The Thief by Claire North The Thief by Claire North
Narrator: Peter Kenny
Series: The Gameshouse #2
Published by Hachette Audio on November 3, 2015
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy
Length: 3 hrs 41 mins
Format: Audiobook
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The Gameshouse is an unusual institution.

Many know it as the place where fortunes can be made and lost through games of chess, backgammon - every game under the sun.
But a select few, who are picked to compete in the higher league, know that some games are played for higher stakes - those of politics and empires, of economics and kings . . .

In 1930s Bangkok, one higher league player has just been challenged to a game of hide and seek. The board is all of Thailand - and the seeker may use any means possible to hunt down his quarry - be it police, government, strangers or even spies . . .

I’m not a fan of playing hide-and-seek. When I was a kid, I was always afraid everyone else would go inside or to another kid’s house and just leave me hiding. I don’t think it ever actually happened, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t worry about it. And it was even worse if it was dark.

The hide-and-seek game in The Thief is awesome though. The “board” is Thailand in the 1930s and the stakes are huge, but the game might be unfairly weighted. This is the second in the trilogy and I think they should definitely be read, or listened to, in order. Thene’s game in The Serpent was not exactly fair either, but that was nothing in comparison to the disadvantages our player is dealing with here. It’s a thread thoughout – the Gameshouse may not be as fair as it (she) would like you to believe.

Once again, North does  wonderful job building her world. Thailand in the 30s is not a place I’m familiar with but I love how she made us feel like we were there. Once again, the story is narrated by an unseen watcher who takes us with him to observe the game being played, which makes it a natural fit for audio. Remy Burke is the first to hide. He agreed to the game when he was drunk, and is a half-English half-French six foot tall white man with little money trying to hide in Thailand – he stands out. But he’s an experienced player and knows that not only is it a game about hiding, it’s also about finding the other player when the sides switch.

This one definitely sets up the third. I even like the three novella set up . Each is a self-contained game, but they need to be read in order to get the full feel of the series.

About Claire North

Claire North is the pen name for the Carnegie-nominated Catherine Webb, who also writes under the name Kate Griffin. Catherine currently works as a theatre lighting designer and is a fan of big cities, urban magic, Thai food and graffiti-spotting. She lives in London.