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Among Thieves: A Tale of the Kin (Tale of the Kin 1) (English Edition)
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Among Thieves: A Tale of the Kin (Tale of the Kin 1) (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Douglas Hulick
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit


Athel the Grinner wasn't grinning. In fact, he didn't look that good at all. A long night of torture will do that to a person.

I knelt beside him. He was naked, his arms lashed across the top of a barrel, the rest of him collapsed behind. I avoided looking at the bloody mess that had once been his hands and feet.

"Athel," I said. Nothing. I slapped the smuggler lightly on his sweaty cheek. "Hey, Athel." His eyelids fluttered once. I wove my fingers into his hair, took hold, and raised his head so he could see me. If any of the sympathy or pity I felt showed on my face, so be it. I don't have to like what I do sometimes. I said his name again.

Athel's eyes opened and began wandering around the shadowed room. I waited for him to notice me in the candlelight. He did.

"Drothe?" he said. His voice was slow and rusty as he spoke my name. I could tell he was having trouble focusing on me in the flickering light.

"Grinner," I replied, "want to tell me something?"

"Wha…?" His eyes began to close.

I gave his head a shake. "Athel!" His dark eyes snapped open, feverish in their intensity. I leaned forward and locked my gaze with his, trying to hold his attention by force of will.

"Where's the reliquary?" I said.

Athel tried to swallow, but coughed instead. "Already told you it's coming. I just…"

"If it's coming," I said, "why did I have to chase you halfway across the city? Why did I have to drag you off that skiff as it was launching into the bay? Doesn't seem like you've been playing straight with me, Grinner."

Athel shook his head, his hair tugging gently in my hand, and grinned weakly. "Wouldn't cross you, Drothe—you know that."

"But you did," I said. I tapped one of his ruined fingers, making him gasp. "You told me earlier, remember?" I let him think back on the pain and remember why he had decided to talk the first time. "You've put me in an awkward position, Athel. I have a buyer and no reliquary for him. That undercuts my reputation. That makes me unhappy. So, either you tell me where to find that reliquary, or I come back after my people have done some more persuading."

I could tell he was thinking about it. His eyes glassed over, and his jaw wobbled softly as he argued it over inside. If the Angels had any mercy, they would let him crack the rest of the way right now. I knelt next to what was left of him and waited, hoping it would end here.

When Athel finally came back up from wherever he had been, I could see the Angels weren't on my side tonight. Despite all he had gone through, he was still able to summon up a piercing look and give me the weakest shake of his head.

I placed his head gently back on top of the barrel and stood.

"I need to know who he sold it to," I said. "I need a name."

"I'll get you one. Don't worry," said a voice from the darkened warehouse around us.

Shatters came walking into the candle's circle of light, his two assistants behind him. One was carrying a bucket of seawater.

The Agonyman was small, even shorter than I, with broad shoulders and no neck to speak of. His hands were long and expressive, like an artist's, and he was constantly cracking his knuckles as he walked. Shatters stopped beside me and smiled cruel, hungry smile. "He's close to the edge now. Won't take much more to get him babbling like a drunken whore." He popped a thumb joint for emphasis.

The assistant with the bucket stepped forward and emptied it over Athel. The smuggler sputtered, then howled as the salt water reached his ravaged hands. I turned away as the other assistant began sorting through the torturer's tools that had been set aside during my interview.

"Let me know when he's ready." My voice came out thick. "I'll be outside." Shatters's laughter followed me through the shuttered warehouse until I opened the door and stepped outside.

I blinked in surprise at the sunlight that struck me in the face. Dawn already? I squinted at the soft glow that seemed to suffuse every tower and building of the Imperial capital. Ildrecca tried its hardest to look peaceful and serene in that light, but I've known the city too long to be fooled so easily. Nice try, old friend.

Bronze Degan was across the street, leaning in a doorway. I went over.

"Anything?" he asked.

"Not since the last time I went in." I gestured to the sun in the east. "When did that happen?"

"Not too long ago." He yawned. "How much longer?"

I felt myself yawn in return. I hated that. "Hell if I know," I said.

Degan grunted and rearranged himself in the doorway. Half again as tall as me, with fair hair and skin, broad shoulders, and a lean build, he seemed to fill the entire space on his own. Some of that came from the cut of his clothes—the flowing, long green linen coat, left open to show off the copper-colored doublet beneath, the matching full-cut breeches, the wide-brimmed hat—but just as much came from the man himself. He had an air of easy, capable confidence about him that caused people to give him a healthy berth even in the most crowded city streets. Of course, it didn't hurt that a bronze-chased sword hung at his side, either—a sword that marked him as a member of the Order of the Degans, an old mercenary order in an even older city. No one entered into that select brotherhood of sell-swords without plenty of personal cachet to begin with.

I slid into the doorway beside Degan, sat down on the stoop, and dug out two ahrami seeds from the pouch around my neck. They were small and oval, the size of my largest knuckle, and darkly roasted. I rubbed them between my palms to let them absorb some sweat. A sharp, acrid smell, with subtle hints of cinnamon, earth, and smoke, rose up from my hands. I felt my pulse quicken at the aroma.

"Breakfast," announced Degan.

I looked up. "What?"

"I've decided you owe me breakfast."


Degan gave me a wry look as he silently counted off three fingers.

"Ah," I said. "Well, I suppose you earned it."

Degan snorted. There had been three men with Athel the Grinner when I'd finally tracked him down—three very large men. For me, they would have been an impossible barrier; for Degan, they were little more than an inconvenience. If not for him, I'd never have made it out of that plaza, and Athel would still be grinning.

"Thanks," I added. It was something I didn't say to my friend nearly enough, and something he didn't worry about hearing. We'd been running the streets together long enough to have moved past words and gestures like that.

Degan shrugged. "Slow night. I needed something to do."

I smiled and was just slipping the ahrami seeds into my mouth when a muffled scream came out of the warehouse. Degan and I looked up and down the street, but there was no one to hear Athel's cries—or, at least, no one who felt inclined to investigate. I shuddered in the silence that followed.

I had been planning on letting the seeds sit in my mouth for a while, to savor the quickening of my pulse in anticipation. Now, I simply bit down. The ahrami filled my mouth with smoky, bittersweet flavor. I chewed quickly, swallowed, and waited for them to hit.

They came on fast, as the straight seeds always do. One moment I was tired and half asleep; the next, I felt revitalized. The cobwebs that had been draping themselves across my mind for the last several hours receded, replaced with a sense of alertness. I could feel the worst of the tension drain out of me. My back loosened, and the pressure that had been building behind my eyes faded away. The fatigue was still there—I wasn't going to be running across the city again any time soon—but I didn't feel as raw as I had a few moments ago.

I sat up a little straighter and worked the kinks from my shoulders. My mind was settled, my pulse was steady, and my eyes were sharp once more.

I shook the bag around my neck before slipping it back under my shirt. Only a few seeds left. I'd have to restock soon.

We settled back and waited. I thought I heard a few more screams, but the city was coming alive by then and the yells seemed softer than before, so it was hard to tell.

One of Shatters's men came out to get me just as the ahrami was starting to wear off. By the time I made it back into the warehouse and stood at the Agonyman's side, the rush had faded completely, leaving me in a less than charitable mood.

"Well?" I said.

Shatters was rinsing his hands and forearms in a large bucket of water that had been set atop a crate. "Gotcher name."

"And?" I said.

"Amazing how good this feels after a long night," he said, nodding toward the water. "Ya get warm, working on a man that long." Shatters glanced at me sideways. "Makes you appreciate the simple things, you know?"

I stayed silent. I suspected I knew where this was going, but I wanted to let him get there on his own.

"Like hawks," said Shatters. "Hawks are simple things."


He nodded. "You want something, you give a person hawks and he gives it to ya. The more you want it, the more money you give him."

I nodded. This was going where I had thought it would: Shatters was trying to shake me down.

"Pretty simple," I said. "Except we already agreed on a price."

Shatters paused as he leaned over the bucket. I noticed that the water had taken on a reddish tint. "This took longer than I expected," he said flatly. "I figure if something takes that long to get, it's worth a higher price. A man don't hold out like Athel did for sheer stubbornness." He ran a finger through the water. "You want to hear what he had to say,...

Présentation de l'éditeur

Shortlisted for the David Gemmell Morningstar Award 2011 and a finalist for the Kitschies Golden Tentacle

There is no honour among thieves . . .

Ildrecca is a dangerous city, if you don't know what you're doing. It takes a canny hand and a wary eye to run these streets and survive. Fortunately, Drothe has both. He has been a member of the Kin for years, rubbing elbows with thieves and murderers from the dirtiest of alleys to the finest of neighbourhoods. Working for a crime lord, he finds and takes care of trouble inside his boss's organization - while smuggling relics on the side.

But when his boss orders Drothe to track down whoever is leaning on his organization's people, he stumbles upon a much bigger mystery. There's a book, a relic any number of deadly people seem to be looking for - a book that just might bring down emperors and shatter the criminal underworld.

A book now conveniently in Drothe's hands . . .

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 669 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 430 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0451463900
  • Editeur : Tor (1 avril 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B004QO993A
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Un voleur pour sauver le monde? 1 octobre 2011
C'est clairement pour moi un livre pour un public masculin, et avec un résumé type "histoire d'un voleur évoluant dans une organisation criminelle, à la recherche d'une relique" (comme je l'ai lu sur Amazon) je n'étais a priori pas très tentée.

Mais... les premières phrases accrochent tout de suite et le premier chapitre avec la scène de torture met en appétit. C'est très bien écrit et ça fait du bien d'être dans la peau d'un personnage à la moralité douteuse.

Suivent 50 à 100 pages d'ennui, que j'ai lues parce que c'était bien écrit et que je suis têtue. C'est l'histoire de Drothe, un voleur plutôt de bas étage (voir pire, c'est une balance). Il n'y a alors pas de magie. Ni de personnage féminin. Ni d'enjeux politiques. Ni de noirceur épique comme dans la dark fantasy. Il n'y a que de faibles enjeux de pouvoir et un mystère lié â un objet.

Et puis arrive le moment où le héros pense qu'il est trahi par sa sœur. Premier personnage féminin (fort). Et la magie fait irruption, petit à petit. Finalement le système politique, social et religieux se met aussi en place. J'ai tous les éléments que j'aime (pas d'histoire d'amour ceci dit mais cela ne m'a pas manqué). L'histoire est très bien racontée et comme le héros, on progresse à tâtons (ce qui est facilité par le récit à la première personne) Tout fini par se mettre très logiquement en place.
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2 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Par Kallisthène TOP 500 COMMENTATEURS
Je crois que Walter Jon Williams disait qu'il faut vivre afin d'avoir quelque chose sur quoi écrire, rappelons nous également la vie variée vécue par Clifford Simak ou les origines modestes et le passage dans la Navy de Glen Cook qui peuvent aider à comprendre le réalisme des soutiers de la compagnie noire.

A cette aune, je n'hésiterai pas une seconde, Douglas Hulick doit être issu d'une longue tradition mafieuse ! Comment expliquer autrement la qualité de l'écosystème de Trafiquants, Voleurs, Guetteurs, Faussaires, Tortionnaires, Assassins, Receleurs, Mouchards, Indics, Parrains et autres Frappes ayant leurs habitudes mais également leur vie réelle dans la Grande Cité Impériale de Ildrecca (une sorte de Constantinople époque Renaissance).

Pour nous autres ... euh ;-) en tous cas pour moi, impossible d'imaginer une telle vie en dehors des règles strictes que nous connaissons à notre époque.
Car aucun groupe ne vit sans règles, il en va ainsi de la grande communauté des Voleurs (The Kin dans le texte), toute l'habileté de l'auteur est de parvenir à faire fonctionner sous nos yeux un tel tissu, certes prompt à se rompre, car le propre de ces sociétés est tout de même d'être instable.

C'est bien entendu dans un tel moment d'instabilité que nous projette l'auteur, après un petit intermède dans lequel le, croyez-vous, « Héros » attend que le tortionnaire qu'il a mandaté fasse cracher le morceau à un Receleur qui l'a doublé ...
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.3 étoiles sur 5  115 commentaires
99 internautes sur 102 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Clever, exciting new fantasy 2 avril 2011
Par J. Shurin - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
Among Thieves is the debut novel from Douglas Hulick. Set in the grimy fantasy city of Ildrecca, it is the tale of Drothe, a hooded-assassin type and member of the city's underworld legion of criminal "Kin".

With a scruffy, dual-wielding piratical looking gentleman and a cover quote from Brent Weeks, the reader can be excused for thinking this is your standard act of adolescent escapism - roguish heroism with a sarcastic protagonist. And, to a certain degree, all of these things are true. But when push comes to shove, Among Thieves is more Locke Lamora than Night Angel. It is a cunning and well-scripted action-adventure with a surprisingly complex character at its heart. I expected guilty pleasure and found genuine entertainment.

Drothe (granted, a rather unfortunate name) is a "Nose". He works as an information-gatherer for one of the city's "Upright Men" gathering information on the city's delicate political scene. Ildrecca is divided up by the gangs of "Upright Men" with the Emperor (the land's proper monarch) and the mysterious Gray Princes playing their own, grander, game in the background. As a Nose, Drothe gets into all sorts of trouble - especially since he's running his own cons on the side. Fortunately, his best friend, Bronze Degan, is often there to bail him out.

If nothing else, Mr. Hulick gets sixteen bonus points and a silver star for not making Drothe exceptional in any way. He's clever, but knows he's not as smart as many of the real players in the Kin's underworld. He's pretty fiesty, but certainly no match for the hardened killers he encounters. He's well-connected, but still a minor part of the Kin. As for supernatural, prophesy-fulfilling powers? Er... he's got night vision (the legacy of an awkward childhood ritual), but most of the time it is more of a hindrance than a help. In fact, Drothe's unique only for his Sam Spade-like ability to be in the right place at the wrong time.

Ildrecca is a fascinating city in a thoroughly complicated world, but, like any well-crafted novel - we only learn about it through the eyes of our protagonist. As Drothe creeps about in search of a missing artifact (a book, of all things), he unravels layer after layer. Mr. Hulick's use of his homebrewed Thieves' Cant is another noteworthy element along this vein. He drops in his criminal slang naturally, letting the reader determine the meaning of each word through context and repetition. Considering the depth of both the world and the vocabulary, the fact that Among Thieves does not come packaged with appendices and glossary is a brave and utterly praise-worthy decision. Among Thieves is about the story, not the world.

Mr. Hulick also has an impressive knack for introducing other characters as people rather than representatives of a particular class, race or skill-set. Even with Drothe's enemies, we know them for their personal impact on Drothe and Among Thieves, rather than as more meaningful Big Bads. Despite the far-reaching consequences of Drothe's adventures, Among Thieves is kept as a very focused and personal story.

There are still a few bugs to work out. As mentioned above, Drothe does mostly advance through accident. He's charmingly self-aware of this, but, even so, mostly of his plotting and problem-solving takes place one episodic chapter at a time. In future books, with Drothe as an established character, it would be interesting to see him behave in a less reactive fashion.

Among Thieves is, if you'll forgive the cliche, a promising debut. Mr. Hulick has the hard stuff nailed. He's written a tight, jaunty story and filled it with a large cast of memorable personalities. Mr. Hulick has also created one of the most interesting fantasy landscapes in a long time - a land of interfering angels, shadow governments and immortal monarchs - but he keeps his priorities straight and makes sure that the world-building never takes over. At the conclusion of Among Thieves, anything could happen next, and I can't wait to find out.
13 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 An entertaining read 6 mai 2011
Par AnneB - Publié sur
Among Thieves: A Tale of the Kin is Douglas Hulicks first novel. He is working on the second book in this series now and there will also be a third. The story revolves around Drothe who is a member of the Kin. As a member of the Kin he works for a crime lord and spends his time with thieves and murderers. Drothe's work for the crime lord involves being a nose, which means he spends most of his time gathering information on the street and keeping his boss informed of anything important. Drothe also smuggles relics on the side, something his boss does not know.

The main plot of the story has Drothe finding one of the most important ancient relics in his world, a book with secrets in it that many people would kill to own. Drothe, along with his best friend Degan, spend most of the book trying to solve mysteries involving the book. They need to find out who wrote it, what kind of power can be achieved with it, who wants it, and who should Drothe give it to in the end. They also spend a lot of time fighting for their lives against the others who want the book.

I really enjoyed this book. It had a lot of things going on from sword fights, magic, a mystery to solve, and an interesting look into the morality of a thief. Drothe was a great main character, he was very likable and entertaining. I also really liked his best friend Degan, they were a great team. The most interesting part for me was watching Drothe's thinking through all of the difficult choices he had to make throughout the book. He was not a one dimensional character. We get to see him at his best and most self sacrificing and at his most selfish. In general he was a thief and criminal who had a conscience and at least tried to do the right thing when he could. It was a fast-paced fun read that I would definitely recommend.
23 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Promising but flawed debut novel 23 février 2012
Par Bradley Nieder - Publié sur
Among Thieves is the debut novel from Douglas Hulick. It is the story of Drothe, a member of the criminal underground in the fantasy city of Ildrecca.

This is a fast paced, tightly written Sword & Sorcery tale in the vein of Lynch or Lieber. The story centers around a flawed but blandly likeable protagonist, Drothe, who stumbles on to a mystery involving both the ruling Empire and the criminal brotherhood in Ildrecca.

The mystery aspects of the story are engaging and kept me turning the pages to find out each new piece of the puzzle. The pieces do come together logically at end of the book, so that facet of Among Thieves was fairly fulfilling.

The first person narrative paints an adequate picture of Ildrecca and the criminal underworld known as the Kin, but the setting still comes off somewhat flat. Drothe himself is a relatively average guy who gets in over his head and only manages to stay alive using his wits and a bit of luck. While it's refreshing that Drothe isn't the strongest, fastest or best swordsman in the city, he is also not particularly witty or interesting in his obversations of the people and places around him.

The author does do a good job integrating slang used by the Kin, which lends an air of authenticity to the conversations between Drothe and his various Kin contacts. Hulick's fencing background is apparent in some well written, fairly realistic action sequences.

Among Thieves is ultimately a satisfying, if somewhat light, adventure story. It is hobbled by a narrator who is competent and smart but not particularly interesting. The generic setting could be overlooked if the characters themselves were more memorable. I ended up finishing the book because I did really want to know how the mystery aspect of the story would turn out, but I didn't have any emotional investment in the characters and never felt like I really knew them.

(Three out of five stars)
10 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 I haven't enjoyed a new author this much in a decade... 15 avril 2011
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
The plot has already been summarized by others, so I'll not repeat the efforts of other reviewers.

I felt that the end of this book was a bit on the predictable side, but not at all in a bad way. I LIKE knowing how my story is going to end... It's the GETTING THERE that makes things interesting... And they were quite interesting.

I was a bit uncomfortable with the lead character's excessive use of stimulants, and felt that it might (probably should) have adverse effect on him sooner or later. I felt it was a realistic weakness for an accidental protagonist to have, but will be disappointed if extended use doesn't have consequences in future books.

I enjoyed the use of cant throughout the book, but it did take me a chapter or two to get sufficiently immersed to feel the world flow around me seamlessly. This was really my own issue, being a bit rusty in the "art" of fantasy reading. The canting in this book was one of the things that really made this debut novel feel like something produced by a much more experienced author. It flowed easily and never felt forced, fake, or silly.

I don't feel that the plot was particularly original, so much as it was neatly executed and well written. I look forward to future books by this author.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The Familiar Done Really Well 27 janvier 2012
Par Justin Landon - Publié sur
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
Among Thieves is the fifth book I've read this year that I put in the, "This was published because of Scott Lynch" category. I'm not going to make a big deal about it. One has nothing to do with the other beyond the fact that editors know they sell because they've sold something like it before. Ironically, had Douglas Hulick's debut been published in 2006 the category might be named after him.

Drothe - Hulick's protagonist, narrator, and golden boy - is a nose. In thieves' cant, that means he's an information gatherer. Working for one of the nastiest crime bosses in Ildrecca, Drothe also dabbles in his fair share of criminal racketeering. When an Imperial relic he's trafficking goes missing, he'll do just about anything to get it back. In this case, anything includes brutal torture and manipulating everyone around him.

All that sounds pretty straight forward which does Among Thieves a great disservice. Not only is Hulick's novel densely plotted (the above 'summary' is the tip of the iceberg), it contains one of the better first person voices in recent memory. Starting the novel with a brutal torture of one of Drothe's associates, Hulick leads the reader to believe that his main character is morally bankrupt. Drothe supports the point, thinking it's all quite distasteful, but nothing to lose sleep over. Afterward he continues to make cutthroat decisions... until they aren't. And yet, his thoughts don't always recognize the shift, leading me to believe that Drothe is not necessarily as dog-eat-dog as he tries to make himself believe.

While much of the book is medieval spy fiction, there are moments of all out swashbuckling. Hulick, an 17th century Italian rapier combat enthusiast, brings incredible voracity to his fight scenes. They always conjure a clear sense of energy, but also a technical precision that screams close familiarity. Unfortunately, Drothe is a pretty average swordsman so most of the fight scenes are him struggling to keep up. I can only imagine the level of detail Hulick could drill down to inside the head of an adept duelist (Degan, anyone?).

That's an appropriate segue into an area that Among Thieves shines - characters. For a first person narrative Hulick does a bang up job drawing his cast of ne'er-do-wells. Degan, a professional mercenary, gets the most screen time as Drothe's protector and best friend. From the street contacts, to crime bosses, to Imperial guards, Among Thieves is populated with characters that bleed off the page. It's all too easy for a first person novel to end up with cardboard cutouts for ancillary characters, but in the moment Hulick had me believing their lives continued whether Drothe was there to listen, or not.

As for problem areas, there aren't a lot. In fact, my only major complaint is that Hulick occasionally ruins his narration with exposition. Most of it takes place in the early going, but in choosing a first person style any sort of exposition sticks out like a sore thumb. It reminds the reader that he's reading a book written by someone who isn't the narrator. A certain discipline is required when there's a large amount of information to convey and it's always easier in the third person.

For minor complaints, I found the pace almost too fast. I never had a chance to take in the scenery leaving me somewhat lukewarm about Hulick's setting. His city, Ildrecca, isn't clear in my mind, nor are the political workings of the larger empire. I kept wondering if a few establishing scenes early on before Drothe got pulled into the main plot would have improved the novel's general ambiance.

In a year of strong debuts, Among Thieves is surprisingly one of the best. If I'm being honest, and, as my readers know (I hope), I always am, the premise is not only familiar, but somewhat tired. I've read dozens of novel with with a crafty thief and tough sidekick swordsman. As in all things well worn though, there is a place for someone to do it well and Hulick did that and more. Where many novels of this type lean heavily on the grittiness of the story to communicate some measure of gravitas, Hulick manages to leverage the relationship between Drothe and Degan into a frank discussion on the nature of commitment. The ability to interweave some subtext behind what is cosmetically an adventure romp was a compelling and welcome addition.

That, combined with a dynamic voice, and well drawn characters make Among Thieves one of the better debuts of 2011. Douglas Hulick has added a new chapter to the thief subgenre and it stands out as the best thing to happen to it since Lynch's masterpiece. I can't wait for the sequel and anything else he churns out in the years to come.
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