Read by James Langton
Length: 10 Hrs 18 Min
Quick Thoughts: The Giant Thief was a light, fun Fantasy novel, with a likeable, yet roguish lead. Easie Damasco has enough of a journey, both physically and morally to keep you interested, yet there is still plenty of room for future tales showing his transformation from villain to hero.
For those of you who may not know, it’s June, and June just happens to be Audiobook Month. I have been a huge, unabashed audiobook fan for nearly six years now. One thing that audiobooks have really done is help me expand my listening base. There are numerous authors and series that I probably would never have read if it wasn’t for audiobooks. My love of certain narrators has led me to books that never would have even been on my radar. The one genre that has benefited mostly from my audiobook love has been fantasy. I think of all genres, a well told fantasy tale is best suited to the oral tradition. Some of our earliest tales, like The Iliad and The Epic of Gilgamesh, were fantasies told orally. Before audiobooks, I was a reluctant Fantasy reader. The Dark Tower was my first real foray into epic fantasy that wasn’t Tolkien, and really, calling Stephen King’s genre bending series Epic Fantasy is a real stretch. I did decide to take on Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant series, mostly because of an article written by Stephen King himself. This is where I developed my love of giants, which was not a small factor in choosing The Giant Thief as a listen. After that, eventually I was cajoled by friends into reading Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, and enjoyed it, although I was often frustrated and confused by what Martin was doing. Yet, when I became an audiobook fan, I found with the right narrator, Fantasy can come alive better than almost any other genre.
In David Tallerman’s The Giant Thief we are introduced to Easie Damasco, thief and all around scoundrel, just as he is about to be hung for his thieving and scoundrelous ways. Saved at the last minute by a warlord looking to overthrow the King of the realm and willing to use Easie for fodder, Easie repays this kindness by stealing Saltlick, one of the warlords Giants, as well as some precious stones. Yet, his escape from the warlord’s army only manages to get him entangled even deeper in the growing conflict, and puts him in place as an unwitting pawn in an intricate political plot. The Giant Thief won’t distinguish itself as a modern classic of the Fantasy genre, but it’s a fun, clever adventure tale full of reluctant heroes and outrageous situations. Easie Damasco is a true antihero, he neither has the skills or desire for heroic feats. Yet, he is likeable in the way that only single-mindedly selfish men can be. One thing that contributes to his likeability as a character is the utter distain he is treated with by heroes and villains alike. His tendencies to look out for himself make his bad actions worse than those who kill, main and plot in the service of their own ideals, well, at least in their minds it does. One thing I enjoyed about The Giant Thief was that Tallerman didn’t need magic or wizards to ground his story, whatever power his stones had, came more from ceremony than sorcery. Also, Tallerman used the tendencies of people to underestimate others as a major story element that played into the complexities of the tale rather nicely. I would like to have seen a bit more of the world Tallerman has created. Other than it being not our world, the exploration of his fantasy setting was pretty surface level. Hopefully, in future entries into the series, Tallerman will expand the scope of his creation, and give us a broader glimpse into the foundations that make his world work. The Giant Thief was a light, fun Fantasy novel, with a likeable, yet roguish lead. Easie Damasco has enough of a journey, both physically and morally to keep you interested, yet there is still plenty of room for future tales showing his transformation from villain to hero.
James Langton does a wonderful job bringing this tale to life. He has a crisp, accessible English accent that fits the feel of the novel well. The Giant Thief is a first person tale, and Langton does a great job creating a wry sardonic tone for Easie Damasco. While his other characterizations won’t blow you away, they all are appropriate to the characters he is portraying. One of the reasons I choose The Giant Thief was that I was interested in seeing how the narrator would portray the Giants of this tale. Langton does a good enough job with Saltlick, yet, there really isn’t much to work with. Saltlick is the only significant Giant character in this tale, and rarely speaks beyond some short one word grunts. Yet, Langton did do good work with those grunts, and here’s to hoping Tallerman delves deeper into Giant culture so he can give the narrator a bit more in the future. While this was my first time listening to Langton, I felt instantly comfortable with him, and I think he handled the characters and pacing of this novel just right.
Note: Thanks to Brilliance Audio for providing me with a copy if this title for review.