Saturday, 20 October 2012

Stealing the Marbles by E J Knapp

Stealing the MarblesDanny Samsel is at the top of his chosen profession, but his success has a price. His most recent job was so high profile he has had to get out of the limelight for a while, and has spent a year in exile on the beautiful Greek island of Kefalonia. Danny is a master thief and his last job involved liberating a painting from the White House. As a result he is a person of interest to various law enforcement agencies. Now he is getting itchy feet and has his eyes on a new prize. He is determined to find a way to return the Elgin Marbles, or the Parthenon Marbles, to the Greeks and is planning on calling on a gang of his international contacts, including estranged girlfriend Kaz, to make it happen.

The book is essentially divided into two parts, the planning and the execution. The first part really put me in mind of Oceans Eleven, which is no bad thing. Danny is a thief with his own moral code. He grew up stealing only what he needed to survive but is now driven to get unseen art back into the public eye and return works to their rightful owners. He intends to make no money from stealing the Marbles, merely doing so to right what he sees as a wrong and for the pure challenge of it. Whether you agree with his views or not he's a bit of a charmer and I was quick to warm to him. Danny has amassed a useful list of contacts after years stealing, and many of his colleagues have their own little eccentricities. I enjoyed meeting the characters and finding out about Danny, and appreciated the degree of tension stemming from Danny's unidentified but determined pursuers. The pace stepped up in the second part as the team started to mobilise and put the plan into action. I'm not going to even think about revealing whether the team are successful or not so will leave the plot there!

I pretty much devoured this book, enjoying the mix of quirky characters, political overtones and global travel to beautifully described locations. While there is plenty of tension and action there is also humour and romance to balance it out. This is a gratifying romp of a heist with a bit more depth than I had expected, which was all to the good. A definite 5* book!

Format: Paperback, review copy
Publishers: Rebel ePublishers
My Rating: 5*

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