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An Illusion of Thieves

Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
Series: Chimera, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
5 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A ragtag crew with forbidden magic must pull off an elaborate heist and stop a civil war in An Illusion of Thieves, a fantasy adventure from Cate Glass. 

In Cantagna, being a sorcerer is a death sentence. 

Romy escapes her hardscrabble upbringing when she becomes courtesan to the Shadow Lord, a revolutionary noble who brings laws and comforts once reserved for the wealthy to all. When her brother, Neri, is caught thieving with the aid of magic, Romy's aristocratic influence is the only thing that can spare his life - and the price is her banishment. 

Now back in Beggar’s Ring, she has just her wits and her own long-hidden sorcery to help her and Neri survive. But when a plot to overthrow the Shadow Lord and incite civil war is uncovered, only Romy knows how to stop it. To do so, she’ll have to rely on newfound allies - a swordmaster, a silversmith, and her own thieving brother. And they'll need the very thing that could condemn them all: magic.

©2019 Carol Berg (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

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well done

this book had an excellent development of character, excellent pace, and a very interesting spot we could still use a little more information about what makes the magic work, but I still give it five stars

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Utterly Fabulous!

Cate Glass aka Carol Berg has out-done herself with this book. The characters and world building are so real that they sweep you away to another world. The characters feel like your best friends and their incorrigible kid brother. And like real people, they all have secrets and they all do fascinating and unpredictable things, which leads to a fascinating and unpredictable plot, especially when a bratty princess puts their morals to the test. The narrator for the audiobook also does a fabulous job, bringing voices accents and dialects to life.

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A brilliant new series for Cate Glass (Carol Berg)

In a world where magic has been banned and anyone displaying any signs of ability to perform it is drowned, murdered ... or worse (yes, there IS worse). Amidst the terror, a group of secret magic users discovers each other. They have the talent to do great things, though the law forbids it. If they are caught, they will die and probably their entire family with them.

Unlike the author's earlier writings, this series promises to be ongoing. Somewhat emotionally less intense, it is nonetheless breathtaking in its complexity and originality. Beautifully written. I read it in two long evenings. Give me a week and I will read it again. Carol Berg, all of whose books I have read as hard copies or on Kindle is -- in my opinion -- a very underrated fantasy author. She creates characters who, by happenstance, bad luck, politics or some bizarre law, have been beaten down to near nothingness, yet survive, find their power and are greater than before. You cannot steal or crush their greatness.

She hadn't written anything in a few years and I have been hoping she would emerge with a new set of stories. She has.

Under the new name of Cate Glass, "An Illusion of Thieves" has the feeling of a (hopefully!) long series. A bit more upbeat than earlier works, the story is exciting and highly complex. For the entire book, it's as if these folks are tiptoeing through a vast minefield where even a minor misstep would mean destruction for all. How many secret magickers live under the constant threat of terror of death and ruin? We can only guess, but I'm sure there are many and laws notwithstanding, many other secret practitioners exist on all levels of society.

If you have not read any other of Carol Berg's books ... well ... given the state of our world, could there be a better time to start? She is a wonderful author and I highly recommend all of her books to anyone who enjoys these kinds of stories.

These days -- since my eyes are not quite what they were -- I prefer audiobooks. I listened to this the day after it was released. All of her previous books I read first in print, either on Kindle or as a hard copy ... and later as audiobooks.

Carol Berg (Cate books are not like other fantasy novels. Her characters are not typical fantasy characters. Her stories aren't long quests to save the world from a dark lord or prince. They are profoundly personal, deep, and sometimes, heartbreaking ... yet good in the end, great events. You'll meet dragons, lords, prisoners, sorcerers and many more. If you've been looking for something new -- Cate Glass's new book is a fine start, after which, you can joyfully dig into Carol Berg's earlier series.

You will not be disappointed.

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Kushiel's Dart meets Mystborn

Combine elegant language, interesting characters, mysterious magical gifts, incredible tension, a courtesan turned scribe, a caper, and you get Illusion of Thieves.