The Thieves of Legend
Michael St. Pierre, professional thief and all-out thrill-seeker, has been the central figure in this exciting series by Richard Doetsch. He and his small band of colleagues typically get their cases from an unconventional Vatican priest named Simon, who seeks to get back articles appropriated from the Church and needs a person with Michael's specific skill-set.
At the onset of THE THIEVES OF LEGEND, Simon has just such a mission for Michael. He asks him to go to Italy and retrieve a certain document from an Italian castle, the owner of which is an underworld crime figure dealing throughout Europe and Asia. Michael is tasked with finding the document along with a Chinese puzzle box that bears an ancient secret.
Michael finds something unexpected: a room filled with three decapitated bodies that appears to be the family of the castle’s owner. He then espies the owner being tortured and executed on a yacht docked outside of the castle. Upon his return to the Westchester, NY home he shares with his girlfriend K.C., Michael is in hot water as he had promised her he would not be going on any further dangerous missions.
"THE THIEVES OF LEGEND is well-researched, instantly engaging and a lot of fun. The story grips the reader firmly in its grasp from the first page and demands that it be finished in one sitting."
K.C. decides to leave for England to clear her head, but never quite makes it there. A mysterious British woman named Annie befriends her at the airport and talks her into taking a trip with her. Little does K.C. recognize that she is being used as a pawn in a game of international intrigue and revenge --- one that is tied to the same mission Michael had undertaken in Italy.
Michael vows to get K.C. back but must first understand the history behind the Chinese box he was paid to find. It turns out that the box and its secrets can be traced back to ancient China and may possess a product known as Dragon’s Breath, a fearsome weapon that could bring the world and all its armies to their knees. K.C. is being used by Annie to find the Chinese box hidden somewhere behind the walls of the Forbidden City in China.
Meanwhile, Michael has been briefly detained by U.S. Colonel Lucas, who is in pursuit of the same object and needs Michael to find it before Annie and K.C. do. It develops that Colonel Lucas has a twin brother who was separated from him early in life and raised in China. The twin now goes by the name of Xiao Yan Wang, combining both the words for a mythical demon of the mountains and the Chinese god of death.
Michael has additional motivation --- K.C. has been poisoned with an ancient Chinese chemical and is dying slowly. She will only be given the remedy if she fulfills her mission. Michael, Simon and his good friend Busch head to Macau and enter the dangerous underworld of the Chinese triads in an attempt to find the highly sought-after artifact, defeat Xiao Yan Wang and save K.C. As always in a Michael St. Pierre adventure, nothing is quite as it seems.
Richard Doetsch has cleverly combined the engaging Michael St. Pierre series with the ancient Chinese saga of Zhang He. THE THIEVES OF LEGEND is well-researched, instantly engaging and a lot of fun. The story grips the reader firmly in its grasp from the first page and demands that it be finished in one sitting.
Reviewed by Ray Palen on December 7, 2012