Author: Mason Thomas
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 11/06/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Action/Adventure, Crime Fiction, Drama, Fiction, Gay, Gay Fiction, Historical, Paranormal
Scoundrel by nature and master thief by trade, Mouse is the best there is. Sure, his methods may not make him many friends, but he works best alone anyway. And he has never failed a job.
But that could change.
When a stranger with a hefty bag of gold seduces him to take on a task, Mouse knows he’ll regret it. The job? Free Lord Garron, the son of a powerful duke arrested on trumped up charges in a rival duchy. Mouse doesn’t do rescue missions. He’s no altruistic hero, and something about the job reeks. But he cannot turn his back on that much coin—enough to buy a king’s pardon for the murder charge hanging over his head.
Getting Garron out of his tower prison is the easy part. Now, they must escape an army of guardsmen, a walled keep and a city on lockdown, and a ruthless mage using her power to track them. Making matters worse, Mouse is distracted by Garron’s charm and unyielding integrity. Falling for a client can lead to mistakes. Falling for a nobleman can lead to disaster. But Mouse is unprepared for the dangers behind the plot to make Lord Garron disappear.
You know when you read a spectacular, special, thrilling, fantabulous book? And you want to tell everyone how spectacular, special, thrilling, and fantabulous it is? But you struggle to figure out a way to do that in a way that is something more than “read this book!”, and by that you mean right now? Yeah. That’s me. With this book. And these characters. And the emotions I experienced while reading this, chewing up every scene like it was comfort food or first time ever food or the best dessert ever food.
Within the first few pages, I was already enamored with this author’s writing. A new-to-me author that had me captivated and excited and hopeful, hopeful that these feelings would continue the whole way through.
This dithering was tediously predictable. Mouse knew he didn’t fit the conventional adventuring figure. His size alone was often enough to give potential clients pause. In dim lighting, he could easily be mistaken for a youth. But Mouse wished just once a client would let reputation govern over appearance.
You see, Mouse is shorter than some, maybe even most adults. He’s slight and muscular and presents a youthful face (lucky dog), all of which mask the attitude (well, ok, not always), struggles, secrets, and hard-won confidence he carries.
That’s me, buckling up and ready for this freakin’ ride!
This universe of Mouse’s is a clever mix of “olde world” – think castles and beast of burden-drawn wagons and swords and messages sent by actual human messengers – and “alternate world”, mostly due to the names of places and random things. No matter what, it’s a dangerous, uncertain, and unfair world for most who inhabit it, much like, say, The Middle Ages. The few who aren’t existing hand-to-mouth, or thieving in hopes of making some progress in life, or those “fortunate” enough to be in some kind of uppercrust employ, are the uppercrust themselves: lords and kings and princes, and those who happen to be born within those families.
Keep that last bit in mind while you’re reading. 😉 That’s the only clue you’ll get.
I’m sharing this just because I love it:
”Ah, be careful, my friend,” Mouse told him. “The taste of adventuring is the most potent of wines. Too large of a draught, and you might find yourself lost in it.”
Mouse is quite knowledgeable about how most parts of life work, no matter one’s role or level of living within it, but even he has some things to learn. (Eee! It’s taking all I have not spill the beans LOL)
This isn’t an overly dense story in terms of detail, nor is it overloaded with meaningless characters or randomly placed offshoots from the main plot. Yes, it felt like it was taking me forever to read this book as I went along. And I loved that. I loved it! Every word either provided insight or moved the story along or opened the door to either resolution or more questions. We have a compact cast here, along with only a few changes in setting, and it made me feel like I was experiencing a play, enjoying that naturally understood pace and presentation of a stage production.
To delve deeper, that characters as a whole are refreshingly unique in that they’re not all that unique, but rather like most of us regular folk: a lead character in Mouse a I’ve already described him; a magician of sorts who tosses her intelligence around like the heavyweight it is, and with glee, mind you; a young, rich, man whose position could garner him power and prestige, things he’s already well-acquainted with, and yet he’s already showing signs of seeing the big picture, as well as wanting to follow his heart, and do the right thing; a younger brother who has a moral compass stronger than most but refuses to use it to control others, even if it means less for him; a father who holds more strength than his son realizes; and a lord set to inherit a Dukedom who is tired of the rules and is ready to do what it takes to get what he wants, as well as what he knows to be right.
I have yet to mention Garron, the naturally co-leader of this story, if you will. He starts this story off in a less than ideal set of circumstances. It also takes longer to get to know him, especially compared to how quickly we learn things about Mouse and his personality and current situation. It works. Boy howdy, does it work. The slower unfolding of Garron’s own turn of events lately, and his past, and his feelings about all of it, work with the just as carefully built and expertly revealed story as a whole.
I highlighted so many passages on my kindle while reading this. Most of them would give too much away. Please just trust me when I say this writing is a joy with which to spend your precious reading hours. The dialogue, the descriptions, the unexpected twists and turns, and revelations. Every story should be so lucky as to be told like this.
Generally, as a rule, I do not reveal endings of the books I read. I want you to be as surprised or elated or disgusted or intrigued as I am when you reach those last words. All I’ll say, something I have to say, is this story has such an emotional ending, more emotional than I’ve experienced in a while. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, given what all I’ve said up to this point, that I was left breathless.
What I really wanted to do when I finished reading this? Turn right back around and start reading it again.
Mason Thomas is someone whose stories of which I will read more. I would really love more time with Mouse, Garron, and whomever else from this universe has a story to tell.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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