The Thief’s Tale
The Thief’s Tale is a story of two young brothers, one serving as enslaved Janissary under Ottoman rule, the other escaped that fate to live a life of thievery. It takes place in Istanbul in 1481.
Readers are introduced to Skiouros and Lykaion as they make their way from their Greek farm, robbed of their childhood for the purpose of serving the empire. Their paths diverge as Skiouros escapes, refusing to serve the Ottoman empire. As his brother swiftly rises in the Janissary ranks, Skiouros lives day to day on stolen goods and pockets picked. One day, he spies a wealthy foreigner and decides that it is a risk worth taking. The contents of the stranger’s pocket result in nothing but trouble, involving Skiouros in an assassination plot, and leading the brothers’ paths to converge again leading up to an exciting climax.
S.J.A. Turney’s writing is well-researched and informative, keeping true to historical facts. The plot is fast-paced and filled with action and adventure. Turney’s technique is, at times, overly descriptive – leaving nothing to the imagination. Additionally, there are moments when readers unfamiliar with the time period could be confused in a profusion of characters, names, and places.
The largest distraction, however, was the interior layout. White paper isn’t conducive to long periods of reading, cream/off white is a better option. The chapter headings lack artistic style and look a little unprofessional. Feet and inches marks (“) were used instead of quote marks (“ ”), and as a whole the narrative would perhaps benefit from some additional editorial development.
Overall, however, The Thief’s Tale has enormous potential and I would recommend it as an interesting novel for readers who enjoy this period of history or action-adventure tales.