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Mark of the Thief (Praetor War)

Review

Mark of the Thief (Praetor War)

The treasonous General Radulf selects Nicolas (Nic) Calva, a slave in the mines south of Rome, to enter an accursed cave in search of Julius Caesar's bulla, a good luck pendant. Not only does Nic locate the bulla, but he also receives a mysterious marking on his back from Caela, a griffin that scratches him. Nick and Caela go to Rome, where he learns about the magic powers that come from the marking and the bulla, but the trip takes him further away from Livia, his enslaved younger sister.

Radulf intends to steal Nic's powers to overtake the notorious Praetors, so Nic goes into hiding while he continues to search for Livia. There’s also a deeper, magical connection between Radulf, Nic, and Livia --- one that Nic will do everything in his power to destroy.

Full of adventure, MARK OF THE THIEF closes with a startling cliffhanger that will keep readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

New York Times best-selling author Jennifer A. Nielsen has once again keyed into her world of make believe to produce a fantastical tale, the first book in a new Praetor War series. Nielsen has created a host of characters tightly woven into Roman mythology and history. And while she includes a plethora of historical names, places and even terminology from that time period, Nielsen centers her first person narrative on Nic, an underdog  who is constantly reminded of his lowly status amid powers that he neither expected to possess nor has any idea how to use. While the underdog-power combo is reminiscent of Harry Potter, Nic doesn't have the strong trio friendship that Harry has. Eventually though, Aurelia, who is an interesting character, to say the least, befriends Nic.

Nielsen throws in a handful of red herrings within her cast. Indeed, there are a handful of Jekyll-and-Hyde characters that make it is difficult to assess who is trustworthy and who is not. To add to the mix, Nielsen includes continual scene changes, which are both action-packed and un-hackneyed. Although Nielsen keeps her readers on their toes, they will be always cheering Nic on to win over evil. Full of adventure, MARK OF THE THIEF closes with a startling cliffhanger that will keep readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

Reviewed by Anita Lock on February 24, 2015

Mark of the Thief (Praetor War)
by Jennifer A. Nielsen