The Blacktongue Thief

Tor. May 2021. 416p. ISBN 9781250621191. $25.99. FANTASY
Kinch Na Shannack learns that strange circumstances can bring essential acquaintances together when he and a loosely bound group of highwaymen try to rob Galva on the White Road. Their robbery is a failure, but they escape with their lives; Galva is an exquisite fighter who wields with magical precision the shield Kinch covets. Kinch and Galva later set out on a Tolkienesque quest through their Europe-inspired world, during which they are joined by fellow thieves, more warriors, a witch, and a cat. Each member of the party has their own goal, and secrets they hide from the others. The journey is made more tenuous by memories of the Goblin Wars, and news that giants have attacked a frontier city.
VERDICT Readers of epic fantasy novelists, like Tolkien or Brandon Sanderson, will enjoy this journey, which is by turns fun, magical, or terrifying for the travelers. Buehlman (The Lesser Dead) offers a departure from his horror novels in this fantasy with dark undertones. With fabulous examples of invented languages and dialects, this title is transporting.
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