Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Smoke Thief, by Shana Abe

Shana Abe
ISBN: 0-553-58804-4
Book #06-153

Clarissa Rue Hawthorne has made a name for herself in London as the Smoke Thief, a jewel thief as elusive as she is daring. Of course, no one knows that Rue is the person behind the thefts, and she likes it that way. Nearly ten years ago, she escaped Darkfrith, her hometown, and the clutches of her people, the drakon, a clan of shapeshifters with the ability to change into dragons. Unfortunately for Clarissa, her escapades have caught the attention of the very people she most wants to avoid, except that they are under the assumption that the notorious thief is a halfling male.

Christoff, Marquess of Langford and leader of the drakon, must catch the Smoke Thief before the clan is exposed to the mortal world. Kit is under pressure, because his clan is dying out and he must mate with a full-blooded female in order to carry on the line. Setting a trap for his prey, Christoff baits it with the Langford Diamond, gambling that the lure of the valuable jewel will be irresistible to his target. No one is more surprised than Christoff at the identity of the Smoke Thief, but when Clarissa proposes a plan to save the drakon, hunter becomes captive and Kit and Rue join forces for the good of their people.

Shana Abe has gifted readers with a gem of a story, taking an unusual premise and stamping it with her own magical touch. Kit and Rue are a sizzling combination, as wily and sensuous a couple as ever dreamed up by the greats of romantic fantasy. Abe's light touch with the lore and legend of the drakon makes for easy reading as she weaves their history into her plot. Kit is a wonderful hero, fully in charge of his people, charismatic and compelling, yet completely devoted to his chosen mate even in the face of all obstacles.

Rue's servants make for an excellent supporting cast, and, indeed, Zane gets his own story in Abe's next book, THE DREAM THIEF. The scenes in the menagerie are beautifully written, illustrating the growing trust and affection between Clarissa and Christoff in the midst of the animals' plight and their search for Herte, the Langford Diamond, the key to the drakon's survival. THE SMOKE THIEF is a magical read, as ethereal as smoke and incandescent as dragon fire. It takes a talented writer to carve out new territory in the realm of the paranormal romance, but Abe does the job with elegance and panache. THE SMOKE THIEF is a truly memorable love story, destined to be a classic.

No comments: