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Reviewed by Eduardo Aduna for Readers' Favorite
"The Thieves of Stonewood" is the first book in the 'Stonewood Trilogy'. Author Jeremy Hayes is off to a great start with this tale of adventure, betrayal, revenge and redemption. Set in the dingy streets of Stonewood, the novel follows the exploit of the unlucky thief Harcourt as he tries to obtain enough gold to cure Jalanna, his fiancee, of a burn scar that mars her face. Harcourt faces off against the City Guard, the Thieves Guild and a cult of fanatics all out to end his quest prematurely. In the city of Stonewood, people are not always what they seem and a single stroke of luck can change a person's destiny.
I have always enjoyed stories with good protagonists and in a genre where cynic overpowered thieves are the norm, Jeremy Hayes manages to make Harcourt a flawed but earnest character. Each of the other characters has their own troubled story, which further adds to the dark and seedy atmosphere that permeates the streets of Stonewood. The novel's atmosphere is further enhanced by various details that fuel the imagination of readers regarding the world that Harcourt lives in. Dornell was one of my favorite characters in this novel. His stolid personality coupled with his kindness makes him the perfect foil to Harcourt's impulsiveness and moral ambiguity. The fight scenes are realistic, gritty and bloody. Hayes has a way with words that make his fights flow with lightning speed while still maintaining a high degree of detail. Perhaps the best parts in the novel are the subtle plots and schemes that go on behind the scenes. It may follow the formula of some other thieves and cities novels but the way Hayes makes the entire plot unravel is well worth the read. The plot may be predictable to some but Hayes manages to close his fun tale of life in the gritty streets of Stonewood with a satisfying finish that left me panting for more.