After trying out a few different genres of books recently (check out my genre snob post), I decided to go back to the action/adventure side of things and check out The Thieves of Legend by Richard Doetsch. Featuring Michael St. Pierre as the main protagonist, The Thieves of Legend follows Michael and his ex-girlfriend KC as they travel to China to steal ancient artifacts. Part spy novel and part thriller, the novel is the fourth part of the Michael St. Pierre series and promises to be the most exciting installment yet.
The Thieves of Legend begins with Michael St. Pierre on a dangerous mission in Italy, working to obtain a secret file and mysterious Chinese puzzle box. Unfortunately for him, the items are missing, and he finds bodies in their stead. Later, after witnessing even more murders, Michael is able to escape. Soon afterwards in New York, he is propositioned by an Army Colonel to do some clandestine contract work. The strange part is that Michael is certain that the same Colonel was also in Italy committing some of the very murders he witnessed days earlier. Michael flatly turns down the Colonel’s request, but a strange turn of events forces another meeting with the Colonel hours later in an NYPD interrogation room, with Michael as a suspect in a murder. Even stranger, the Colonel has files on all of Michael’s past exploits, and threatens to expose him if he doesn’t accept this assignment. With no other options, Michael agrees to fly to China to do the Colonel’s bidding. Additionally, a recent fight between Michael and his girlfriend KC leads her to leave him and fly to her hometown in England. Unwittingly, KC winds up on a different flight and finds herself working on the same plot that Michael is. What will happen once they begin this new job in China? Who is ultimately behind their involuntary employment?
I’m no stranger to the strong male protagonist/inferior female character dynamic in spy/adventure thrillers (i.e. Dirk Pitt, Jordan Sandor, etc), but this one seemed different. In most of the novels I’ve read, the male lead is coupled with an adventurous but slightly inferior female whom he works with or must save at some point. It’s not really a damsel-in-distress type of thing going on, but usually the female characters opposite the male lead are usually in need of rescue at one point or another. However, in The Thieves of Legend KC is different. She is just as capable as Michael and just as determined. It was refreshing to see the conflict between the two of them and it really fleshed out their characters. It give this story a bit more characterization, which I often feel is the weak point in these fast-paced action works. I found the rest of the book to be exciting and more than adequate for the genre. Michael was a likable character who didn’t overplay the hero role, and the plot twists and turns kept me turning the pages. In all, if you’re a fan of my other reviews of the Jordan Sandor series, this will definitely be another book (and series in general) to check out. I can’t wait to dig in to the first three books in the series myself!
4 out of 5 stars
The Thieves of Legend by Richard Doetsch
Atria Books (2012)
Hardcover: 406 pages
Special thanks to Atria Books for my review copy!