You read Lisa Maxwell’s The Last Magician and fell in love with Esta and Harte and their magical and dangerous world. Then you read The Devil’s Thief and fell even further! Now you’re ready to read The Serpent’s Curse, but you don’t remember everything that happened. That’s where this recap of The Devil’s Thief comes in!
Find the ultimate recap of The Last Magician here.
The Ultimate Recap of The Devil’s Thief
1902: We jump right back into New York City, where Cela, costume maker extraordinaire, is looking after Harte’s dying mother and unbeknownst to her, one of the Order’s artifacts, a ring. As Harte’s mother takes her last breathe, Cela hears gunshots – her brother has been shot and her house is on fire. Thanks, Harte. Cela escapes and takes refuge at the theatre, where Evelyn bewitches her and steals the ring. Harte had instructed Jianyu to keep Cela safe, but he arrives too late to save the ring. And then poor Jianyu gets beat up.
Harte and Esta have breached the Brink and they’re off to gather all the Order’s artifacts, the stones, back together to keep them out of the Order’s clutches. They don’t fully trust each other and tension is high. Also, the Book is IN Harte and it wants nothing more than to consume Esta. Harte is trying very hard not to let that happen.
At the train station in New Jersey, they run into the WOAT (worst of all time), Jack Grew, and, in a total callback to book 1, Esta kisses him trying to get away and Harte sees it and obvi, doesn’t like it. Esta slows time and she and Harte try to escape, but her affinity feels wobbly and Jack catches up to them. He winds up with the Book and Esta and Harte jump time on the train, accidentally ending up 2 years in the future.
Stone update: Evelyn has the ring; Esta has the cuff.
1902: Jack is back in NYC and MAD. He’s visited by an old friend, Theo, and his fiancé, and he tells them all about the fiasco on the train, which exploded. The Herald publishes an expose on the Order, by an R.A. Reynolds, and Jack is told to put together a big shindig to distract everyone from their shame.
Jianyu ends up back in Nibsy’s hands (look, I could call Nibsy James Lorcan, but he doesn’t like to be called Nibsy, and I don’t like him, so that’s what I’m calling him!!). In a dramatic turnabout, Cela saves Jianyu from Nibsy’s clutches.
1904: Harte and Esta arrive in St. Louis, looking for Julien, a fellow performer whom Harte sent one of the other artifacts, a necklace: the Djinni’s Star. Julien, who is even more dramatic than Harte, informs Esta she’s infamous, known as The Devil’s Thief for blowing up that train.
A lot has changed in the past 2 years. The Defense Against Magic Act has made unregulated natural magic illegal. In response, the Antistasi, a group of anarchists, have been using magic to make trouble. Turns out, magic does live outside NYC and there’s a bounty on Esta’s head. Harte and Esta return to their hotel but the Jefferson Guard, hunters of magic, are there, and Esta has to hijack time on top of a moving elevator to get away. It’s pretty cool. The Antistasi have learned The Devil’s Thief is in town too, and with their help, Harte and Esta manage to escape.
While they remain anonymous to the duo, we meet the Antistasi: Mother Ruth, their leader, her sister Maggie, and Jericho Northwood aka North, who has a magical pocket watch.
Unfortunately, Jack Grew is in St. Louis in 1904 too. NO! He’s been taking a lot of morphine and getting really cozy with the Book these past two years. He narrowly misses Harte and Esta at the hotel. Phew!
Stone update: Evelyn has the ring; Esta has the cuff; Julien has the necklace?
1902: When Viola saved Esta on the bridge, she betrayed Nibsy and so is forced to ask her awful brother, Paul Kelly, for protection. Paul “allows” her to “work” for him and tells her to kill R.A. Reynolds. Surprise! It’s Ruby, Theo’s finance, and she’s cute, if rather rich and naive! Viola pretends to kill Ruby and Theo, and when she’s cornered by them later, agrees to work with them. Ruby wants to take down the Order by exposing them as working with Mageus. We like the goal, don’t love the method.
1904: All this wobbly time travel has taken a toll on Esta so Harte leaves Esta to meet Julien. Nobody leaves Esta in a corner! She joins them at the saloon, with her hair cut short and dressed as a man. But Julien doesn’t have the necklace! He sold it to the Veiled Prophet. Turns out, this Veiled Prophet Society is just like the Order back in NYC. Ugh.
Harte and Esta hide out in a boarding house where things get steamy. Harte FINALLY kisses Esta for real for real but as things are heating up, Harte has a vision from the Book, and pulls back to protect Esta. She is not pleased. I too, was not pleased.
The next day, Esta, Harte, and Julien visit the 1904 World’s Fair, where the necklace is being displayed in the Egypt exhibit. Harte has another weird vision from the Book on the Nile ride, and they agree they must steal the necklace back, despite the heavy security.
Stone update: Evelyn has the ring; Esta has the cuff; the Society has the necklace.
1902: Logan Sullivan arrives in the past where Esta left him. Jianyu was supposed to intercept him, but misses him due to his injuries. So Logan is able to go to Nibsy and give him his new journal. Oh good, give the guy who knows everything more info! Nibsy still doesn’t trust Logan, and sends him to find the ring to prove his loyalty. Cela and Jianyu have gone to retrieve the ring from Evelyn too and they all three collide, and surprise! Cela’s brother Abel is alive! But no one gets the ring.
Viola meets Ruby and Theo in Central Park and they take a romantic boat ride. Ok, it’s not that romantic, and we learn that Ruby really doesn’t like magic.
1904: Harte and Esta have been casing the Fair and are ready to steal the necklace. Harte has another vision and realizes the power inside him has name: Seshat. Inconvenient, but what’s worse is the necklace is gone and they narrowly escape. This time, the Antistasi “save” them but also kidnap them. They take Esta’s time travel cuff, which you’ll remember is one of the stones, and we learn that Harte’s name was Ben O’Doherty! Hey Ben!
To prove themselves trustworthy to the Antistasi, Esta has to deliver a suspicious package to a socialist meeting, and she does so successfully, because her magic works just fine as long as she isn’t touching Harte. The package sets off a cloud of magic that “unlocks” people’s hidden magic. Harte really doesn’t like the Antistasi’s methods, but Esta thinks they may have a point in trying to protect those with magic.
Stone update: Evelyn has the ring; the Antistasi have the cuff; the Society has the necklace.
1902: Viola reluctantly meets Ruby & Theo again. Nibsy has Mooch set the Bowery on fire to send a message, and while Viola drops Mooch to stop the fire, in the ensuing commotion, Theo is shot. Viola uses magic to save him and exposes her magic to Ruby, who is horrified. Theo is unfazed, the dear. He talks some sense into Ruby, but she’s not sure if Viola will ever forgive her.
1904: Even though they’re locked up by the Antistasi, Esta sneaks over to see Harte, who explains about the power inside of him, Seshat, who got trapped in the Book by Thoth. If they can get the stones, they can use Esta to contain Seshat again. Esta wants to help the Antistasi; Harte does not. The Antistasi’s brewery hideout is set on fire (so much fire!), and Harte and Esta go to great lengths to save each other, my babies. Esta tries to rescue her cuff but can’t find it.
Stone update: Evelyn has the ring; the Antistatsi have the cuff? The Society has the necklace.
Buckle up, things are about to go down.
1902: It’s time for Jack’s big shindig and everyone is attending. Evelyn is there with the ring and Cela and Jianyu have snuck in to get it back. Ruby is there to get her scoop, and accidentally lets slip to Jack that she’s Reynolds. Viola is there on Paul’s orders. They all realize there’s trouble at the same moment and try to save each other with mixed results. Viola rescues Ruby, who kisses her! Jack conjures some sort of creepy shadow monster from the Book’s power to attack Evelyn. Viola throws her knife at Cela, who is trying to get the ring from Evelyn, and Jianyu jumps in front of it. Everyone is divided in the chaos, and Jack may or may not have gotten the ring?!
1904: The Antistasi plan to use their magic serum on President Roosevelt, who is in town for the Fair (Jack’s busy cozying up to him ofc). Harte’s like, let’s get the stones and get out of here! Esta’s like, we must help them! Esta wins. So they have Julien sneak them into a parade where they swap the necklace with a fake, which contains the magic serum. But the Antistasi discover that their serum unlocks magic but then kills people, and suddenly, their necklace plan is not looking good. Everyone abandon’s Mother Ruth’s plan, and they go to the gala to try to stop the serum from being exposed. Esta gets her cuff back.
North’s pocket watch takes them back a few hours and they infiltrate the gala. Oh! More time travel magic! Harte and Jack run into each other, and the power in Jack, Thoth, confronts the power in Harte, Seshat. They get into a fight and Esta pulls on her magic to save Harte, and Esta gets pulled in to the darkness too. And despite all their best efforts, the magic serum is released.
Harte, Esta, Maggie, and North escape St. Louis on a train. When Esta regains consciousness, Harte and her cuff are gone and all she has is a bracelet with a secret message from him. That, and a new scar on her wrist, carved there by Nibsy in 1902 when she was a little girl. It says Redi, which means “return” in Latin. Nibsy wants her back. He’s in NYC and has gotten a telegram that says his agent in the West has two artifacts. This is excellent for this new task: leading the Antistasi. Gasp!
Stone update: Jack has something?? Where is the ring?! Harte has the cuff…and maybe the necklace?! Nibsy’s agent in the West has the other two??
Harte and Esta escape NYC but blow up a train and end up in 1904.
In 1902, Jianyu and Cela unsuccessfully try to get the ring artifact back from Evelyn. Jack Grew causes trouble. Ruby, a reporter, works to expose him, and drags Viola into her schemes. Logan delivers Nibsy’s notebook from the future, and Nibsy’s power grows.
In 1904, Harte and Esta visit the St. Louis World’s Fair to try to get the necklace artifact back. They are stymied by the Society and sidetracked by magical anarchists, the Antistasi. Ultimately, they get the necklace and escape the city, but are divided.