Tuesday, July 17, 2012


D.B. Jackson is also David B. Coe, the award-winning author of a dozen fantasy novels. His first book as D.B. Jackson, Thieftaker, volume I of the Thieftaker Chronicles, was released by Tor Books on July 3d. Jackson lives on the Cumberland Plateau with his wife and two teenaged daughters. They're all smarter and prettier than he is, but they keep him around because he makes a mean vegetarian fajita. When he's not writing he likes to hike, play guitar, and stalk the perfect image with his camera.

He applied the Page 69 Test to Thieftaker and reported the following:
Page 69:
It wasn't just that she was the most important thieftaker in Boston, in all of the American colonies. She was also responsible for much of the thieving and violence that made thieftaking necessary. At least half the gems and jewelry and other riches she returned for reward were first stolen by men in her employ. She took with one hand, gave back with the other, and was paid handsomely for doing so.

Those like Ethan, who lived their lives in the streets, saw the woman for what she really was: a charming, clever villain. But to the unsuspecting, particularly the wealthy, she was the person who kept Boston's streets safe. And by dint of having forged this reputation, she had built an empire for herself. For if she profited from her efforts to keep order in the city and see to it that stolen property was restored to its rightful owner . . . well who could begrudge the woman a bit of coin?

She watched Ethan now as she circled him, a half smile on her exquisite face, an appraising look in her cold, pale eyes, as if she was weighing whether or not to have her men beat Ethan a bit more.

"You've been hired by Berson," she said at length.

Ethan would gain nothing by denying it. Little happened in Boston without Sephira knowing of it; chances were she had known Berson was going to hire Ethan before the merchant's man ever reached the Dowsing Rod. But Ethan saw no reason to confirm her suspicions. He stared back at her as the pain in his gut and his cheek gradually faded. After several moments, Sephira flicked her gaze up to one of the men standing behind Ethan. One quick glance, that was all it took.

Immediately the man behind him--Yellow-hair--grabbed Ethan by the hair, pulled his head back, and laid the edge of a blade against Ethan's throat, much as Ethan had done to Daniel the night before.

"I believe Miss Pryce asked ye a question," Yellow-hair said, giving Ethan's hair an extra yank.

"Actually, she didn't," Ethan said, his voice strained. "She made a statement."

The man looming over him frowned, then looked to Pryce, apparently unsure of what to make of this.
As it happens, it's hard to imagine any page in my novel being more representative of the entire book than this one. Ethan Kaille, my protagonist, is a thieftaker and conjurer who scratches out a living for himself in the streets of Colonial Boston. Sephira Pryce is his rival and nemesis, a thieftaker of great renown who always manages to keep one step ahead of him. Their rivalry, with its humor, its deadly earnestness, and its sexual tension, drives the book and in fact, the entire series.

This is the first scene in which we meet Sephira. She and her goons are waiting for Ethan when he returns to his room. After her men beat him, she begins to question him about his latest inquiry, which has drawn her interest because the man who has hired Ethan is among Boston's wealthiest merchants. Usually Boston's elite go to her when they need a thieftaker's services, and Sephira doesn't share well with the other children.

Ethan has taken on his new client because he believes that magic was used to kill the merchant's daughter, and because he is the only thieftaker in the city who is also a conjurer. But he suspects that Sephira might have played some role in the killing, and so this encounter marks the beginning of a cat-and-mouse game that will continue throughout the book.

So, yeah, in this case page 69 tells you pretty much exactly what the book is going to be like. Hope you liked it.
Learn more about the book and author at D. B. Jackson's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue