn't pay attention to this threat in front of her.
After another slice was swallowed, De Siedes continued, "Ah, yes, Lord Merryweather has done well. He must be very proud to command one such as you." He added a subtle slur to the word command, suggesting she was a fool.
She replied as if it were a compliment. "As I am to have been chosen by him." She sat perfectly still, frozen like prey. She was more terrified by his lack of threatening gestures than she would have been had he attacked her directly, perhaps throwing that dagger at her throat. At least then she would know which way to dodge.
"Are you sure you wouldn't like to have some wine? It's an excellent vintage." He motioned to the bottle.
"Regretfully, I must decline. My ship awaits me for its departure. What is it you summoned me for?"
"Now don't rush things. I happen to have a gift for you, our newest Master thief of the Guild."
She forced herself to casually raise an eyebrow. She hoped her breathing wasn't too abnormal, but she was sure he wasn't fooled at all and was enjoying her unease.
He took another leisurely bite and followed it with a sip of wine, deliberately, slowly. "It occurred to me that throughout this Guild gathering, I have always seen you with your Master."
She waited without comment.
"You play his servant most convincingly."
"I am his Dauphin," she replied, using her Guild title as heir, despite being outside a den.
"Yes, but you are now also a Master thief of the Guild, with status in your own right."
"I thought you were going to ask how I stole your statue, not try to cause discord between myself and my Master. I suppose I should have anticipated that." She raised an eyebrow incredulously and tried to look suitably unimpressed.
"You misunderstand me entirely." He took a roll and proceeded to butter it. Was his use of what appeared to be a perfectly balanced, perfectly honed throwing dagger instead of a dinner knife also calculated, or had he just spent so much time with one in his hand that he didn't think to use a different blade? "Your men, there, they are geased to your Master, yes?" He gestured at them with the dagger.
"They are." A magical geas bound the recipient and forced him to obey all commands from his master. It was typical for a Guildmaster to require it in exchange for some level of trust and training. Official Guild apprentices were always geased, normally for ten years. Guildmaster de Merryweather had already dissolved Angela's apprenticeship geas, making her continued obedience her choice and shocking to her colleagues. A Guildmaster's heir was expected to assassinate his Master when his skill exceeded his Master's skill. Angela's recently demonstrated skill exceeded nearly everyone's.
"As I thought." He made his voice sound sad, but his eyes and expression remained cold. He paused eating, stared directly at her, and asked, "Your Master has explained reputation to you, hasn't he?"
"I'm familiar with the concept."
"As the Guildmaster for the entire Guild, I must also see that our Guild's reputation does not suffer. There are expectations of a Master thief." He set his fork down and rested his hand on the table near the dagger, but not on it. "I have observed what is missing from your repertoire of amazing Master thief skills." He took another sip of his wine. "You have nothing of your own. It all belongs to your Master. This simply won't do. It's positively shameful at your level. I find it appalling that your own Master did not take care of this point, but alas, I must be the one to remedy the situation. Thus, my gift to you." He glanced as his Dauphin, gestured, and his Dauphin bowed and left the room. "He'll bring it shortly."
Whatever it was, Angela understood it would not be a gift.
T. L. FordAuthor
I like playing Dungeons & Dragons, clerics mostly, but sometimes thieves. I am particularly fond of characters with a childlike innocence and belief that her party mates are there to do good. Role play is a fun way to practice social skills, puzzle solving, and critical thinking.
When I designed campaigns and ran them, I aimed to give each player multiple goals (sometimes conflicting) and fun challenges, with well-rounded, logical histories to motivate them. I would list events that happened to their character as a child and let the player decide how the character was affected.
I even created and ran (with help) several weekend-long Live Action Role Playing Games (LARPs) at conventions. Three day, 24-hour games with 30-120 players. We wrote detailed histories for each character, put them in multiple groups, gave them goals, and let the game unfold to wherever the players took it.
When I wrote Stealing Magic, I wanted to extend the weekend-read adventure story, with events continuing to cascade the way they might in an RPG adventure. Angela needed a bit of responsibility and the experience of making decisions.
Dungeon Master, "You stand at the entrance to a cave."
Player, "I blow my Horn of Blasting down the entryway."
T.L. Ford is a programmer, writer, and artist. Most of her professional career was spent supporting the Patuxent River Naval Air Station as a local contractor in southern Maryland.