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Bewitching dragons, smoke, urchins and responsibilities,
This review is from: Smoke Thief, The (Mass Market Paperback)
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.