5 Stars for Swashbuckling Heist “Starwatch” by Ian Blackport

A Review by: W. Clark Boutwell

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This review is from: Starwatch (Kindle Edition)
Review of Starwatch
Starwatch by Jan Blackport is a hoot, a cross between o great caper-movie and a swashbuckling adventure tale. The characters run the plot, surprising for a heist narrative. Chief among these is the master-mind, Cyriana Faesen, a thief of impeccable professionalism if dubious judgment. It is her lack of entirely sound judgment places her into the corner where attempting the theft, funded by a wealthy nameless patron, of an ancient scroll from and impregnable castle surrounded by an order of scholar-guards makes sense. As in all good caper tales, Cyriana has to assemble her team of quirky professionals: the muscle (a pay as you go duelist), the con-man (a false-face with a predilection for preening), a cut-throat (although short on hygiene), a forger (even if they have to do a few felonies to break him out of a dungeon), a sleight-of-hand (NOT to be called a pick-pocket), and a few amateurs (the out of luck scholar and the disgraced brothers). It makes quite a stew. The plan is well conceived, daring yet not suicidal, depending on calculation and skill. Nonetheless, “no plan survives first contact with the enemy.”
Blackport’s descriptions are wonderful. The repartee among the fraternity of felons great fun (if at times a trifle tangential). Like all good capers there are cogwheels with wrenches to be thrown in to, crosses and double crosses and a good denouement at the end.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable book.


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