OF THIEVES AND ELVES by A. P. Stephens brings true champions and wicked evil in a story that reads quickly and stays in your thoughts long after it is done.
A monumental tragedy has befallen the Clan of Ionor, an ancient brotherhood of elven warriors. Concerned when their Master does not reach his secretive business in a distant kingdom, the Elders learn that Tryn, their beloved leader, has been captured by a cutthroat gang of bandits known as the Steel Claw. Yet this is not the darkest of their tidings. The relic under the clan's safekeeping, a weapon of terrible power that was forged by the gods themselves, is also missing. The Ionor dispatch Eonen, a headstrong Elder, and a young and talented apprentice, Tride, to rescue the Master and the relic by infiltrating the bandits' stronghold-the formidable Fortress of Toppledom. As the two determined elves hasten into the unknown beyond their borders to restore balance and honor to their clan, they encounter the true darkness behind the matter-the very origin of the world's evil. Allegiances will be twisted. The fates of many will be set into motion. And the destiny of one will be realized.~Book description
The underlying element of the plot is that one young warrior will have to learn to trust his elders and forge his path in the world. Eonen, who is the elder tasked with finding their missing leader, Tryn, must choose a companion to help him. In this, he turns to Tride, a talented elf who is disliked by his peers because he is not of true lineage to the brotherhood. Eonen trusts him and seems aware of his true potential and cares not what anyone else has to say about it. Knowing that Tride is still a neophyte in certain ways of the order, Eonen still takes him under his guidance and leads him to his destiny.
A. P. Stephens has an uncanny ability for describing action. From flights, fights, to verbal swashbuckling, you will get a very good idea of what is going on in the scene. Even some of the more well-known authors could take a lesson from A. P. He, also, delivers a bad guy that you will love to hate. As Halstrom and his Steel Claw band receive their tribute from the terrified citizens, you just want to reach into the story and crush him with your bare hands. The way he and his minions treat the oppressed makes their ultimate demise so much sweeter.
The first chapter or so was a little wordy and I had to re-read a few times to finally get through it. I think what made it slow going for me is the fact that A. P. was building the background so he could dive right into the story. Once I got past it, it was smooth sailing. Granted, there were a few other spots in the story where he got a little verbose with the description, but I let it pass because it does not detract from the story. When you’ve got to describe the history of a line of protectorate elves and their ancient ways, you need a little bit of room to do it with. Again, this was more of a problem with me and not necessarily a problem with the story.
In the end, I would recommend this tale to anyone who likes a fantastic story with really really bad guys. A 7 out of 10 or 4 stars out of 5.
Be sure and check out Stephens’ WHITE SHADOW SAGA series.