~posted by Deborah B.
Fantasy tales are rife with characters from the seedy underbelly of society. Robin Hood, a mythical English robber, is the hero of Disney’s 1973 animated film, where many children are first introduced to the “loveable rascal” thief-type. Robin Hood’s shenanigans were so much more fun than any other Disney film, at least until Aladdin introduced yet another loveable, rascal, thief character. The message learned? Thieves in movies and books have all the fun and none of the consequences… at least until they’re caught. Even then, friends will probably bail a thief out of the noose, but, if old grudges run deep, they might let the thief’s heels drum to the hangman’s dance. A thief’s friends are, after all, liars and scoundrels.
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
While not the first thief story I ever picked up, the Gentleman Bastard trilogy is a top favorite for its convoluted plot structures and well-built characters. Each book follows a classic story arc (one is a grand heist), and time-jumps between chapters give the story depth but can be a bit hard to keep track of.
Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick
Readers will find themselves entrenched in the political machinations of a delightfully complicated underworld. Complete with thieves’ cant and sword fights, fans of Scott Lynch will be thrilled with this new addition to the genre.
The Scroll of Years by Chris Willrich
Poignant phrasing to make you pause, coupled with action & travel that spans the globe. The book is a longer read than most genre fiction because of philosophical meanderings, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Noteable for being primarily set in an Eastern civilization, instead of the genre’s atypical European setting.
Thief’s Covenant by Ari Marmell
A girl with her own personal god takes to the street after a horrific event leaves her without family or friends. After finding a kind-hearted patron and being introduced to high society, Widdershins scouts her targets at a party before robbing their houses later that night. Life is relatively simple, until… (you’ll have to read the book for the rest). Notable for having a female character who is not entangled in mooshy romance stuff.
Rogues edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois
Anthology of thief short stories, well-edited and great for discovering new authors.
Starcrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Digger is looking for escape after a job gone wrong and ends up as a lady’s maid in the frozen countryside, where the family she serves is not quite as they seem.
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
Gen is ordered to steal an impossible artifact on pain of death. He journeys with a group to find the artifact, but of course… a thief has his own agenda.
Luck in the Shadows by Lynn Flewelling
In this epic saga, a teenage poacher is taken under the wing of a thief/spy he meets in jail. They end up traveling the world together, seeking information on the developing war.