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on 10 July 2011
Melke is a wraith, which means she has the ability to walk unseen. After being forced to steal a necklace, she is hunted down by the victim of the crime, Bastian sal Vere. He explains that the necklace was strung with tears, and that without it, Bastian cannot break the curse that is destroying his family. He orders Melke to regain the necklace, in exchange for her brother to be healed. But she had given the necklace to the salamanders, the fire breathing creatures that live underground. She must risk her own life. Meanwhile, Bastian becomes involved in solving a brutal murder of a young pregnant girl in the town of Theirry. This is a strong character-based fantasy, full of romantic tension and gritty storylines.

I galloped through this book in the space of 3 hours.
Now usually that means that it was just too enjoyable to stop reading , but not this time.
The story hinges around a magic necklace that the hero's family stole from a mystical and vengeful sea creature.
Or to put it simply;
1. Hero has necklace
2. Sea monster wants necklace
3. Heroine steals necklace from boy to give to salamanders
4. Then steals necklace back to return to hero and so on......

The back cover says that this is a 'rich romantic fantasy', not in my book it isn't.
The front cover says 'A finely faceted gem'... well in my view it was more of a bludgeon, there was no subtlety and if not for the disturbing violent sexual imagery I would have said that it read like a book written for children.
The love story is completely unbelievable, the antipathy that the hero first feels toward the heroine is so overdone it is more of a caricature than a believable emotion.
Oh, and there is rape and sodomy of the two male characters, and the sub plot is the story of a 15 year old prostitute who is murdered by the man who impregnated her.

In conclusion, I have to say that if I could have the three hours back that I spent reading this book then I would do the ironing instead, it would be more enjoyable.....
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on 22 July 2007
I happened upon this book on a boring Tuesday afteroon and found reading it engaging and interesting. For serious fantasy fans... this story is esentially a romance. Shallowly buried under a few layers of mythology and lore the protagoninsts are essentially destined to overcome each other's prejudices and fears in order to become better people and the plot is personality driven. Whis is nice for the protagonists and good to read about. What distinguishes this book from the mass typed misstypings of people populating other people's genre reading lists is that the characters are more deeply drawn than usual, the peripherals are actually interesting and some elements of the plot are really original. This coalesces into a pleasant afternoon's escape and a warm glow that only a believable happy ever after can provide

Hopefully this author will continue to produce in a similar vein..

overall not a masterpiece but nor is it a bad read either
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on 22 April 2007
I was looking for a one-off read, i.e. no trilogies, when I came across this book. For the first time in a long while I completely finished a book within the space of hours. It is very character driven and you are drawn into their lives in the very first chapters. You really feel for the characters and get a sense of their pain & joy, and, if you also prefer a bit of romance then this is for you. So, for a good read on a rainy (or sunny) day I give this the thumbs up! I really do hope the author has another book in the pipeline.
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on 9 June 2007
I picked this up willing to give a new author a try and I pleased with the result. The story was really well paced and with just a few characters and locations it focused the story really well. It does get a little mushy towards the end and it is a little predictable in that but well worth the read for the rest of the story. I'll be looking out for her next book.
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on 31 July 2007
A romantic fantasy that has a truly interesting plot, with some really novel ideas (I loved Bastian's dog so much!). A very easy read that you can pick up and get into from the first chapter so a great summer read! If you like romantic fantasy you should enjoy this book.

Looking forward to her next book!
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on 22 September 2009
A brilliant first novel from Emily Gee, this tale centres around people and not events which is why I think it as received mix reactions. Its about people and not places how we react to one another and the development of opinions, emotions and self discovery.

There is fantasy, magic and romance but they are not the crux of the story it goes beyond that. I think that is what I like so much about this tale, it is a breath of fresh air to the genre. No it is not high powered magical battles, no great shadow of oppression facing a nation, but four people thrown together in a small arena of life and the tensions and reactions that follow. Its very real in its feeling as you read even though there are mythical creatures and family curses the human character and emotions; pride, hate, compassion, grief, fear, love, remorse, guilt and redemption all mix in this fantastic tale.

This book is one of my favourites and a well read copy will always have a place on my book case.
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VINE VOICEon 24 May 2015
Melke, a wraith (a creature that can go invisible), steals a necklace in order to save her brother from some salamanders. She doesn't realise however that the necklace is no ordinary one. She steals it from Bastian, a man whose family was cursed when a relative stole the necklace from a creature called a psaaron. The punishment inflicted on his family was horrific, their land and animals start dying and relatives are raped and murdered. As the story progresses we see Melke & Bastian work together in order to retrieve the necklace and break the curse.

I found this book very strange. On the one hand I liked the fact that it only has five (including a dog that Bastian can communicate with) main characters but I also thought it was overly long, very repetitive and at times quite poorly written. Also, I found the fantasy elements of the book a tad disappointing. I wish that Melke had more powers, turning invisible seems quite lame. Bastian's gift of speaking to animals could have been expanded on. I didn't like the very dark elements, and I think overall the basic story just wasn't interesting enough.
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on 14 August 2010
Melke is a wraith she steals a necklace so she can save her brother who is greiviously injured. Bastian the previous owner of the necklace makes a deal, he will take her brother to a healer if she steals the necklace back.

I loved this novel & read it from front to back in a day, her story telling sucks you in. It's not soppy either, the characters are multi faceted & flawed, the prose real & magical creatures terrifying. Melke is between a rock & hard place but she rises to the the challenge especially when faced with Bastian whom despises her & spits in her company quite regulary.
Batians dog Endal is the star of the show as far as I'm concerned & I wish I could see more of him & this wasn't a one off.

I will definately read more by this author here are the links for her next two books. The Laurentine Spy ------- The Sentinel Mage Enjoy....
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A fantasy novel which runs for four hundred and sixty three pages and sixty two relatively short chapters.

And it's a very unusual novel for this genre.

Because it's complete in one volume. And not the start of a trilogy or a series.

Main character is Melke. Who has the ability to move around unseen by mortal eyes. We join her just as she has stolen a necklace from a man and is evading his pursuit whilst she tries to get it to her clients. Some fire breathing Salamanders.

This a typical fantasy world for the human characters. With farmers and small townships. And humans who have special abilities. Such as Melke's. There's also Bastian, who is the viewpoint character in many chapters alternating from the ones seen through Melke's eyes. He can talk to dogs. And it's him whom Melke stole the necklace from.

She needs it to get her brother back from the Salamanders who are holdng him prisoner. And he needs it to lift a curse that hangs over his family.

As the two are forced together in order to achieve both their aims, Bastian is full of hatred for Melke because of what she's done.

But gradually, as Bastian's nice sister heals Melke's brother, we learn about the curse that hangs over Bastian's family. And about Melke's past as well. The curse means that time is running out for Bastian's sister. But to save the day Melke will have to succeed where her brother failed....

Not a lot actually happens for the first two thirds of the book. But that doesn't matter because the prose is supremely readable and the character interaction and the setting keep you hooked. The whole thing is character driven and the relationships between the two sets of siblings are compelling and engrossing stuff.

Bastian's visits to the nearest settlement do provide an interesting side plot also. And his power to talk to dogs leads to some great scenes, as his dog becomes a great character in it's own right.

The Salamanders and the other monsters of the story are very interesting creations because they come over as being completely different species who think and act in a manner unlike anything a human would do. The way they deal with any humans who have crossed them does though lead to a few moments of a rather adult nature, which is one aspect of the book that may not appeal to everyone.

But it's a book with memorable characters and setting and some great character interaction. And as mentioned it's a fantasy novel that is actually complete in one volume. So for all of that it's an excellent read.
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on 2 April 2010
I really enjoyed this - I actually read The Laurentine Spy first but, out of the two, I think I preferred Thief though both were good. The characters in Thief were interesting and believable - I felt a lot of sympathy and understanding for how these people had turned out and why.

Be warned: there are some pretty dark themes in this book. I don't want to give anything away but just be prepared as some of what happens is quite hard to read and could be triggering for some people.

I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for other books by Emily Gee as I think that she has something 'extra' over others in this genre. She has a lovely, lyrical style of writing and, when combined with an interesting, suspenseful story, makes for the best kind of fantasy book (I generally find that fantasy writers have cracking, imaginative stories but are let down by their writing style - not so here).
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