28 June 2012

Excerpt Thursday: THIEFTAKER by D.B. Jackson


This week on Excerpt Thursday, we're welcoming historical fantasy author, D.B. Jackson. His title, THIEFTAKERset in 18th-century Boston, is the first in the Thieftaker Chronicles. Join us Sunday, when D.B.will be here to talk about the novel and offer a copy in the winner's preferred format. Here's the blurb:


Boston, Province of Massachusetts Bay, August 26, 1765

A warm evening in colonial North America's leading city. Smoke drifts across the South End, and with it the sound of voices raised in anger, of shattering glass and splintering wood. A mob is rioting in the streets, enraged by the newest outrage from Parliament: a Stamp Tax . Houses are destroyed, royal officials are burned in effigy. And on a deserted lane, a young girl is murdered.

Ethan Kaille, a thieftaker of some notoriety, and a conjurer of some skill, is hired by the girl's father to find her killer. Soon he is swept up in a storm of intrigue and magic, politics and treachery. The murder has drawn the notice of the lovely and deadly Sephira Pryce, a rival thieftaker in Boston; of powerful men in the royal government; of leaders of the American rebels, including Samuel Adams; and of a mysterious sorcerer who wields magic the likes of which Ethan has never encountered before.

To learn the truth of what happened that fateful night, Ethan must recover a stolen gem and sound the depths of conjurings he barely understands, all while evading Sephira and her henchmen, holding the royals and rebels at bay, and defending himself and those he loves from the shadowy conjurer.

No problem. Provided he doesn't get himself killed in the process.

Thieftaker is the first volume in the Thieftaker Chronicles, the new historical fantasy from D.B. Jackson. Combining elements of traditional fantasy, urban fantasy, mystery and historical fiction, Thieftaker is sure to appeal to readers who enjoy intelligent fantasy and history with an attitude.

**An Excerpt from THIEFTAKER**

Boston, Province of Massachusetts Bay, August 26, 1765

Ethan Kaille eased his knife from the leather sheath on his belt as he approached Griffin’s Wharf, the words of a warding spell on his lips. He had sweated through his linen shirt, and nearly through his waistcoat, as well. His leg ached and he was breathing hard, gasping greedily at the warm, heavy air hanging over Boston on this August eve. But he had chased Daniel Folter this far--from the Town Dock to Purchase Street, over cobblestone and dirt, past storefronts and homes and pastures empty save for crows and grazing cows--and he wasn’t about to let the pup escape him now.

The western horizon still glowed with the last golden light of day, but the sky over Boston Harbor and the South End shoreline had darkened to a deep indigo. Hulking wooden warehouses, shrouded in a faint mist, cast deep elongated shadows across the wharves. Clouds of midges danced around Ethan’s head, scattering when he waved a hand at them, only to swarm again as soon as he turned his attention back to his quarry.

Ethan stepped onto the wharf and peered into murky corners, expecting Folter to fly at him at any moment. The boy had shown himself to be a fool; now he was desperate as well, a dangerous combination. Ethan preferred to handle this without casting, but he already knew what spell he would speak if he had to.

“You’re mine now, Daniel!” he called. “Best you come out and face what’s coming to you!”

No answer. He crept forward, wary, his gaze sweeping back and forth between the warehouses that loomed on either side of the pier. He heard small waves lapping at the timbers, and the echoing cries of a lone gull. But Ethan was listening for the man’s breathing, for the scrape of a shoe or the whisper of a blade clearing leather.

After a few more steps, he halted, afraid to stray too far out onto the pier lest the pup sneak past him. If he lost Folter to the tangled streets of the South End, he would have to begin his search anew.

“You shouldn’t have stolen Missus Corbett’s necklaces, Daniel!” Ethan pitched his voice to carry, but his words were swallowed by the hazy twilight air and the sounds of the harbor. “Her husband is angry. He’s paying his hard-earned money to get her jewels back, and to have some justice meted out on her behalf.”

He waited, listening, watching.

“Your only way out is through me, lad. And I’m not going anywhere.”

Still no response. Doubt started to gnaw at Ethan’s mind. Had Folter found some other way off the wharf? Or was he simply smarter and more patient than Ethan had allowed?

Neither, as it turned out.

Ethan heard a footfall to his left and wheeled quickly, his knife held ready. Folter stepped from the darkness, the faint glow of twilight shining in his eyes and glinting off the dagger he carried.

“Corbett can rot fer all I care!” he said. Brave words, but his voice trembled, almost as badly as his blade hand.

Ethan shook his head and approached him slowly. “You know better, lad. Mister Corbett is a man of means. He decides who rots and who doesn’t.”

Folter was bigger than he remembered. He stood a full head taller than Ethan, with long limbs and a thin, bony face. His hair, damp and lank, hung to his stooped shoulders. His breeches were torn at the knees, his waistcoat stained; the sleeves of his shirt barely reached his narrow wrists. His knife had a long, curved blade, and though he passed it from one hand to the other, wiping his sweaty palms on his breeches, the movements were deft. Ethan guessed that he would be a formidable foe in a knife fight if it came to that.

“Tha’s not true,” Folter said. “Not all of it, anyway.”

Ethan stopped, leaving some distance between them. Folter’s gaze met his for a moment before darting away, first to one side, then to the other. He was looking for a way out or past—or through, if need be.




1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I guess you're on a blog tour. I found you at Lucienne's the other day. Today I was looking for an excerpt to show a friend. Good luck with your release!

adrianne@indra.com