Book Review (SERIES): Queen of Kats

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Queen of Kats by John G. Hartness

  1. Betrayal
  2. Survival
  3. Revolution


It should have been so simpleā€¦
Remarin is a thief. He was hired to steal a gem. No big deal, right?
Yeah, right.
He stole the gem, then everything went sideways, and now he’s running for his life across rooftops, through sewers, and all over the godsforsaken world trying not to get dead.
And who is this kid, Kit, anyway?


Queen of Kats is available for sale as three stand-alone novellas (99 cents for Betrayal, 2.99 for Survival, and 2.99 for Revolution) or as one collection (4.99). – pricing from 1/18/2021

Queen of Kats is reminiscent of the heyday of sword & sorcery fantasy of the late 20th century, where the adventure focuses on the thieves (Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser by Fitz Leiber is one example). The fights in Queen of Kats are amazingly detailed, the break-ins and skills needed engrossing, and the political action layered. I think this series is some of Mr. Hartness’ best work so far.


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It was supposed to be a simple heist – break into some rich idiot’s house, steal a gem, sell it to his usual fence.

Then everything went sideways, and now Remarin is running for his life and embroiled in matters of state far above his station.

The nimble thief just wanted to live his life, be left alone, and steal from people that have more than they deserve. But now he’s got a talking dagger with an attitude problem, a teenaged sidekick that is worth far more dead than alive, and a price on his head that makes him think it might be worth it to turn himself in!


Betrayal is a non-stop action beginning to a fantasy adventure reminiscent of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd & the Grey Mouser. Remarin has stolen a great gem, this time for a contract rather than for his own individual challenge. Problems start when the contract gets canceled with prejudice after he completed the job. Then there was this orphan waif kid needing rescuing – and while Remarin is a thief, he isn’t a killer, okay, he is a killer, but not a killer of children. Got to draw the line somewhere and there just isn’t much profit at killing children. And it would upset his dagger – his sentient dagger who used to be his best friend. Now they are on the run. Him, the dagger, and the kid whose head price makes Remarin just a bit jealous because it blows the bounty on his head out of the water.

And now they were in water. Sewer water to be exact, but it got them into a city. A city where Remarin left a couple years ago because of …. issues … with the guild head.

And the story just continues rolling. Off to read the next book.

You want adventure fantasy, this novella really works well.


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The thief with impulse control trouble and a talking dagger is back, and this time there are whole realms at stake!

After getting Kit out of Veosia with her treacherous uncle’s men hot on their heels, Remarin thought they were safely hidden away until he began to notice a man following him in the market.

But the man isn’t looking for Kit, he’s someone from Remarin’s past, and some of his old sins are coming back to haunt him. Now the thief has to reveal that he’s also much more than he previously let on, and Veosia might not be the only kingdom in danger.


Book two finds our pair of protagonists, Remarin and Kit, three years after the events in Betrayal. Kit has become a skilled master thief under Remarin’s questionable mercies. While they supposedly are planning her response to the Betrayal by Kit’s Uncle and his seizure of her throne, time has made them comfortable. They have found a city and a place in the city, carved out a bit of comfort and predictability in their very uncomfortable and unpredictable world.

It comes to an end, not from Kit’s past and politics catching up with them, but Remarin’s. And not his recent past with angry husbands and fathers – that wouldn’t have both Past AND Politics catching up with them. Now instead of running from danger, they have to run towards it – because Remarin’s baby brother is the one in danger. Can the thief arrive in time to save the day?

A quick read (novella) and really hard to put down. The story is complete to itself but. also, has a big pull-through last line for the final book of the series. Plus side – The complete series is available so off I go to the next one!


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Remarin and Kit have returned to the scene of the crime in Bravis, ready to depose the usurper King Alexander and avenge the murder of Kit’s father, the rightful king. But nothing is as easy as it should be, and sacrifices will have to be made before Kit can ascend the throne as the Queen of Kats!


Revolution finds Kat and Remarin returning to their beginning in an effort to overthrow her uncle after he had nearly a decade to entrench, but Kat had time to grow from a teenage pampered princess to a hardened thief. Will her time maturing, and Remarin conniving, be enough to win against her evil uncle?

Not as funny or pure joy action-packed of the previous novellas which focused more on thievery, this political punch novella works on revolution. With the tone change, I didn’t enjoy the book as much, though I understand why the tone change occurred. Via Revolution!

The story is complete, and it leaves a couple paths for future fantasy should Mr. Hartness want to return to this universe.