Buried deep within the bowels of the Carpathian Mountains lies the legendary dreaming diamond known as Draumr, the only gem with the power to enslave the drákon. Since childhood, Lady Amalia Langford, daughter of the clan’s Alpha, has heard its haunting ballad but kept it secret, along with another rare Gift....
Lia can hear the future, much in the way she hears the call of Draumr. And in that future, she realizes that the diamond—along with the fate of the drákon—rests in the hands of a human man, one who straddles two worlds.
Ruthlessly clever, Zane has risen through London’s criminal underworld to become its ruler. Once a street urchin saved by Lia’s mother, Zane is also privy to the secrets of the clan—and is the only human they trust to bring them Draumr. But he does nothing selflessly.
Zane’s hunt for the gem takes him to Hungary, where he is shocked to encounter a bold, beautiful young noblewoman: Lia. She has broken every rule of the drákon to join him, driven by the urgent song of Draumr—and her visions of Zane. In one future, he is her ally. In another, her overlord. In both, he is her lover. Now, to protect her tribe, Lia must tie her fate to Zane’s, to the one man capable of stealing her future—and destroying her heart....
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
From the Hardcover edition.
Read an Excerpt
The Dream Thief
By Shana Abe
All right reserved.
Darkfrith, Northern England
In the dream, she was always blind.
That's what would come first, the utter darkness, settling over her like a soft, soft blanket. But it wasn't a hopeless or desperate kind of blindness. In fact, it always seemed absolutely normal. Because the dream was never about what she could see, but all about what she could hear.
"Yes," she would answer.
It was a man speaking to her in the dream. A man's voice, one she knew as well as she knew the flow of water over the rocks of her favorite streambed, dark and familiar and smooth.
"Lia," he would say, an imperative.
"Come to me."
And she would, because in the dream there was nothing she wanted more than to obey that voice. It was her only ambition.
"Tell me about today," the man invited, still so smooth.
"The peaches are ripening. The wheat is hip-high. The Dartmoor ruby has a buyer in Brussels. He wants the emeralds as well."
And, oh, how it pleased her, that one single word. How it shimmered through her like warm, sunlit honey, filling her with sweetness.
"Where is the marquess?" the man asked.
"Kimber is in the drawing room, awaiting you."
That part was wrong. Even in the dream Lia knew it was wrong, because Kimberwasn't the Marquess of Langford yet. Their father was. Kimber was just a boy. But the man never noticed.
"And tonight, my heart?" the man asked, his voice stroking.
"Tonight is the Havington dinner party. The viscountess will wear sapphires and silk."
She did not know anyone named Havington. She did not know how she knew about the sapphires, or the silk. But she knew that it was all true.
"A necklace of one hundred thirty-two stones, set in gold, the center stone round, twenty-nine carats, with a spray of opals all around. A bracelet of thirty-five stones: twenty sapphires, fifteen opals. An anklet of eleven sapphires, twenty-one opals–"
"Very good. That's enough."
In the dream, she expanded with that sweetness once more.
"What time will the viscountess be removing her jewelry, Lia?"
"Twelve thirty-seven. Eleven minutes after the last guest leaves. The necklace is heavy," she added. "And you're going to have to kill the second footman. He sees you on the way out."
The man said nothing. His presence broke the darkness around her like a prism of pure, humming joy. Like a song. Like a reverie.
"Twelve-thirty isn't late. Wait for me in bed."
"Yes, Zane," she would always answer. And then she'd wake.
She wasn't ready.
Kim could see that she wasn't ready, even though they had waited the requisite fifteen days and sixteen nights for that one perfect June dusk without sun or moon or even stars. The sky above them was smoke and purple-blue, framed by the black cathedral of oaks and willows that made a rough enclosure around their circle of five.
Her face was still visible, pale, elfin-sharp, very clear to him even through the fading light. Lia didn't share the famous beauty of their sisters, Audrey's regal walk or Joan's silver-bell laugh. Fourteen years old, both earnest and shy, the essence of Lady Amalia Langford was all contradictions: elbows and a bumpy grace, wheat-gold hair and almond dark eyes, and a face that appeared close to ordinary until she smiled. Even then, she wasn't beautiful. She was, he considered, trying to be fair . . . arresting.
In fact, despite her powerful bloodlines, Lia didn't look like anyone else in the tribe. She was all corners and angles, always too tall, too thin, even as a little girl.
He'd been back from Eton only a few days. Kim would have thought that by now his youngest sister would have grown into her heritage, but to him she still seemed like a changeling stuffed into someone else's shawl and lacy pink gown.
She felt his stare. From her seat on the forest floor her head turned. She met his look–her braids fraying loose from their pins, her cheek smooth with the last glow of twilight, no cap–then glanced quickly away. The corners of her lips pulled back into a faint, unhappy line.
That was how Kim knew she wasn't going to finish the ritual. She returned to watching the pair of wrens in the scrolled metal cage near her feet. They fluttered from bar to bar, breathing in small, impassioned notes. It was the only noise that broke the forest silence. There were no crickets sawing. There were no mice or badgers or moles rummaging through the fallen leaves.
This was Darkfrith, after all.
One of the wrens slammed too hard against the wires. Kim caught the flicker of emotion that crossed Lia's face, so fleet he doubted any of the others noticed.
But he was the eldest. He'd had the most experience reading hearts. That flicker had been pain, and sympathy. She'd always longed for a pet.
Hell. She'd be useless tonight after all.
Something dark scored the sky above their heads, something serpentine. None of them bothered to look up. The highest fingers of the oaks shivered in its wake.
"Daughter of the tribe," Kim intoned, going on with it anyway. By God, the carriage ride alone back home had taken over a week; he wasn't going to let her off easily. "What dare you offer us?"
But his sister was distracted again. This time her head cocked, her chin lifted, as if she could hear something the others could not.
"Lia," muttered Rhys, the third oldest, from across the circle. "Pay attention. This is your part."
"I, daughter of the tribe," said Lia, her chin lowering obediently, "bring unto you . . . bring unto . . ."
The wrens flipped back and forth and back in their prison.
". . . this dire offering," hissed Joan, prompting.
"This dire offering."
"What is the offering?" Kim asked in his gravest voice, because it was ritual, and because he'd been practicing that voice for some while.
Lia lifted her hand to the cage. The birds pressed back against the far side.
"Heart and feathers," she said, but turned her head again–and then broke the circle by climbing to her feet.
"Li-a," said Audrey, exasperated.
"Doesn't anyone hear that?"
"No," answered Rhys. "And neither do you. Sit down, so we can finish this. It took me a bloody fortnight to catch those wrens."
"Wait," she said. "Listen. It's a carriage."
"It's not–" Kim began, but then he stopped, because, actually, he heard it too. Not just a carriage, a post chaise, rattling down the graveled drive from the distant manor house. He sent his sister a new, keener glance. "You heard that from here? It's at least a mile away."
Audrey had come to her feet as well, brushing out her skirts. "Who's expected?"
"No one." Rhys shrugged. "Just Zane, and he's leaving."
All three sisters swiveled to face him, and in that instant they looked remarkably alike.
"What?" he said, scowling.
"Zane?" echoed Joan. "Zane's here?"
"Not any longer. Apparently."
"Why didn't you tell us?"
"I beg your pardon. I didn't realize I was employed as your majordomo."
Lia dropped her shawl. It slipped to the ground with hardly a whisper, a white curving ghost against the brown leaves and dirt.
"Hold up." Kim caught her arm before her third step. "You can't leave. We've only just begun."
She glanced up at him but it was darker now, so he couldn't quite read her face. But he was irritated to have come so far for naught; he tightened his grip and gave her a shake.
"Oh, let her be," said Joan. "She's too young for this anyway. We all knew it."
"I did it younger than she," Kim countered.
"Yes, and you had something to prove, didn't you?" This from Audrey, his twin. "Eldest son, future Alpha of the tribe. You wanted to impress us." She lifted a shoulder, nonchalant. "Don't poker up. I would have done the same if I were you. It was clever to think up a ritual."
Rhys sighed. "Might as well let her go, Kimber. The moment's gone. They're right, you know, she's just too young. She's always too young. And she hasn't shown any of the Gifts, anyway."
Beneath his hand, Lia twitched. But Audrey had reminded him of who he was, and
who he was someday going to be, and so Kim said, "You know what this means, Amalia. You won't be one of us, truly one of us, until the ritual is complete. Your Gifts won't come. Or if they do, they won't be as good."
"Yes," she said flatly. "I know."
She shook free of his grip, turned to the birdcage, and snapped open the door. There came a flurry of peeps and rustling; when she straightened again, there was a dark lump in her fist.
"To the drákon," Amalia said, and broke the wren's neck.
Her fingers opened. The little bird landed beside her shawl, one wing arced in an angel fan across the tassels.
"You have to do both," managed Rhys, into the sudden hush.
Without a word, Lia stuck her hand into the cage and retrieved the other wren.
Another rush of invisible wind sliced over them, clattering the leaves. She flung the second bird up after it, where it flapped and fluttered and skimmed off in a drunken line, vanishing into the night.
Lia shot a look at Kimber, chin tilted. "I suppose I'll only ever be half as good as you, after all," his little sister said, and with her skirts in her hands she pelted down the path that led back to Chasen Manor.
Changeling, Kim thought, watching her go. Definitely.
Once, years ago, Lia had asked her mother if she heard the song.
"The supper chime?" Rue Langford had asked, tucking her daughter into bed.
"No, Mama. The other song. The quiet one."
"The quiet one. The music box from your father?"
"No. The other song."
And Mama had gazed down at her with her lovely brown eyes, her head tilted, a smile on her lips. She and Papa were hosting a fête that evening for the members of the council and their wives. Her skirts were ivory and cream; she smelled of flowers and soap and the silvery dust of hair powder. She wore pearls that thrummed with a low, gentle melody, simple, like a hymn. Lia reached out and ran her fingers over the bracelet.
"I'm afraid I don't know what song you mean, beloved."
"That one . . ."
Audrey was already out of the nursery, but Joan was in the bed against the other wall, sulking because she wasn't yet old enough to attend the fête.
"She says she hears a song all the time," said Joan in a very bored, grown-up voice.
Mama's look sharpened. "What sort of song?"
"A quiet one. You know . . . like the wind in a meadow. Like the ocean."
Rue's expression relaxed. "Oh. Yes, I hear that sometimes too."
"I do. Nature plays a wonderful symphony for us."
"No, not nature. It's a song."
Rue placed the back of her fingers upon her daughter's forehead. Her skin felt very cool. "Can you hum it?"
"Does it bother you? Does it hurt your head?"
"No . . ."
"It's not even real," said Joan loudly in her bored voice. "If it was real, we'd all hear it. We can hear everything."
"It is real to your sister," answered Mama, firm, and looked back at Lia. "You must tell me if it ever starts to fret you. Come to me, and I'll fix it."
Lia sat up in her bed, wide-eyed, interested. Rue was powerful, the most powerful female of the tribe, but Lia had no idea her mother's Gifts were that strong.
"Why, I'll love it away, just like this," said Rue, laughing as she caught Lia by the shoulders and pressed rose-petal kisses all over her cheeks.
That was how Amalia knew that her mother didn't believe her either.
When the dreams began to surface a few years after that, Lia didn't bother to tell anyone. The song, for all its persistence, held a certain sadness and distance that made it seem almost innocent. But there was nothing of innocence in the blind dreams. In them she was another person . . . older. Enigmatic. She woke from them flushed and panting, guilty and excited and miserable at once. She wouldn't share those feelings with anyone, not even her mother.
At first they were fragments, just voices and sentences that seemed strung together without reason. She could hear herself speaking in them, but what she said made no sense. She could hear the man's voice, but it was as though he was far away from her, talking through a rainstorm. She caught only snatches of words.
Yet the dreams had grown clearer. And clearer. And with them, a rising sense of danger, a warning that pushed down on her chest and prickled the hair on her arms.
Nothing truly terrible ever happened in the blind dreams. At the same time, she knew that somehow they meant everything terrible. She spoke of stealing and killing and the loss of her parents as if reciting a list for the village market. It was not pretend. But in that humming, welcome dark, Lia felt nothing wrong at all.
A few months past, in the gray morning hours of her fourteenth birthday, the dream had revealed for the first time who the man was.
Zane. Zane the Other, Zane the criminal. Zane, former apprentice of the Smoke Thief herself, now the tribe's hired hands and eyes and ears in the real world, the world beyond Darkfrith.
Excerpted from The Dream Thief
by Shana Abe Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In Darkfirth, England Lady Amalia ¿Lia¿ Langford can ¿hear¿ the future in her dreams. In 1768 she began dreaming of the human Zane bringing the dreaded Draumr gem to her clan. Draumr is the only known item that can enslave Lia¿s people who are the shapeshifting Drakon, who live in the most remote mountainside of Northern England. The clan knows Zane, as Lia¿s mother, married to the Alpha leader, saved his life he likewise knows their secrets too. In 1773 The Drakon enlist Zane to bring to them the Draumr as they plan to insure it can never be used against them. Zane agrees to travel to and find the gem in the Carpathian Mountains. However, he has plans to use the gem¿s power to further his affluence and clout. What he never expected was to meet a Drakon in Hungary, but Lia waits for him there as she has heard her future and he is intimately the core of it. --- The sequel to the delightful THE SMOKE THIEF, THE DREAM THIEF is a superb late eighteenth century romantic fantasy that grips readers from Lia¿s first dream until the final confrontation five years later. Lia is a fascinating character as she has broken clan rules and risks her heart to insure that her beloved Zane does not harm her people. Zane steals the show as a ¿bad boy¿ who must choose between thieving diamonds and love readers and the heroine will not be sure which he will select. --- Harriet Klausner
In 'The Smoke Thief' we're introduced to the world of the drakon and the legend of the half dragon-half human species. With a part as a secondary character, we see Zane as a boy, and in 'The Dream Thief' we see him as a man. Unlike most sequels, 'The Dream Thief' doesn't disappoint! Abe's second installment has a strong plot and intriguing characters...making the hero not so heroic and the heroine not so noble. The character flaws are anything but--they add a more realistic angle to the story and though the ending is a bit predictable, it doesn't detract from the satisfaction one experiences upon reading its conclusion. BRAVO!
I randomly found The Smoke Thief and fell head-over-heals in love with the story and the people. So when I found out Ms. Abe had written another, I was positively Giddy, if you will. I fell for Zane in The Smoke Thief, and seeing him now in the Dream Thief was perfect! Now, I have this thing with weak women, I HATE them, suffice to say when authors use them, its hard to enjoy the book. Lia isn¿t weak, she has grown up with none of the typical Gifts Drakon are known to possess, however she is strong in her own way. She and Zane are beautifully done their chemistry is one I envy. And Zane, I feared for him, since he is a child of the streets. He was hard to like, but you can¿t not respect him, his life wasn¿t easy, however he is a gentleman through and through. He pulls through. Lia and Zane are perfectly suited, even though it felt complete I still wish it didn¿t end¿ ~A Romance Lover~
The Dream Thief by Shana Abe. 5 Stars. Draumr, a legendary blue diamond, calls to the lovely Lady Amalia Langford. Lia, as she is nicknamed, is the daughter of the clan's Alpha. And as she hears the call of Draumr so does she dream of the future. Her search for the diamond will involve her with the man she has loved from afar, Zane a master thief. In this sequel to The Smoke Thief, Abe continues the tale of love and drakons.
This book was, in my opinion, slightly less magical than the first book in the series, The Smoke Thief. However, that is not due to anything lacking in this book, merely the pure magic of the newness of the first one. Sequels always lose something of the surprise that comes with meeting a new world with new ideas and characters. The magic of this book was still quite sufficient. And I love it.For the disclaimers, it does have sex scenes, and if you don¿t like them you might not like the book. However, they were nicely done scenes, and there was none of the ¿the plot is only how I get from one steamy scene to the next¿ feeling that you get in some novels. The plot and characters and motivation were all nicely developed in this book.I¿m just amazed it took me this long to read this book. But hey - it means the third one will be out before I know it.EDIT: I just realized that I said nothing of the plot. It follows Zane, who you may know from the first book, and Amalia, Kit and Rue¿s daughter. They travel (for various reasons) to the continent (from England) to track down a diamond that has the ability to control the drakon. Zane, however, doesn¿t know anything about this diamond¿s powers, because Lia - who dreams of the future - is scared that if she tells him, her dreams will come true¿
Zane, the urchin boy who served the beautiful Smoke Thief of the first book has now grown into a sleek and dangerous master thief, one of the few humans allowed to know about and work with the drakons, dragon shape-shifters who live hidden amongst 18th. century English society. He is bidden to search for the legendary diamond, the Draumr, by the drakon lord, for a reward that will make him wealthy. He sets off for the Carpathian Mountains, where the diamond was rumored to be hidden.Lia is the young daughter of the Lord and Lady of the drakons, but has always felt unimportant since she cannot change nor seem to exhibit any powers. However, she may have precognition and a special sense for the diamond, although no one believes in her. She feels Zane is important to her future and that of the drakon, and she has always secretly had feelings for him. Against all the harsh rules of the drakon, she is determined to aid him in finding the diamond, a jewel that is also crucial to the survival of her people.Again, the best thing about the tale is the beautiful language Abe uses. But Zane and Lia are also fascinating characters. I think I like this tale the best of the Drakon books.
fiction, series, fantasy, romance, paranormal romance, historical romance, historical, England, Transylvania, dragon, shapeshifting, gems, diamond, precog, thief, princess, 18th Century, Hungary, quest
This was the second in the Drakon series. Although I do like the writing style of Shana Abe, something about this book just didn't do it for me. I didn't find it nearly as good as the first - Smoke Thief. This is about Zane and Lia. They were not very interesting characters like the first book. Most of the book is about them traveling to different places on thier way to find Draumr. It was to say the least, boring. I had a hard time getting through to the end which was quite uneventful. It left more questions then it answered. I am dearly hoping her next book will be better than this one was.
I really loved this book. It is better IMHO than the first book in the series, The Smoke Thief. This one actually has a plot and isn't just a tale of the romance between two drakon. Well written, if you lose yourself in her prose you can really believe that her world is real.
This is book two in the Drakon Series by Shana Abe' that started with "The Smoke Thief". I actually liked this book quite a bit better than the first one. It helped that I knew to expect a story that was more of a romance than a fantasy.This book follow's Rue's daughter, Lia, and Rue's ex-assistant thief, Zane. In this book Rue hires Zane to go and retrieve the Draumr, a dangerous diamond that can control drakon. Little does Rue know her daughter Lia has been hearing Draumr's song her whole life and has also been dreaming of Zane. Shortly after taking off on his quest Zane is joined by Lia who has abandoned her boarding school in her own search for the diamond. They are uneasy partners through the wilderness and two questions must be answered; will they find the diamond and when they do what will Zane do with it?I liked this book much better than the first one. Zane is a much more like-able lead man; he has that "I am tough" thing going on with a good dash of vulnerability. He is not so overly alpha like a lot of the romance leads are. Lia is also an interesting character; she has interesting magical abilities and a toughness that comes and goes.This book is more of an adventure, a quest, than "The Smoke Thief" was. There is less intrigue and more drudging through the wilderness; which I actually enjoyed. The intrigue is still there, the romance is definitely still there. Overall this is a fantasy romance. The characters spend of a lot of time thinking about each other and dreaming about one another. There is some explicit sex, but it is tastefully done.Overall this was a sweet story and a pleasant read. I thought both the plot and the characters were more enjoyable than the last book. If there is one thing Abe' does well it is sensual writing. Everything in her books is sensual from the description of a room, to the description of a fight, to the sensual love scenes. Everything is saturated in silky golden colors, or dripping in diamonds, the wind caresses, and Lia's hair tumbles in gentle waves of gold. Abe's writing is a bit over the top in sensuality but it is still a pleasure to read. It's a bit like a cupcake with heaping loads of frosting, sprinkles, sugar, and a cherry on top. It is something I read once in a while and enjoy but I don't think I would like to read it all the time. Abe' is very creative in her descriptions and really makes the surroundings in her stories come alive to all of your senses.I liked that this was more of a fantasy than the first book. So far it looks like there are two more books coming up for this series "The Dragon Queen" and "Treasure Keeper". I will probably read them both...eventually.
Did I ever mention that I LOVE Shana Abe's work? This was a fantastic story!!! The world of The Dream Thief is the same world as the smoke thief BUT I think they can be read out of order. They are BOTH aweseome stories!!!! AND I think she will write another because the epiloge does set it up... giggling with excitement because I LOVE this world!!!I guess I didn't actually talk about the story LOL! Shana Abe does have a lyrical voice. Her prose does have a rhythm that I am fascinated by. It reads easy yet it sings. I loved this story. It was really done very well. I don't want to give this away but obviously there are dreams in the story... but they were used so very well in the beginning. They were used to make the reader wonder how on earth are the hero and heroine EVER going to get together. THIS was very well done!!!! I would highly recommend this story AND of course, the first one, The Smoke Theif that is already out in paperback.
Amalia (Lia) Langford is the ungifted daughter of the drakon clan's talented leaders, or so everyone thought. Since she was a child Lia has known of her frightening gift, precognition. In her dreams she hears the song of the diamond, Draumr, and also knows that it is her heart and her love for a man which brings the diamond and great tragedy to her land and family. Despite her awareness of the future Lia is unable to stay away from Zane, master thief and the only human to know of the drakon's secrets. However, Lia will not give up on the future and is determined to do everything in her power to find the Draumr and destroy it before her love has a chance to destroy everything she holds dear.This was an interesting story of a woman ostracized from her people and determined to save them all the same. The writing, characters and plotline were well developed. The parts depicting Lia's precognitive episodes added depth and a feeling of desperation to the story as you really want to hope that the visions she has won't be how Zane actually turns out to be. Although this is the second book of a series I¿m not sure you would necessarily be lost without having read the first one. Personally I did read the first but remembered very little of it and was still able to follow the story. This is an engrossing tale which I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to lovers of fantasy and/or romance.
Characters that make you laugh, and feel like old friends. A storyline that pulls you in until the last page, leaving you sad to see it end, but satisfied with the outcome...
Just as exciting and well written as book one in the series. Loved that our hero and heroine were so successful in their quest, they succeeded and along the way found themselves and each other. A great and exciting read.