Capers and Castles: A Guide to the 10 Must-Read Fantasy Novels Featuring Thieves

Discover the captivating world of thieves in fantasy novels. From daring heists to cunning schemes, these must-read books offer action, suspense, and thrilling twists. Explore the top picks that will keep you on the edge of your seat. #fantasybooks #thieves #mustreadnovels

Trial of Thieves by Jon Cronshaw

Fantasy novels often offer a unique twist to traditional crime stories, and tales about thieves are no exception.

Whether it’s a heist gone wrong, a daring escape, or a cunning scheme, these stories are full of action, suspense, and thrilling twists.

Here are ten must-read fantasy novels about thieves that will keep you on the edge of your seat:

1. “The Lies of Locke Lamora” by Scott Lynch.

Set in the city of Camorr, the Gentlemen Bastards series follows the adventures of Locke Lamora and his band of thieves. The books are filled with complex heists, daring escapes, and political machinations, and the characters are both lovable and deeply flawed. Lynch’s writing is sharp and witty, and the world of Camorr is a rich and fully realized setting.

2. “Thief of Time” by Terry Pratchett.

Set in Discworld, this novel follows the adventures of thief-turned-monk Lu-Tze and his journey to prevent Time itself from being stolen. Pratchett’s signature wit and humour shine in this book, making it a must-read for fans of his work.

3. “Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo.

Set in Bradugo’s Grishaverse, this story follows a group of six criminals hired for a nearly impossible heist. With a diverse cast of characters and fast-paced action, Six of Crows is a thrilling ride from start to finish.

4. “Farseer Trilogy” by Robin Hobb.

This classic fantasy series follows the story of FitzChivalry Farseer, an assassin and thief who is forced to navigate the dangerous world of the Six Duchies. Hobb’s writing is rich and descriptive, and the characters are complex and fully realized. Fitz is a compelling protagonist, and his adventures are both thrilling and thought-provoking.

5. “Riyria Revelations” by Michael J. Sullivan.

This six-book series follows the adventures of Royce and Hadrian, two thieves who find themselves caught up in a web of political intrigue and ancient magic. The witty banter between the two leads, combined with Sullivan’s intricate world-building and fast-paced action, make Riyria Revelations a must-read for fans of the genre.

6. “The Master Thief series” by Ben Hale.

A delightful romp through a world of thieves, con artists, and other unsavoury characters. The main character, Jute, is a street thief who finds himself drawn into a larger scheme that will test his skills and loyalty. The books are filled with twists and turns, and the writing is both witty and action-packed.

7. “Lightbringer series” by Brent Weeks.

This series follows the adventures of Gavin Guile, a powerful magician and master thief who must navigate the dangerous world of the Chromeria. Weeks’ writing is fast-paced and action-packed, and the world of the Chromeria is rich and complex. The characters are fully realized, and the twists and turns of the plot will keep you on the edge of your seat.

8. “Mistborn series” by Brandon Sanderson.

Set in the world of Scadrial, the Mistborn series follows the story of Vin, a young thief who discovers she has the ability to use magic. Sanderson’s writing is fast-paced and action-packed, and the world of Scadrial is rich and complex. Vin’s journey from street urchin to powerful Allomancer is both thrilling and heart-warming, and the twists and turns of the plot will keep you on the edge of your seat.

9. “Thief of Magic” by Trudi Canavan.

This second book in the Millennium’s Rule series follows the adventures of Rielle, a young thief who discovers she has a talent for magic.

10. “The Thief’s Gamble” by Juliet E. McKenna.

This book is the first in a series of novels that follow the adventures of Kaira, a young thief who finds herself caught up in a world of magic and political intrigue. With a strong and likable protagonist, fast-paced action, and intricate world-building, The Thief’s Gamble is a must-read.

If you love fantasy with thieves, you can get my novel Birth of Assassins for free as part of the Ravenglass Universe starter library.

The Twenty Best Magic Systems in Fantasy

Discover the top twenty coolest magic systems in fantasy literature, from Allomancy in Mistborn to The Force in Star Wars. Join us on a journey of wonder and imagination!

Magic systems in fantasy literature are like the spices in a curry, the kick in your favourite cocktail, or the jam in your doughnut (note to self: must order some doughnuts…and cocktails).

They’re the magical ingredient that makes the world feel truly fantastical.

Here, are some of the coolest magic systems that have graced the pages of fantasy literature.

Allomancy – Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson

Allomancy, featured in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series, is a magic system that’s all about balance. The Allomancers ingest metals and ‘burn’ them to gain specific abilities. It’s like swallowing a coin and suddenly being able to jump over buildings. It’s all very scientific, you see.

The One Power – Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

The One Power in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time is divided into male and female halves: Saidin and Saidar. It’s a bit like a magical tug of war, where balance and cooperation are key. Just remember, this one could lead to going mad, so don’t get too carried away.

Naming – The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss

In Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicle, knowing something’s true name gives you power over it. It’s a bit like calling your dog by its full name when it’s been naughty. Except in this case, you could control the wind, fire, or even time itself. Now that’s powerful.

The Skill and The Wit – Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb

In Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy, magic comes in two flavours: The Skill and The Wit. The Skill is all about telepathy and compulsion, while The Wit is a deeper, more primal magic that forges bonds with animals. It’s like being a magical Dr. Dolittle.

Lygari – The Broken Empire Series by Mark Lawrence

Lygari in Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire series is a magic of manipulation. It involves bending reality to one’s will, like convincing the universe that gravity is merely a suggestion. It’s the perfect magic system for anyone who’s ever wanted to argue with physics and win.

Charter Magic – The Old Kingdom Series by Garth Nix

Charter Magic in Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series involves drawing symbols to create spells. It’s a bit like magical calligraphy, where a beautifully drawn Charter Mark could save your life, or a poorly scribed one could turn you into a frog. So, remember to cross your ‘t’s and dot your ‘i’s!

 The Warrens – Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson

The Warrens in Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen are a series of magical realms that mages draw power from. Each Warren is tied to a specific element or concept. It’s like having a magical timeshare, with the added bonus of cosmic power.

Hands of Power – Lightbringer Series by Brent Weeks

The Hands of Power in Brent Weeks’s Lightbringer Series involve turning light into physical substances. Each colour has different properties and uses. It’s like being a magical artist, only instead of painting a rainbow, you’re using one to conquer the world.

Orogeny – The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin

In N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth Trilogy, Orogenes have the ability to manipulate thermal, kinetic, and related forms of energy to quell or create earthquakes, essentially making them living fault lines. This magic system is as much about geology as it is about power, making it a truly ground-breaking addition to the genre.

Glamour – The Glamourist Histories by Mary Robinette Kowal

In the Regency-era Glamourist Histories series by Mary Robinette Kowal, Glamour is a magic system that allows one to create illusions by manipulating strands of the ether. It’s like painting with light and heat, weaving them together to create a masterpiece of deception.

The Grisha Orders – Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse presents a world where the Grisha, gifted individuals, possess the ability to manipulate matter at its most fundamental levels. Divided into three orders (Corporalki, Etherealki, and Materialki), the magic feels like a blend of science and art, with a dash of military discipline.

Elemental magic – Codex Alera Series by Jim Butcher

In the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher, citizens can control elemental furies – spirits of earth, air, fire, water, and metal. It’s a captivating blend of Roman history and Pokémon-like creature collection, with a high-stakes twist.

Dust – His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

In Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, Dust isn’t just dirt. It’s a mysterious, elemental particle that is linked to consciousness and can reveal profound truths about the universe. It’s as if quantum physics had a magical, philosophical cousin.

The Lores – The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin

In N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy, godlings and gods can use one of four lores – Sieh (lore of childhood), Zhakkarn (lore of war), Kurue (lore of love), or Nahadoth (lore of chaos and change) to manipulate reality. It’s an epic, divine twist on the concept of ‘knowledge is power’.

Sympathy – The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss

Another magic system from The Kingkiller Chronicle is Sympathy, a scientific, almost mathematical system of magic. It involves creating a sympathetic link between two objects so that what happens to one happens to the other. It’s like the most complex, magical version of the domino effect you can imagine.

Thaumaturgy – The Craft Sequence by Max Gladstone

In Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence, Thaumaturgy is a contractual magic powered by starlight and gods. Its practitioners, known as Craftsmen and Craftswomen, can manipulate energy, matter, time, space, and even souls—often via legalese. It’s as if a law degree came with a side order of reality-bending power.

The Discipline – Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind

In Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series, the Discipline isn’t just about self-control. It’s a state of mind that allows one to access and use Additive and Subtractive Magic. It’s like if meditation could unlock the ability to manipulate life, death, and everything in between.

The Four Disciplines – The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini

Next, we have the Four Disciplines from The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. These involve the control of magic via the ancient language, the ability to transform matter, the ability to store energy in gems, and the power to enter and manipulate the minds of others. It’s a magical buffet that covers all the bases from mind control to energy manipulation.

The Deathly Hallows – Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

There’s more to the Harry Potter series than waving wands and shouting Latin phrases. The Deathly Hallows, a trio of powerful magical artefacts, are a mere legend to most, but to others, they’re the ultimate magical upgrade. Cloak of invisibility, anyone?

The Force – Star Wars by George Lucas

Yes, Star Wars counts as fantasy literature. The Force, that mystical energy field that gives Jedi their power, is an iconic magic system. It’s essentially telekinesis, mind control, and precognition rolled into one. Use it wisely, young Padawan.

And there you have it – twenty of the coolest magic systems in fantasy literature.

Whether you’re a burgeoning wizard, a keen reader, or just appreciate a good magic system, we’ve got you covered.

After all, who needs reality when you can have magic?

Behind Every Hero: Notable Sidekicks in Epic Fantasy

Explore fantasy literature’s unsung heroes—the steadfast sidekicks. From hobbits to wolves, they shape narratives with loyalty, humour, and courage.

Sidekicks & Sundry: Memorable Aides-de-Camp in Fantasy Literature

Fantasy literature, with its entrancing realms and bewitching narratives, has forever been the refuge for those who crave a bit of magical escapism.

But let’s take a moment to tip our proverbial hats to the unsung heroes of these tales—the trusty sidekicks.

They may not always bask in the limelight, but we’d be hard-pressed to imagine our heroes traversing treacherous terrains or vanquishing dastardly villains without them.

Samwise Gamgee (The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien)

We’d be as forgetful as a goldfish to not mention our dear old Sam. This hobbit doesn’t just carry Frodo’s luggage, but on occasion, Frodo himself.

Who needs a GPS when you’ve got Samwise?

Armed with his unyielding loyalty, pot of potatoes (boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew), and the odd heroic monologue, Samwise truly encapsulates the spirit of a fantasy sidekick.

Nighteyes (Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb)

Who wouldn’t want a wolf as a sidekick? Nighteyes, with his ancient wisdom and candid observations, steals the show in Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy.

While Fitz might be the royal bastard with assassin skills, it’s Nighteyes who provides the emotional support, humour, and even philosophy.

Fancy a good telepathic chat? Look no further.

Jean Tannen (Gentleman Bastard Sequence by Scott Lynch)

Every con artist needs a reliable partner, and Jean Tannen fits the bill perfectly for Locke Lamora.

Jean isn’t just your token big guy with an axe but a scholar, strategist, and a dab hand at intricate swearing.

He’s the meticulous planner to Locke’s hasty schemes.

His loyalty is as unwavering as his love for fine brandy.

Without Jean, Locke would be as lost as a pirate in a desert.

Bitterblue (Graceling Realm Series by Kristin Cashore)

Introduced as a minor character in ‘Graceling,’ Bitterblue blooms into a steadfast sidekick in ‘Fire’ before seizing the main stage in her titular book.

She might be a queen, but her relentless quest for truth and justice, combined with her pragmatic approach, make her a superb sidekick.

Also, she manages to retain her royal dignity while dealing with mystical nonsense, which is quite a feat, isn’t it?

Tia (Aru Shah Series by Roshani Chokshi)

Tia, the pigeon who’s really a vahana (vehicle of a deity), adds a dash of plucky charm and sass to the Aru Shah Series.

Sure, Aru Shah’s reincarnation as a Pandava is pretty cool, but who can overlook a pigeon who can transmogrify into a flashy car and dispense sage advice, all while looking impeccably stylish?

Asha (The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon)

An epic fantasy by Samantha Shannon, ‘The Priory of the Orange Tree’ introduces us to Asha, a dragon slayer of repute and a steadfast ally.

 Asha provides an invigorating contrast to the courtly intrigues with her bluntness, courage, and a healthy dose of dragon-related badassery.

Wayne (Mistborn Series: Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson)

Wayne, an expert shapeshifter and quick-witted con artist, adds a dash of levity to the intense world of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series.

 Armed with an impressive array of accents, a love for hats, and a bizarre sense of humour, Wayne serves as the perfect foil to the more serious Waxillium.

They’re the dynamic duo of the rough-and-tumble world of the Roughs.

Loial (The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan)

Loial, the Ogier scholar from Robert Jordan’s sprawling ‘Wheel of Time’ series, is as endearing as sidekicks come.

This giant, book-loving, somewhat naïve character offers a softer and often humorous contrast to the tumultuous world around him.

Despite his peaceful nature, Loial is stalwart in his loyalty, proving time and again that there’s more to this gentle giant than meets the eye.

Gurton (The Axe and the Throne by M. D. Ireman)

‘Gruff yet tender-hearted’ could be the motto of Gurton, the loyal sidekick from M. D. Ireman’s ‘The Axe and the Throne.’

With his masterful skills in tracking and survival, Gurton is more than just a supporting player.

His unyielding loyalty and unexpected depths keep the readers engaged and rooting for him.

Sophronia (The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin)

Sophronia, a godling in a child’s form in N.K. Jemisin’s ‘The Inheritance Trilogy’ provides comic relief, poignant moments, and powerful insight.

While she might appear as a playful child, her wisdom and ability to see through deception add layers to her character, making her an unforgettable sidekick.

Syl (The Legacy Chronicle by T.J. Garrett)

The Legacy Chronicle gives us Syl, an impish sprite who accompanies the main character, Alex.

Witty, fun-loving, and full of surprises, Syl is the perfect counterpoint to the series’ darker elements.

We’ve heard of a light at the end of the tunnel, but a light leading you through a magical world? Now that’s special!

Finn (The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble’s Braids by Michael McClung)

In Michael McClung’s Amra Thetys series, Finn is the steadfast companion of the titular thief, Amra.

A wizard with a mysterious past, Finn brings a balanced mix of wisdom and levity to the adventure-filled narrative.

His faithfulness to Amra, despite her criminal lifestyle, adds a touching depth to his character.

Minalan’s Familiars (Spellmonger Series by Terry Mancour)

The Spellmonger series introduces us to an unconventional sort of sidekick—a group of magical familiars who assist Minalan the Spellmonger.

These familiars, including a feisty fay, a resourceful raven, and a motherly hawk, each contribute their unique magic and perspective, making Minalan’s adventures a magical delight.

Kestrel (Kings or Pawns by J.J. Sherwood)

Kestrel, a cheeky yet highly skilled thief from the Steps of Power series, serves as an engaging counterpoint to the seriousness of the royal intrigue surrounding him.

His unorthodox methods and quick wit bring a refreshing touch of humour to the narrative, making him a memorable sidekick in this epic tale.

Snickers (Legends of Dimmingwood series by C. Greenwood)

In C. Greenwood’s ‘Legends of Dimmingwood’ series, Snickers might be a squirrel, but he’s a loyal friend and companion to the series’ protagonist, Ilan.

Don’t underestimate this furry little chap—his keen senses and quick reactions often help Ilan out of sticky situations.

 Just goes to show, you don’t need to be big to make a big impact.

Bayaz (The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie)

Bayaz, the First of the Magi in Joe Abercrombie’s ‘The First Law’ Trilogy, may seem like a typical wise old wizard at first glance.

However, his mysterious past, hidden motives, and a decidedly manipulative streak add layers of complexity to his character.

He serves as a guiding light and occasional puppet master to the trilogy’s protagonists, ensuring that the narrative is anything but dull.

Falcio’s Greatcoats (The Greatcoats series by Sebastien de Castell)

Falcio’s companions, Kest and Brasti, in Sebastien de Castell’s ‘The Greatcoats’ series, form a trio that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

They provide much-needed camaraderie, banter, and support for their leader, Falcio, making their adventures a delightful ride.

Their unwavering loyalty to each other and their shared cause makes them more than sidekicks—they are brothers in arms.

Kip’s Squad (Lightbringer Series by Brent Weeks)

In Brent Weeks’ ‘Lightbringer’ series, Kip’s squad of talented misfits serves as an engaging ensemble of sidekicks.

From the wise-cracking Gunner to the brave and resolute Teia, each member brings unique strengths to the table.

The dynamics within this diverse group are humorous, heartwarming, and at times, heart-wrenching, making them an unforgettable part of Kip’s journey.

Bronn (A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin)

Let’s turn to George R. R. Martin’s sprawling saga, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire.’

Bronn, the sellsword who becomes an unlikely sidekick to Tyrion Lannister, is a fan favourite.

His pragmatism, dry humour, and surprising loyalty to Tyrion provide a refreshing contrast to the intrigue-laden world of Westeros.

And who can forget his notable mantra, “I’ll stand for the dwarf?”

Iorek Byrnison (His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman)

In Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’, Lyra’s journey wouldn’t be quite the same without the mighty Iorek Byrnison.

The Panserbjørne (armoured bear) adds muscle and an unusual wisdom to Lyra’s quest.

Also, he’s a giant talking bear who can make and mend armour, so he’s ticking quite a few boxes on the cool sidekick checklist.

Tasslehoff Burrfoot (Dragonlance Series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman)

The Dragonlance series introduces us to Tasslehoff Burrfoot, a kender (a race akin to hobbits) whose curiosity and kleptomania often lead to humorous and unexpected situations.

Tasslehoff’s sense of adventure and knack for getting out of sticky situations make him a sidekick to remember.

He’s the kind of fellow who’d ‘borrow’ your keys, wallet, and possibly your socks, but you’d still want him around for his unwavering optimism and courage.

Calcifer (Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones)

In Diana Wynne Jones’ ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’, the fire demon Calcifer plays a key role as a sidekick.

Calcifer powers the titular castle and aids the young protagonist, Sophie, in her quest to break her curse.

With his sarcastic humour and hints of a deeper, more complex past, Calcifer lights up the narrative—and not just because he’s a literal flame.

Jimmy the Hand (The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist)

From Raymond E. Feist’s ‘Riftwar Saga’, we have the charming and resourceful Jimmy the Hand.

This master thief may start as a minor character, but his courage, quick-thinking, and knack for getting in and out of trouble make him an unforgettable sidekick.

Whether he’s navigating the dangerous alleys of Krondor or the intrigues of court, Jimmy proves time and again that a clever mind can be as potent as any sword.

The Luggage (Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett)

Finally, where would a list of sidekicks be without The Luggage from Terry Pratchett’s brilliant Discworld series?

This sentient, multi-legged travel case made of Sapient Pearwood has been a loyal and, shall we say, ‘forceful’ companion to Rincewind the inept wizard.

Unflinchingly loyal, literally eating up foes, and offering an infinite amount of storage, The Luggage redefines the term ‘travel buddy.’

Each of these sidekicks, in their unique ways, enhances the epic narratives they are part of, providing support, camaraderie, humour, and occasionally, a reality check for our heroes. They may not be the ones wearing the crown or sitting on the throne, but their role in shaping the story is just as important, if not more so.

Who are your favourites? Share yours in the comments.

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