Eye of Truth

Cassie Sweet
Eye of Truth
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Dreamspinner Press
Release Date
December 2013
Fantasy Romance, LGBTQ

heodyne Thespacian is a thief. Caught and imprisoned, he's done his time and vowed never to return to the life of pulse-racing excitement and easy money. But when one of his former associates tells him about the Eye of Truth—an artifact that will open worlds of untold wealth—it seems like the perfect crime. However, for Theodyne, with the brand of a thief on his face, to be caught again means death. So instead he goes to the Villa of Nicodemus Valencia, the Master Alchemist who owns the artifact… and applies for a job.

Nicodemus descends directly from the founder of the Gold School, and of all those in that bloodline, he possesses the strongest gift for alchemy. His formulas have made him wealthy, though they've failed to give him the one thing he's longed for most—love. When Theodyne appears at his Villa, he recognizes potential for alchemy and offers him apprenticeship. But then an ancient foe purged from the lands long ago reappears and threatens the Gold School, the Eye of Truth, and all the Dominical city-states. Nicodemus and Theodyne must now band together in courage to battle evil and can only hope they will not lose all they've come to hold dear.

Book Review by Annette Gisby (author,reviewer)
Jan 07, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
225 people found the following review helpful
An intriguing and original fantasy novel from Cassie Sweet.

In a land of connected city states, somewhat reminiscent of Renaissance Italy, criminals are not just arrested and incarcerated. Depending on their crime, they are executed or branded with what they've done. Theodyne has spent three years in prison, but it's when he's released that his problems really start. For years he has made a good living as a thief of the rich and the powerful, but with a large T branded on his face, everyone knows what he's done and no one is willing to give a thief a second chance.

With his sister moved with no word and his stash of money and jewels gone, Theodyne knows he has to look for some more honest employment, but no one in the city wants to give him the time of day. One of his fellow thieves tells Theo about a rare jewel called the Eye of Truth, believed to be hidden in the home of the notable alchemist, Nicodemus, and suggests Theo might steal it and share the profits between them.

But Theo has turned his back on the criminal life and instead seeks out the alchemist to ask for a job.

Nicodemus doesn't need any more servants at his villa but when Theo turns up, he senses that Theo has some residual power and instead takes him on as his apprentice. Theo has great aptitude for the work, but finds it difficult to concentrate sometimes as he finds Nicodemus very attractive. They work together well and then things take a turn for the worse, when a messenger barely holding onto his life, tumbles from his horse and reveals there is trouble at the Gold School, the school Nicodemus's family founded to educate budding alchemists. It seems there are traitors in their midst and they must work to find out who is responsible.

This book was fantastic; I loved every minute of it. Despite reading quite a few fantasy books, I have never read one before that was based mostly on alchemy and it was quite refreshing. Theodyne's and Nicodemus's relationship starts off as mentor and student, but gradually becomes something else. Their relationship was a slow simmer rather than an instant conflagration, which worked well here as you were keen to get on with the next part of the plot.

The characters were wonderful and everyone had their part to play, even the bad guys and despite it being set in a fantasy world, within the constraints of the magic of that world, it seemed realistic and not too fantastical. It was interesting and different to see a fantasy world not based on medieval England, which a lot seem to be.

Like any good adventure, there are ups and downs, both for Nicodemus and Theodyne's relationship and the odd happenings they are investigating. There were twists and turns aplenty to make even the most jaded mystery fan keep turning the pages.

A wonderful, dramatic fantasy male/male romance that makes me want to read the next installment very soon.
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