Jody Smith hasn’t had an easy life. Raised on the streets, his only skills are cunning and thievery. Jody wants out, but every time he tries, the remnants of his old life drag him back in. Now, the man who “raised” him wants Jody for one last score, the big one. The job that will set them up for life. Jody has his doubts, but agrees to feel out their new mark, Lord Cyril Belmont.
Cyril has all the outward appearances of wealth, but his family finances are in ruin. He’s in the process of selling his ancestral home and trying to figure out how he’ll make his way in the world. When an old acquaintance invites him for a night out, Cyril reluctantly agrees and meets the charming Tobias Wentworth, late of India.
Despite the fact Cyril is a potential mark, and despite his disguise, Jody is captivated by Cyril. And the feeling is mutual. With Cyril, Jody finds his facade slipping away. But after so many lies, Jody’s betrayal, however unintentional, is inevitable. When it comes, Cyril must decide if what he had with Jody was real or just another in a long string of lies.
The Thief is a fairly quick read that dips into the angst, but never becomes completely consumed by it. Though the plot is weak, the main characters work well enough and they prevent the book from being boring.
Jody and Cyril are basically stock characters. We don’t see them develop a great deal, but they are sweet together and they work because of that. Cyril sees the best in Jody, regardless of his past, and that acceptance reads as genuine. And as tough as Jody wants to be, he desperately wants to be something more for Cyril. They aren’t deep characters, but they have enough heart to make them engaging. That said, not all of their actions make much sense. Cyril was far too quick to take Jody back given how devastated he claimed to be. There wasn’t much believable conflict when there really should have been given the nature of Jody’s betrayal.
The plot is pretty thin and basic. There’s not a lot of originality to be found and it reads as somewhat flat. The challenges Cyril and Jody face, such as they are, are minor and never pose much of a threat. I think this part of the reason the characters failed to achieve much growth. There just wasn’t enough to drive them forward. The story isn’t terrible, but it lacks depth and had there been more substance, I think The Thief would have been more well rounded.
There’s not a lot of flash to The Thief. It struggles to define itself as particularly original and the plot is predictable from the start. But Jody and Cyril are a nicely balanced couple and their story is compelling enough to make The Thief enjoyable for most readers.