The Best Thing You Can Steal is the first novel in the Gideon Sable series, one of two new series from this author. I am told by one of Green’s staff that there will be at least three novels from Baen, as they’ve contracted for that many so far. If they sell well, Simon will be pleased to write more. (The other series is the Jekyll and Hyde Inc. series which is not out on Baen until this Autumn.) These series come as he’s wrapped up two of his long running series, the Nightside and the Secret Histories, both of which got wrapped up in the Night Fall novel.
Generally speaking, Simon’s series are part of his larger metaverse but I didn’t spot anything here that indicated that this is so here. (Update: I’ve just been told by one of his staff that this series is not connected to the larger metaverse. He has not decided yet if it is connected the Jekyll and Hyde Inc. ‘verse.) As a result, the story is remarkably self-contained which means that, unlike most of Green’s fiction, you don’t need to be familiar with the rest of his works to enjoy it.
Gideon Sable is a thief par excellance. He specializes in stealing the kind of things that can’t normally be stolen — sometimes they don’t even exist as we normally define such things. He’s even stolen his name — he’s not the first Gideon Sable. So now he’s planning a master heist, to steal something from the most evil man in the world. To get past said evil man’s security, he’s going to need a crew who can do the impossible. The crew includes Annie Anybody, a femme fatale who can magically makes machines fall in love with her; The Damned, a man condemned to Hell; The Ghost, a spectral art forger; and Johnny Wilde, a Mad Hatter drug artist.
Their target is the very secure Vault of Hammer, the aforementioned Most Evil Man in The World. Each of them hates him and has good reason to want him dead or humiliated. But getting him individually is impossible, so teaming up is their only option. Will they succeed? Will they manage not to stab each other in the back? Will Hammer figure out what’s happening and will they all die horribly?
All of these questions are answered rather nicely in one of Green’s better outings in some time. Based on this lead-off novel, I’ve rather great hopes for this series. Gideon Sable makes an interesting first person character and the premise, though it needs a bit of fleshing out, has great potential. As I mentioned above, Baen Books has already contracted for two more, so I’m looking forward to reading those novels.
(Baen Books, 2021)