Kinch Na Shannack owes the Takers Guild a small fortune for his education as a thief, which includes (but is not limited to) lock-picking, knife-fighting, wall-scaling, fall-breaking, lie-weaving, trap-making, plus a few small magics. His debt has driven him to lie in wait by the old forest road, planning to rob the next traveler that crosses his path.
But today, Kinch Na Shannack has picked the wrong mark.
Galva is a knight, a survivor of the brutal goblin wars, and handmaiden of the goddess of death. She is searching for her queen, missing since a distant northern city fell to giants.
Unsuccessful in his robbery and lucky to escape with his life, Kinch now finds his fate entangled with Galva's. Common enemies and uncommon dangers force thief and knight on an epic journey where goblins hunger for human flesh, krakens hunt in dark waters, and honor is a luxury few can afford.
Horror author Buehlman (Between Two Fires) impresses in his tongue-in-cheek fantasy debut. Kinch Na Shannack is indebted to the Takers Guild for his tutelage as a thief, and now needs to put his knowledge into action to pay his debts. He and his companions take to the Forest of Orphans, aiming to rob passing travelers. But instead of the easy targets they were hoping for, they get Galva, a female warrior from Ispanthia who easily trounces them. The only one to survive the skirmish, Kinch brings news of the attack to the Takers Guild and is tasked with a vague mission to follow and befriend Galva. Though the Guild refuses to reveal its motives, Kinch agrees and joins Galva on her journey to the giant-ravaged city of Hrava in Oustrim. Along the way, Kinch learns of Galva's quest to rescue Ispanthia's abducted queen, Mireya, and discovers the atrocious secrets of the Guild. With his freedom at stake, Kinch must decide where his loyalties lie. Packed full of magic, mayhem, and mischief, Buehlman's world and characters are artfully rendered, though the trust between Galva and Kinch develops unbelievably quickly given their first meeting. Still, this dense series launch is sure to win the author new fans.