Prince Of Thieves
by Tamelia Tumlin, contemporary (2006)
PublishAmerica, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-4241-8996-0

Prince Of Thieves is a sheikh romance although I find Prince Kareem bin Ishmail a little bit more realistic than the usual Valentino clones populating the Harlequin Presents and Harlequin Romance lines. He's Muslim, for one, and he does behave at times like the autocratic fellow he is. His country Zahara is presented as a moderate Muslim country. The only issue I have here is the use of "bin" in the fellow's name. "Bin" is for commoners. "Ibn" should be used in this case as Prince Kareem is after all a member of the royal family.

Our heroine Cheyenne Lawson needs to get arrested fast. It's a long story related to her son Cody needing money but I'll get to that later. Our waitress heroine realizes that it is actually tough to get herself arrested so she finally decides to grab a ring belonging to Prince Kareem in front of him, hoping that she will get tossed into jail as a result. Unfortunately, he soon drops the charges and our poor woman is back to square one. Or is she?

Prince Kareem is in the USA on a diplomatic visit but his mind is on the upcoming agreement between his country and the neighboring Moravia to cooperate. The ruler of Moravia is expecting him to marry the princess of that country, but Prince Kareem doesn't believe in love because his mother ran out of his family when he was young, et cetera. He decides that the best way to get the Moravia-Zahara deal done as painlessly as possible without offending the neighbor is by getting married right now. To Cheyenne, of course, in a marriage of convenience.

Prince Of Thieves is a pretty easy read and for the most part, the characters are pretty well-written. They are stereotypes but at the same time the author tries to do a bit more with her characters. Prince Kareem, as I've mentioned earlier, has more depths and feels more realistic than the average Harlequin Presents sheikh.

However, the biggest downside to this story is the presence of gaping plot holes. The whole thing about Cody is on shaky ground as it is, although to give Ms Tumlin credit, she seems to be aware of this as she sometimes have her characters remark on the absurdity of their situation. Never mind why the Prince will leave a ring behind on the dining table, I'm more curious as to how two Middle-Eastern countries can happily propose a merge as if they are two business entities without getting other countries to make some noise about it. After all, Zahara produces oil, and you know how touchy America can be sometimes when it comes to this kind of countries.

Also, I don't know why Cheyenne, when she realizes that she's going to be the Princess of Zahara, doesn't ask for Cody to come along with her when she's supposed to be so concerned about being separated from him. It is only later when Cody joins her, with me wondering all that time why oh why doesn't our Mother of the Year ask for Cody to come with her to Zahara.

There are also a some grammar boo-boo's but not too many though to distract me from the story.

On the bright side, I like that Cheyenne doesn't let herself be a victim once she is in Zahara. I also like that while sometimes Prince Kareem can be a jackass, he has the brainpower to realize that he is wrong. Therefore, this book can be quite contradictory in some ways. I like how smart the characters can be, for example, but these characters often indulge in mini-episodes of misunderstandings that seem contrived. Of course, they quickly get over these issues (they are, after all, smarter than that), but the fact that these issues arise in the first place is annoying. I like how the author tries to handle her story intelligently, but at the same time I am perplexed by how she manages to include some pretty big plot holes.

Prince Of Thieves is therefore a textbook example of the debut effort of an author who, with time and experience, can certainly deliver much better than what her debut offers. I find this one a pretty readable book even if it really needs to go through a few rounds with a tough editor.

Oh, and Ms Tumlin, please, for the love of all that is good and holy, get a different publisher for the next book.

Rating: 76

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