Barb & J.C. Hendee
Series or Stand Alone: Noble Dead series, Book Two
Release Date: January 2004
Book Site: http://www.nobledead.com/
My Rating: 4.75/5
Synopsis [from fantasticfiction.co.uk]:
On the heels of DHAMPIR, Barb and J.C. Hendee's acclaimed Fantasy debut, comes THIEF OF LIVES, the new novel featuring Magiere and Leesil, Slayers of the Undead....
Magiere the dhampir thinks that her nights of hunting vampires are over. After settling down in her newly adopted village of Miiska - now vampire-free, thanks to her and her half-elf partner, Leesil - she looks forward to quiet days tending to her tavern.
But far away in the capital city of Bela, a prominent councilman's daughter has been found dead on her own doorstep... and all signs point to a vampire. Knowing that the battered and burned village of Miiska could use an infusion of cash, Bela's town council offers a generous bounty to the dhampir if she will slay their vampire. Magiere resists, wanting nothing more than to forget her past and ignore her half-vampire nature. Only Leesil can persuade Magiere to follow her destiny - before more innocent lives are claimed by darkness.
**Caution: This review may contain minor spoilers...
While THIEF OF LIVES has a similar storyline to DHAMPIR I still enjoyed the heck out of it =) A surviving member of the first set of vampires from DHAMPIR has started his own coven in the capital city. He's not seeking revenge although he's still wary of Magiere and her team. While he and his new family are laying relatively low there is still some sloppy killing going on. After a councilman's daughter is found brutally killed, the town of Bela decides to call on Magiere to investigate and hunt the killer down.
Magiere is reluctant to leave Miiska and her tavern. After defending her new home from the first set of vampires, she just wants to live in peace with Leesil and Chap by the sea. But Miiska is still trying to recover from her last undead battle. So basically Magiere is guilt-tripped into traveling to Bela to hopefully save the people and return with the profit for Miika to use to rebuild.
Now one of the best things about THIEF OF LIVES (and most other 2nd books in series) is the fact that the author reveals more information about the characters, their backgrounds, and emerging powers, etc. Twists in the plot are either complicated more or ironed out a little to tease the reader but overall it accomplishes it's goal: MUST READ MORE!!! And for those that don't mind skipping around in a series (which I simply can't do for some reason) you'll be happy to know that you can get by just fine if you start out with THIEF OF LIVES.
I've already finished book 3: SISTER OF THE DEAD and I'm planning on getting the next ASAP =) Be on the lookout for my thoughts on the next installment.