Thoughtful Thursday: Thieves we love (giveaway!)

Thieves. They steal our reading hearts. Admit it — somewhere in your fantasy/sci-fi library is some charming rogue who won you over even as he/she lifted your purse. It’s what they do, damn them. With their clever tongue and even more clever hands. Their shifty eyes and even more shifty ethics. They play us poor readers like the marks we are. And despite that, we keep coming back for more.

We all have our favorites. Around here one such a one is Locke Lamora, along with his band of fellow con artists collectively known as The Gentlemen Bastards (also the title of the series, which begins with The Lies of Locke Lamora — think Ocean’s Eleven in a fantasy setting).

And who could leave out Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit’s reluctant thief who not only robbed a dragon of its greatest treasure, but stole his way as well into the carefully guarded halls of dwarven hearts. So let’s talk thieves, burglars, con artists, scammers, robbers and rogues.

Who is your favorite thief?
Please mention the book/series/author so other readers can find your favorite thief.

One random commenter will win a book from our stacks.

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BILL CAPOSSERE, who's been with us since June 2007, lives in Rochester NY, where he is an English adjunct by day and a writer by night. His essays and stories have appeared in Colorado Review, Rosebud, Alaska Quarterly, and other literary journals, along with a few anthologies, and been recognized in the "Notable Essays" section of Best American Essays. His children's work has appeared in several magazines, while his plays have been given stage readings at GEVA Theatre and Bristol Valley Playhouse. When he's not writing, reading, reviewing, or teaching, he can usually be found with his wife and son on the frisbee golf course or the ultimate frisbee field.

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  1. Bobby Berry /

    Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser by Fritz Leiber is an old favorite of mine. Just so much fun.

  2. Kelsier form Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson and Kaz from Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo.

  3. Misty Massey /

    Eli Monpress from The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron

  4. Mary Henaghen /

    Skid from Valedmar by Mercedees Lackey

  5. Mine will always be Bilbo.

  6. Noneofyourbusiness /

    Well, honestly it would be Bilbo Baggins himself from The Hobbit. A respectable hobbit drafted by Gandalf with the job description “burglar”, yet he becomes so much more.

  7. John Smith /

    I’m not sure I’d think of Bilbo as a “thief” character. How about a good dragon? Dragons steal tons of gold and treasure, and then sit on it like fire-breathing slugs. Or Artemis Fowl–wicked masterminds are always good!

  8. Jonathan /

    Widdershins, from Ari Marmell’s Widdershins Adventures (Thief’s Covenant, False Covenant, Lost Covenant, Covenant’s End).

    Shins’ special brand of insanity is so enjoyable.

    (If you’ve read the Stormlight Archive, think Lift, but better)

  9. Lady Morar /

    I’m going to go with a classic, and say Aladdin from the Thousand and One Nights. Hard to think of a more archetypal thief who comes into good fortune.

    • Jonathan /

      I’m sorry, but the original Aladdin was a brat. (I have strong feelings about this. Please ignore the following rant)

      His opportunity for riches is given to him totally at random, he disobeys the rules meant to keep him safe and as a consequence gets to keep two genies. Which he then squanders by only using them to produce feasts on gold plates. Then he spies on the princess, decides that she’s hot, and has his mother buy her hand in marriage for him (because he’s too lazy to do it himself apparently).

      He then loses everything because he hasn’t bothered to tell his wife of his phenomenal cosmic powers, but gets it back with almost zero effort because he still has a second genie (in at least some versions, it’s the princess who kills the evil wizard with advice from Aladdin, because Aladdin is still a lazy brat).

      • Lady Morar /

        Well yes, that’s what makes him the archetypal fool or “Jack” character in a fairytale. They get by through good luck.

      • Lady Morar /

        See the Librarians episode “And the Fables of Doom”.

  10. The Distinguished Professor /

    George Cooper from The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce. Despite being King of the Thieves, he befriends the actual future king (and his own future wife the King’s Champion) and is eventually made royal spymaster. Briar Moss from Pierce’s Circle of Magic series is a good one, too.

  11. While I really like Nicholas Valiarde from The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells, I’ll have to go with Eugenides from The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner.

    He steals the usual items like jewelry, but also people and kingdoms, time and stability. Last book in the series is coming out next year!!!

  12. I second Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Great fun and I hold them in affection.

  13. Nobody for Chris Wooding’s Frey of the Ketty Jay?

  14. How about Alec & Seregil from the Nightrunner series by Lynn Flewelling?
    Vlad from Jhereg by Steven Brust
    Loch from The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes?
    Royce & Hadrian from The Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan
    and then there are:
    Digger from Elizabeth Bunce’s StarCrossed
    Conn from The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas (he’s only a pickpocket but it is an excellent series)
    Ok, I’ll stop there. I do love thieves though!

  15. So… Vlad. Not to nit-pick, but with him and Artemis Fowl, I do think we need need a “crime boss” category.

    I don’t mean to offend; I just love this topic so much I can’t help bringing up points!

  16. These comments have caused a serious question to surface for me; are dragons thieves? How *do* dragons get their hoards? Are they ransom for princesses/princes they’ve abducted? Do they burn down castles and loot treasuries? How come the gold doesn’t melt?

    I’ll be obsession over this question all day, so thanks a lot, you guys!

  17. Dr Susan /

    Since you brought up dragons, Thea Harrison’s Dragon Bound starts with someone stealing from a dragon’s hoard. Her Elder Races are considered Paranormal Romance, but Pia’s reactions to the dragon’s outrage are hilarious.

  18. Decisions, decisions.

    Jean Lefleur from the Quantum Thief?
    “Slippery” Jim DiGriz from the Stainless Steel Rat?
    Sparky Valentine from The Golden Globe?
    Han Solo from the The Han Solo Adventures (I’ll always remember “Smash and grab! Nothing quite like it!”) and you thought he was just a smuggler and resistance fighter.
    Drake Majestral from WJW’s eponymous series?
    Locke Lamora from the Gentlemen Bastards by Scott Lynch?
    Jean Tannen from the same series? I guess he’s more like me than many of the others.
    Jamethiel “Jame” from P.C. Hodgell’s Godstalk?

    That’s a hard choice.
    I guess it’s a going to be Jean Tannen in the lead with Jame right behind and Jean Lefleur and Sparky tied for third.

    • Noneofyourbusiness /

      For the benefit of anyone trying to do a search: it’s spelled Maijstral in Walter Jon Williams’s eponymous series, and P.C. Hodgell’s book is spelled God Stalk.

    • Dr Susan /

      I’m ashamed of myself for forgetting Jame from God Stalk. I’ve read the first two books so many times I need to buy replacements.

  19. Lilrith /

    Durzo Blint who started out as a street rat thief and became something so much more will always be my favorite Rogue. From Brent Weeks Night Angel Trilogy.

  20. I have to go with Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit

  21. Althalus from David Edding’s The Redemption of Althalus.

    • Sethia /

      I have this sitting on my shelf, but haven’t read it yet. Don’t know why, I love David and Leah Eddings! Thanks for the reminder!

      • Noneofyourbusiness /

        I recommend it! Thanks to The Cleaner for reminding me of Althalus.

  22. Misty Massey, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

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