Tallerman, David -- Giant Thief

The blurbs compare this to Scott Lynch -- commendable ambition, but that's not what this is. Easie Damasco is a petty thief. He's got a mouth on him, admittedly, but not an especially inspired one. He's readable because he's a genuinely terrible person -- not cruel, but small-minded and selfish -- who is not quite hopeless. Also, he is surrounded by much greater characters (both better and worse) who keep trying to use him but don't think he's quite hopeless either.

This is, in fact, an epic fantasy story told by the comedy sidekick. His first act is to steal a giant, who is set up as the comedy sidekick, but there is unsurprisingly more to him.

The setting is also pretty good; medieval-Euro fantasy, but Mediterranean, distinctly Spanish, with an El Cid flavor. No, it's not a Guy Kay history riff, and there's no religious/cultural backstory at all (conqueror wants power, is all). But it has a better, or at least more convincing, eye for battlefield tactics than most medieval-Euro fantasy. On the other hand, minus one point for the extremely McGuffiny talisman.

Sequel exists; haven't decided whether to get it.

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