The Stealers War. Book Review

The Stealers War by Stephen Hunt
Gollancz, p/b, 416pp, £18.99
Reviewed by Martin Willoughby

The final part of this trilogy is satisfying in more ways than one. Not only does it wrap up the story, it leaves enough happening to wonder if Hunt will write another in this series, but set in another part of the world with characters that have become familiar. These are not loose ends, just the tantalising prospect of other stories to follow.

The war is in full flow. The Vandians have invaded Weyland to punish it for daring to stand against them and kidnap a princess. Their spies are searching for her and the arrogance of the Vandian fleet leader is taking them into the mountains of Rodal.

Jacob Carnehan has planned for this and is ready. The general who never lost a battle still has his perfect record and has no intention of giving it up yet. Working with, but often against, the rightful king of Weyland, he has planned the defeat of the Vandian force. But there is a spy in his midst that will do whatever it takes to win for Vandia.

The princess is still hidden from the Vandians, and now from everyone else, having been kidnapped. Now it would seem that not even the Vandians want her back as there is a new political deal that has shunted her from being the heir.

Behind all this lies the mission that Sarial has set out on, one that the future of the world depends on: The battle against the Stealers, demons, who it seems, are controlling what happens in the world. And Carter Carnehan has had to go with him instead of looking for Willow, the woman he loves.

Willow’s troubles are far from over and take a mighty turn for the worse, while her brother is still in thrall to a Vandian princess with whom he is in love.

This final book in the trilogy ties up the loose ends, brings justice to most, if not all, the characters, but leaves the war still ongoing with little left solved in the world of politics.

The politics, though, are irrelevant as it’s the people that interest me most. The good guys get their reward the bad guys are punished, in some very interesting and satisfying ways, while Jacob Carnehan has to live with the man he has become again.

In the midst of all this, the most interesting and curious story is that of the Vandian princess who, throughout the trilogy, has had a truly horrific and enlightening journey. She started out as a spoilt brat, violent and willing to kill anyone who got in her way but has….nah, I’ll let you find that out for yourself.

This and the other two books are not as good as his Jackelian series, which I highly recommend, but are still a worthwhile read. Unless you have a lot of books on your reading stack.