REVIEW: River of Thieves by Clayton Snyder

Time is running out for thieves, Cord and Nenn. With this duo, no robbery is accomplished without spilling blood and creating chaos. In one last ditch effort to retire alive, they decide to set their next target on robbing an entire kingdom. River of Thieves by Clayton Snyder is chock-full of grotesque fiends and smart quips.

“‘If you’re going to teach a rich and powerful dickhead a lesson, you stick to what you know. Because my dear, we’re not thieves. We’re exceptional thieves.’”

Cover for River of Thieves by Clayton SnyderCord and Nenn are not your run-of-the-mill burglars. Cord has been cursed with the inability to remain dead. This curse is seemingly not without limits. Each time Cord dies, his rate of resurrection slows. As readers we are plagued with the question, how many more deaths can Cord revive from? River of Thieves is told from Nenn’s perspective. Nenn has adept knife fighting skills and a cast iron stomach for carting Cord’s corpse around when necessary. Nenn is the finest accomplice Cord could hope for, but their final heist will require additional help with an unnatural range of skills.

River of Thieves has the best band of ragtags since Kings of the Wyld. Joining Cord and Nenn’s insane scheme are Rek and Lux. Rek with his enormous build and turkey-sized hands, is the tank of the group. Lux is undead. All four have strong personalities that often clash, but their bond with each other is evident. This band would feel genuinely incomplete if any one of them was missing. Together, their collective banter and sincere regard for each other forge a kinship that is addicting to read.

The lore woven into River of Thieves is also exceptional. Fables of the world’s seven gods and its history are strewn throughout the novel. These legends are mythological in nature and offer snippets of history and culture. They provide intricacy to an otherwise hellish world. Certain tales were so effective, it came close to outshining the overall plot.

I love grimdark for its brand of fanfaring the darkest magic and hellish monsters. Given the depth of worldbuilding in River of Thieves, this first installment reads as an introductory for all possible fantasy elements in the Thieves’ Lyric series. I want to know more about the Harrowers and creatures behind the veil.

For an author whose cornerstone is grim snark, Clayton Snyder also writes with such an aesthetically pleasing prose. Snyder’s books have performed notably well in the SPFBO competitions. His book Demons, Ink won semi-finalist in SPFBO 7. The SPFBO 7 finalists include Norylska Groans, Snyder’s collaborative work with Michael R Fletcher.

River of Thieves is wickedly clever and bizarre. Clayton Snyder’s satirical approach breathes freshness to the standard fantasy heist novel. I am excited for not only the rest of this series, but his future projects.

Read River of Thieves by Clayton Snyder

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Carrie Chi Lough

Carrie Chi Lough

Carrie resides in Colorado with her other half and their puppy, Irwin. She is always searching for dark SFF and horror stories to bury herself in.

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