On Valdemar during the reign of Queen Selenay, his cold Uncle Londer Galko raises orphaned Skif as if the lad is a criminal. Though Skif laboriously works long hours at his uncle's Hollybush Tavern, his guardian sees the lad as a grudge earning his supper or dying.
Required to attend school due to the royal edict, Skif eats breakfast there and becomes efficient at hiding food to dine on later. His ability leads him to meet Deek, a pickpocket, and from that encounter, Bazie, an adult who cares what happens to his charges. Skif joins Bazie's family of young thieves and becomes one of the best at robbing from the wealthy as he could sneak in and out of a home like a ghost can walk through a wall. When Skif steals a horse left unattended, the "magical" steed abducts him instead. Now his adventures take a new spin especially when someone murders his beloved mentor and Skif must work with the Heralds and Alberich if he is to see justice is served.
For long time fans of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series, TAKE A THIEF is quite a treat as Skif first appears in the mid 1980s Heralds of Valdemar trilogy. The story line is well written and fits quite nicely in the Valdemar Universe circa 1376 AF. Skif may be young, but is a survivor who given the opportunity heroically thrives. The support cast provides depth to the plot while insuring continuity to the main tales. Ms. Lackey's latest fantasy epic lacks nothing except many sub-genre fans will scramble for other books describing life during the reign of Queen Selenay.
This book, Take a Thief (TaT), gave me a whole new wiew of the Kingdom of Valdemar and it capital Haven. We get to have a close look at the poorest parts of Haven and the life lived there by all kinds of people. TaT is about Skif, his early life as an orphan and a thief before he was Chosen and for a little time after that. When TaT starts out Skif is ten years old and at the end he is maybe 13. It is astounding that Ms Lackey manages to pack so many actions to like and horror at, so many people to care for and dislike and so much excitment into this book. As we follow Skif in his life we visit all kinds of places, from the poorest of bars to the Royal Palace and all sorts of places in between. The descriptions of the back alleys, the laundry rooms and the wealthy houses are masterful and gives you a real fealing of that you are present at the scene! We also get a good look at Herald Alberich moving around in Haven, a look that also make you sit up and take a good look at what you really thought you knew about him! All of this really makes me want to read Alberich's story, and as soon as possible! All in all I want to recommend this book, but with a small warning. After reading this book I could not stop myself, I went back and reread all of my Valdemar books in order to see what this new information "clicked" into place. There is a very good chance that you will do the same!
In this book, you learn the background of Herald Skif... Thief. It gives background as well into the Weaponmaster Alberich. Skif plays a role in the "Arrows of the Queen" trilogies. This book (like "Oathbound/Oathbrakers", "Brightly Burning", "Exile's Honour", do for Kerowin, Lavan Firestorm, Alberich) gives a more full acount of his lif before being chosen, and how Havens adapted to having a thief in the Collegium! If you have never read any of the other Herald of Valdemar, you could still get to know, and life, Skif. It would be a good introduction to the Valdemar stories. This is classic Mercedes Lackey- punchy, interesting, good characters, and fits nicely with the other Valdemar tales.
I found this book to be entertaining and as with all of Mercedes books i was unable to put it down untill i had finished. This book really gives you an insiders look on what it is like to become a herold of Valdemar and what the trainees go through as well as how they change and mature. I thought that this was a good book to give fans a real insight into what the characters we love so much might of been like before they were chosen.