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Smoke Thief, The
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The year is 1737 and humans remain blissfully unaware of the small, isolated drákon community of Darkfrith living in northern England's hills. Once a prosperous race originating from the Carpathian mountains, the drákon now find themselves in decline; not only are fewer males born with the ability to shift into both smoke and full dragon form, several generations had passed since the birth of a full shifting female.

By 1751, London is abuzz with the news of another successful robbery; the individual dubbed the "smoke thief" has struck again. Only a few people realise this increasingly infamous thief isn't human but drákon. Aware that this "runner" (a rogue drákon) risks exposing the tribe, the drákon Council decree the runner be captured and returned to Darkfrith for punishment. Christoff Langdon (Kit), Earl of Chasen and Alpha male of the tribe heads to London to find the thief, taking with him as bait the most powerful and desirable diamond the gem loving drákon possess, the "herte" (the heart of the tribe).

Catching the thief, Kit is amazed that not only is she a woman, but a female able to Turn. Taking Rue (aka Clarissa) back to Darkfrith, he secures an agreement that should she fail to find the Herte within 2 weeks, she will willingly return to Darkfrith as his wife. What Rue fails to realise is that Kit is fully determined that she return with him, willingly or not and take her rightful place as female Alpha. Rue is equally determined that she not fall back into the life of an ostracised Halfling in Darkfrith, her drákon blood tainted by a human father. On her 17th birthday (left uncelebrated by the tribe) she discovered she could fully shift; the first female in four generations with the ability. Assuming her role of Alpha female of the tribe, she would be forced to wed an Alpha male - Kit. Despite loving him even then, she never wanted an arranged union between them, and knowing that strict drákon code would never allow her to leave Darkfrith, she faked her own death and fled to London, gaining wealth and infamy as the "smoke thief".

With another "runner" thief in possession of "herte", Rue finds herself assisted by Kit, his presence leaving her struggling with both her attraction to the man she still loves and her resolution to not return to Darkfrith as he wants. Kit in turn finds it increasingly difficult to control his inner beast around Rue, a woman he very much wants willingly to return to their tribe. Despite the importance of retrieving the diamond, the pair soon face another problem; when injured, Kit loses his ability to control his shifting, and soon London is gossiping not only of stolen diamonds but also of dragons flying across the Thames.

I happened to stumble across this author whilst browsing, and intrigued by her titles and spurred on by the positive reviews she'd received, decided to give "The Smoke Thief" a read. I'm so glad I did; this is a great book! Although not as dark and action packed as Sherrilyn Kenyon's Darkhunter series, and without the humour of Gena Showalter's fantasy romances, SA wove an entertaining tale and I will certainly snap up copies of her other works. I am also pleased to discover that a sequel to this book, "The Dream Thief" is due for publication in Sept 06.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 September 2007
I read this book after reading its follow-up, "the Dream Thief", so some aspects of the story were already familiar to me. Shana Abé's world is that of a race of people, the Drákon, who can turn into smoke or dragons. Originally from the Carpathian mountains they area now living in Darkfrith in the North of England with the Marquess of Langford as their Alpha. He remembers the young girl he dubbed 'Mouse' who drowned aged 17 after being teased by the other drákon young girls.

However the Council of Drákon are worried as a jewel thief has been identified as a member of the drákon race, and yet none are allowed to leave and those who escape, called 'runners', are hunted down and killed. The Marquess plans to capture the runner by taking his special diamond to London for a museum display and catching the thief in the act. However all does not go according to plan when he gets sidetracked by a female drákon, discovering that she is Clarisse Rue Hawthorne, the 'mouse' who drowned nine years before.

Rue and Kit set out to find the diamond but Kit has decided on Rue as his bride although she is unwilling. Their hunt for the diamond is hampered by the fact that the drákon must keep their existence secret but also because they don't know the identity of the real thief, the other 'runner', and by Rue's care for street urchin Zane (hero of 'The Dream Thief').

There are some exciting scenes in this book where they race around London as humans, as dragons and as smoke; Kit is trying to wear Rue down into becoming his wife and yet she fears the seclusion and restricted life in Darkfrith, plus she needs to bargain for Zane's life as a human who is aware of the drákon. The romance aspect of the book is subordinate to the fun of the hunt around the London of the 1750s and some of the detail of dress and of location are very well written. This was an enjoyable first book in the series with both hero and heroine flawed and yet engaging.
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on 25 September 2013
The story is quite nice, if a little unexciting. Don't misunderstand me, there is allot of action going on, but the problem is that it passes you by in a wink. I felt that there were several aspects to the book that went unexplored. Quite frankly, it was a little fast-paced for me. It felt like the author was rushing through her story, and although I enjoyed it I felt that I couldn't quite keep up.
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