The Best Thing You Can Steal, by Simon R. Green, is the start of a new series starring a group of thieves and scoundrels set in an urban fantasy world where magic is real. Each group member has a unique set of skills that make them invaluable for the planned heist. Think Ocean’s 11 meets Nightside with a bit of Dresden Files, and you have this new series. It is such fun.
“Welcome to London, but not as you know it. A place where magics and horror run free, wonders and miracles are everyday things, and the dark streets are full of very shadowy people . . .“
The story starts with introducing a gentleman scoundrel named Gideon Sable, and no, that is not his real name. He stole this identity like he steals most things, but he now wears this persona like a second skin. He has become the legendary namesake, and all it was to be the master thief, Gideon Sable. And boy, does Gideon he have a heist in mind.
Gideon is the brains of this heist, the cunning rogue who has plans inside plans. More importantly, Gideon is insanely likable. Imagine Danny Ocean but with magic items. I liked him from the first pages of the story, which is a massive credit to Green as an author.
Aside from Gideon, you have his fabulous collection of rogues and malcontents, the Damned, the Ghost, the Wild Card, and Gideon’s ex-girlfriend, Annie Anybody. The Ghost is just that, a ghost. He can move through spaces and is only visible to a select few. The Wild Card is a man who has seen some things that make him a complete wild card. Luck bends and twists in weird ways with him. You really have no idea what will happen in his presence. The Damned is a soul who is cursed. He was asked to steal something unstealable from a celestial being, and in doing so, he became something else. Even shadows slink away from him. He is not a man to be trifled with. The last is Gideon’s former flame, Annie anybody, a woman who can be anyone; luck and perception bend to her. Her powers are a bit hit and miss but interesting.
“And we set of with speed for the bright lights of London. A car full of weird with a ghost on top.”
This book is pure fun. The Best Thing You Can Steal isn’t perfect. The caper wasn’t as convincing as I wished it had been, but I think that takes a solid back seat to the fantastic characters and powers. Again likening it to Ocean’s 11, you didn’t watch Ocean’s 11 for the intricate heist. You watched Ocean’s 11 for the characters coming together in their respective elements and doing some thievery. The Best Thing You Can Steal does this exceptionally well, and it is worth checking out, as is pretty much any of Green’s books. His Welcome to the Nightside books are legend