by Shana Abe

October 2005
ISBN: 0-553-80448-0
Reviewer Graphic Button Bantam Books
Trade Paperback

Romance readers are in for a treat! Shana Abeís latest novel offers up a multi-layered tale spun around a fantastic legend. From the crystalline forest and the remote castle in the mountains the story unfolds, bringing fantasy to life.

A dashing jewel thief is the rage of London. The Smoke Thief comes in on a whisper and can vanish into thin air. He steals only from the elite of the ton, those who parade their wealth with gemstones and pretentious airs.

When word of this unusual criminal reaches the corners of England, one community is alarmed. The tribal councilmen have assembled at Chasen Manor to discuss the matter. Surely this must be a runner, one who has escaped the boundaries and constraints of tribal life. His exploits bring the eye of the world too close to their sanctuary. He must be found and contained. Christoff, the Marquess of Langford will have to make another appearance in London. As the leader of the tribe it is his duty, and as a member of the tonís elite, he can provide ample inducement to attract such a thief.

When Christoff, also known as Kit, decides to use the tribeís prized diamond as bait, he has no idea that it will attract more than his illusive prey. As the diamond goes on display in the capital, Kit and his men move through the throng, searching for a sign that one of their own kind is at hand. Kit is astonished to find that the thief he seeks is not a man, but a woman from his past. One he thought had perished long ago.

Clarissa Rue Hawthorne fled her home at the tender age of 17. Armed with nothing but a determination to live free, she reinvented herself many times over the years. Now secure in her role as a modest young widow, she is free at last to support herself using her unique attributes. The call of the tribeís diamond is too strong to resist, and Rue must see it. She knows that it is a trap, but has no plans to take the fabulous gem. She also cannot resist a glimpse of her childhood crush, the young leader of the tribe. Golden and breathtaking, Christoff Langford can still make her heart stand still.

Once started, the siren call of The Smoke Thief entices the reader set aside everything else. I found the book to be compelling and riveting. The attraction between Kit and Rue is incendiary, but the book offers so much more. There is fantasy and danger to keep the pace sharp, with a crisp writing style that offers up just the right amount of fable with the plot. This may be the first story I have read by Ms. Abe, but it certainly wonít be the last!

Reviewed in September 2005 by Paula.

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