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Read a full Thieves Gambit summary, book #1, in Kayvion Lewis’s Thieves Gambit series. This page is full of spoilers, so beware. If you are wondering what happened in Thieves Gambit, then you are in the right place to read a recap!

Special thanks to Susan Jensen, a BSR contributor, who wrote this great Thieves Gambit summary! Visit her blog to check out what she’s reading and see what’s on her mind. Don’t forget to follow Susan on Goodreads and Facebook!

Kayvion Lewis

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4.26 stars on Goodreads
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Thieves Gambit Recaps:
#1 Thieves Gambit (this page)
#2 Heist Royale (synopsis)

***** Everything below is a SPOILER *****

What happened in Thieves Gambit?

Here’s your Thieves Gambit summary: 

Rosalyn “Ross” Quest is a 17-year-old Black girl who is part of a wealthy, notorious family of thieves. She lives with her mother and her mother’s younger sister, Aunt Jaya, in the Bahamas. Her mother, Rhiannon, is estranged from the rest of the family for reasons she will not talk about with Ross. Ross’ father was an anonymous sperm donor who died in a car accident shortly after his donation. Ross has no siblings and she doesn’t know any extended members of her family besides Jaya. Because Rhiannon believes no one but Quests can be trusted, she keeps Ross isolated from other people. She has always been homeschooled, has never had any real friends, and has no life outside of her home. Although Ross enjoys being a thief and she loves her mother, she is aching to have a normal life in the real world. Since Rhiannon will never agree, Ross is planning to sneak off after her next job and get away for awhile on her own.

As Ross is preparing for her next heist, she receives an email in her family’s unhackable account from “The Organization” inviting her to participate in this year’s Thieves’ Gambit. Not sure what to make of it, she tells only Aunt Jaya about it. Jaya explains that the Gambit is a private, high-stakes, very competitive, often violent thieving competition. The winner is granted a wish from The Organization, which is wealthy and powerful enough to make ANYTHING happen. Aunt Jaya warns her away from the whole thing. Ross agrees.

Then, the job she’s doing with her mom goes awry and Rhiannon is kidnapped by the people they were trying to rob. Her captors set a one billion dollar ransom and give Ross one month to come up with the money. If she can’t do it, they will kill her mother. Ross and Jaya contact family members and associates trying to gather enough money, but they can’t accrue enough. Ross’ only option is to win the Thieves’ Gambit and use her prize wish to free Rhiannon.

Within an hour of accepting, Ross is boarding a private plane that already holds several teens, who appear to be unconscious. A “flight attendant” gives her a drugged beverage, which she agrees to drink. When Ross awakens, she is in a small, windowless room with a metal door adorned with dozens of different types of locks. She is alone and her belongings are not in the room. Using just her wits, she opens them all. When she steps through the metal door, she finds herself in a room with a dozen doors like the one she has just come through. Within several minutes, most of them have been unlocked and Ross meets the competition’s host and the teenage thieves against whom she will be competing. They are:

“Count”—A white, red-haired woman, she represents The Organization and is the host for the Gambit

Adra (does not give a surname)—from India Yeriel Antuñez—from Nicaragua

Noelia Boschert—A Swiss girl who is from a legendary European crime family, she has been Ross’ nemesis ever since the girls were thrown together at a ski camp eight years ago. Although Ross thought they were friends, Noelia set her up to take the fall for stealing fine jewelry from one of the instructors. She narrowly escaped being sent to juvenile detention and has hated Noelia ever since.

Devroe Kenzie—From England, Devroe is a Black boy who oozes charm and style. Mylo Michaelson—an American card shark from Las Vegas, Nevada
Kyung-soon Shin—a South Korean girl who is skilled with computers and technology Lucus Taylor—a large, aggressive Australian

Taiyō (does not give a surname)—a quiet, Japanese boy

Count informs the kids that the Gambit will be divided into three different phases with various tests in each. Contestants can be sent home for failing those or at the judges’ discrimination if they find the thieves’ performance underwhelming. Furthermore, contestants cannot win by killing the other competitors. Violence, however, may be used if needed, but only during the phases. The winner will receive their wish and will be required to be a contracted thief for The Organization for one year, earning sums greater than they’ve earned before.

Phase One begins. The thieves learn they are in the basement of the privately owned Museum of Historical Fashions just outside of Cannes, France. They are given a list of fifteen valuable items from the museum’s collection; each of them must steal one of the objects and bring it to a hotel in Marseille by 10:00 that evening.

Ross and the other competitors spend the day scoping out the museum. Ross realizes only eight of the objects on Count’s list are viable targets, making the competition more difficult than she first supposed. Devroe, who has been flirting with Ross, proposes a partnership; Ross declines.

At night, after the museum is closed, Ross hides in the vents above a 19th-Century Parisian opera mask. When she sees Devroe and Kyung-soon working together to steal it, she crawls through the vents to steal her Plan B item instead: a ruby and gold Empress’s Ring. She spies Noelia moving in on the ring, even though she can see Marie Antoinette’s shoes, another of the target objects, sticking out of Noelia’s messenger bag. Noelia tells the person she’s talking to through an earpiece—an anonymous partner—to go after a music box that’s also on the list. Ross realizes Noelia is collecting as many target objects as she can get for one reason: to make sure Ross can’t get them, thus losing the competition.

Ross drops from the vent and grabs the ring out of the case that Noelia already opened. Noelia chases her with the sharp cutting tool she used to open the case and Ross defends herself with

the meteor bracelet she always wears on her wrist. As she runs away, Adra comes out of the shadows and grabs her. Ross and Adra struggle for the ring. Noelia rushes in, uses her headband to shoot a projectile into a display case, which shatters, bringing security guards running. One shoots a gun, injuring Yeriel, who has been skulking in the shadows. While Ross is distracted by Yeriel, Adra grabs the ring. She and Noelia run off, but Ross can’t bear to leave Yeriel. She fights off a guard, then drags Yeriel to a hidden entrance that leads to an elevator. They then take a secret exit out of the museum.

Outside, to Ross’ shock, a car pulls up to the curb. Devroe, who is driving, tells the girls to get in. Kyung-soon is also in the car. Although both Devroe and Kyung-soon are hesitant, Ross insists they drop Yeriel at the nearest hospital. When they do, Yeriel gives Ross a mini portrait—one of the target objects—that she stole.

Ross, Devroe, and Kyung-soon arrive at the hotel in Marseilles, where Count informs all the thieves that they have all passed the first phase.

Afterward, as Ross and Devroe share an elevator up to their hotel rooms, Devroe tells Ross that he didn’t rescue her from the museum for free. She now owes him a favor. He suggests she pay up by going on a romantic room service dinner date in their rooms and she tells them she’s not interested in him and to leave her alone.

Ross calls her mother’s kidnapper and demands to speak to his captive. Rhiannon assures Ross that she’s fine and tells her to play the Gambit to win and to trust no one.

When Ross joins her fellow competitors in the dining room for breakfast, she notices that most of the chairs have been removed. There are only two tables, each with four chairs. Lucus is standing to eat, while Noelia and Adra have settled at one of the tables. Devroe and Kyung-soon sit at the other one. Mylo joins them and Taiyō sits down at Noelia’s table. Count enters and shows the contestants an image of the burial sarcophagus of an unidentified Egyptian pharaoh. She tells them this is their target for Phase Two of the competition. For this phase, they will be working in teams—with the people at their tables.

The thieves board a train to Paris. During the journey, Devroe tells Ross he’s doing the Gambit for his father, who died before Devroe was born. His dad was invited to the Gambit, but ended up not being able to compete. Devroe wants to win for him.

With 28 minutes left in the trip, the thieves all receive a text from Count. She tells them their job is to acquire the cell phone of Paris official Gabriel Raines, who is also on the train. The team that fails will receive a one-day delay penalty. Ross’ team finds him in the last private car. A woman, obviously his security detail, sits next to him. Taiyō is already in the car, so Ross asks him to partner with her. She’ll distract Gabriel’s security woman while he nabs the phone. Taiyō accomplishes the task using a dummy phone. Then, Devroe brushes against him and takes the phone. Just as they have all settled back in their seats, Noelia shows up with a security guard in tow, accusing Devroe of stealing her phone. Ross quickly sends a text to all the members of

their team, including Mylo, who is sitting nearby, instructing Devroe to kick the phone to Mylo under their seats. The security guard tells everyone that all passengers on the train will be searched for the official’s missing phone before they’re allowed to disembark in Paris. Anyone can refuse, but they will be handed over to police officers in Paris. As the kids are being searched, they sneak the phone around from person to person. It moves between members of both teams, ending with Devroe. Ross’s team wins the mini-competition and Noelia’s team receives a one-day delay penalty. Something about the way Taiyō fumbled with the phone on the train makes her think the other team wanted hers to win. Did Noelia’s team mess with the phone somehow?

Ross’s team flies from Paris to Cairo on a commercial plane. A hired car takes them to their posh hotel, outside of which they see a group of protestors with signs saying, “Keep Egypt’s Treasures Here!” The group also has a convincing, life-sized replica of the sarcophagus the kids have come to steal. Inside the hotel, they are each given a key card to the room they will be sharing and a flash drive, with no explanation as to what it’s for.

The kids immediately stash the cell phone from the train in their room safe before talking strategy for their upcoming heist.The sarcophagus is being sold at an auction the next day. Tonight, there is an auction preview. Knowing the artifact will be heavily guarded, the thieves decide tonight’s event will be used only for scouting; they will do the actual thieving after the sarcophagus has been sold to the highest bidder. Stealing it while it’s being transported seems like the most workable solution. The team decides to investigate which of the sarcophagus’ likely buyers has the weakest security and then make sure that person wins the auction. They also determine to use Kyung-soon’s computer skills to get Noelia and her team banned from attending the auction. It’s also decided that Devroe and Ross will dress up and attend the auction preview while Mylo and Kyung-soon do behind-the-scenes investigating.

As Ross and Devroe are getting dressed, Devroe tells Ross she can’t wear her ever-present meteor bracelet (which doubles as a weapon) to the event because it’s too grungy. He suggests getting it colored gold to make it less of an eyesore. She leaves it behind.

Ross and Devroe split up to scout around at the auction preview. While eyeing the sarcophagus, Ross notices a white man in a shabby suit. After bribing the guards to let him close to the artifact, the man is chased away by an auction official. Ross follows him. The mystery man joins a woman, also dressed less richly than the other guests. Ross figures out that they are buyers representing the British Museum, who have been given enough money to make sure they are the highest bidders for the sarcophagus.

When Ross and Devroe return to their hotel room, Devroe orders champagne from room service. He uses it to demonstrate to Ross how he can use his watch to secretly pour a small amount of tainted powder into someone’s drink. He gives her a bracelet with the same capability. While she practices using it, Devroe is flirting, obviously wanting to kiss her. Ross rejects him and he storms out of the room.

Mylo and Kyung-soon return to the room. When Ross tells them about the British Museum buyers, they confirm that they are the party with the best security. They also determine that the buyer with the most money and worst security team (thus the easiest to steal from) is a Malaysian socialite named Sadia Fazura. Devroe plans to drug her drink during the auction to make her more suggestible and compliant. He will then convince her to buy the sarcophagus.

While the team is planning, Devroe makes a rude remark to Mylo, then stomps out. Mylo also leaves in a huff. Ross follows him and shows him that she has palmed Devroe’s phone. Using a device she stole from Kyung-soon, Ross downloads the information on his phone to hers. The only thing suspicious they find is a string of texts between Devroe and his mother. He sends a text every day saying he’s alive (literally) and she responds occasionally with a string of numbers. Ross and Mylo figure it’s some kind of code, but why would texts to his mom need to be encoded? In his photo gallery, Ross finds a photograph of a young Devroe and his mother sitting somberly in a graveyard. There’s also a shot of an old letter written to Devroe from his father before Devroe was born. Ross realizes Devroe is dealing with more family drama than she knew and feels guilty for snooping around on his phone.

The next day, Ross can’t find her meteor bracelet. Figuring Devroe pocketed it, she texts him. He comes into their room with gift bags, one of which holds her bracelet, which he has had colored rose gold for her. She is awed and feels compelled to tell him that she looked through his phone. She apologizes and he tells her they’re even. They dress up and head to the auction, arm-in-arm.

Ross finds her target—a woman representing the British Museum—and goes to sit next to her in the very front of the auction room. She’s stunned to see that Noelia is already there. When the other girl begins speaking to an older, important-looking man, Ross realizes that Noelia has used one of her real-life contacts to get her removed from the list of people banned from attending the auction.

With only 30 minutes until the auction starts, everyone receives a text from Count saying they are to acquire digital folders from two different hotel rooms. The losing team will receive an undisclosed penalty. Ross decides she can handle the task on her own while the rest of her team stays in position. Both hotel rooms have security guards outside. With Noelia on her tail, Ross breaks into a room that is above the others she needs to access. Scaling down their balconies, she enters the first targeted room, where she is able to acquire the folders using the flash drive she was given when she checked into the hotel. Ross deletes the hard drive, but not before copying over its contents using the laptop’s dusty c-port drive. When Ross explores the hard drive contents, she discovers it contains notes about past Gambits, sensitive information about players, secret contact information, etc. She discovers that—unbeknownst to her—her mother, Rhiannon Quest, was a past winner of the Gambit. One of the thieves she competed against was Noelia’s father.

Ross breaks into the second room and copies the files on the laptop within without being able to look at its content. While she’s waiting, she continues to look through the information from the

first laptop. She discovers Count’s real name—Aurélie Dubois. With no time left, Ross goes to the balcony to escape. To her surprise, she encounters Taiyō and Noelia, who cuff her to the balcony railing. Noelia takes the bracelet with the powder inside of it. They tell her their team is stealing her team’s plan, which they learned all about because of the bug Taiyō put in her jacket (not on the official’s phone) while they were on the train.

Ross escapes the balcony with the help of two kids on a neighboring balcony who use foam dart guns to shoot bobby pins her way, which she uses to unlock the cuffs. When she gets loose, a text from Count says her team has lost the penalty game and will not be able to communicate with each other for the next hour.

By the time Ross makes it back to the auction room, the sarcophagus is long gone. Ross sees the bidder from the British Museum and Sadia Fazura still sitting there, swaying and giggling. They’ve obviously been drugged. When Ross finds Devroe, it’s clear that he’s also been drugged by Noelia’s team and is now completely useless. She sends him back to his room with a bellhop.

Ross steals a car, which she uses to get to the truck carrying the sarcophagus. She clings to the underside of the truck until it stops at a warehouse loading bay. She creeps into the room where Noelia’s team has tied up Mylo and Kyung-soon. Ross makes an unintentional sound, which blows her surprise entrance. Noelia’s team takes the truck with the sarcophagus inside of it. Ross then explains to Kyung-soon (who was not in on ALL of her team’s plan) that the artifact inside the truck is actually the replica made by the protestors who were gathered outside of their hotel. Ross had secretly taken apart the real sarcophagus and loaded it into several boxes that were transported to the warehouse along with the fake sarcophagus and Sadia’s other winnings from the auction.

As Mylo and Kyung-soon take the real sarcophagus to Count, Ross returns to the hotel room, where Devroe is still suffering from the effects of the drugs he’d been given by Noelia’s team. He’s apologetic about being beaten at his own game. Knowing Devroe’s mind is more open and pliable than ever, Ross asks Devroe if she can trust him. He replies that that’s up to her, but that their relationship feels more real than any he’s ever had with previous girls in his life. He also tells her that he’s playing the Gambit for his mom, even though he previously said he was playing for his dad. As Devroe drifts off to sleep, he asks Ross to lie beside him. She does and they sleep that way all night.

The next morning, at the airport, Devroe tells Ross that he’s playing the Gambit for his mother because he hasn’t seen her in months, she won’t tell him where she is, and he’s worried about her. If he wins, he will use his wish to find her. As they talk, Ross begins to really trust—for the first time—that he’s not playing her, that he really, truly likes her. They kiss for the first time.

The thieves fly to a posh, remote resort in the British Virgin Islands. Count arrives and announces that only Ross and Noelia have made it through to Phase Three. When the others protest, she says the judges can make any decision they want and they were all impressed with

Ross and Noelia’s ingenuity and resourcefulness. Then she announces a twist: Ross and Noelia each get to choose one person who gets to stay in the game. Noelia immediately picks Taiyō. Lucus and Adra are escorted off the island. Although she feels terrible about it, Ross chooses Devroe. Mylo and Kyung-soon leave, saying they have no hard feelings against her.

For Phase Three, each of the contestants is texted a photograph of a person who, they assume, they are supposed to kidnap. Ross’s target is Nicholi Boschert, Noelia’s beloved younger brother. Devroe’s is Taiyō’s older brother. She can’t see what targets the others have been given, but she assumes they are related to Devroe and herself. Count says they have three days to nab their targets. They are not to be killed, but violence can be used to capture them.

Noelia has already called for a ride. Ross leaps into the car before Noelia knows what’s happening. She proposes they work together, especially since Noelia’s target is Aunt Jaya. When Noelia agrees, Ross shoves her out of the car, pretending to be angry with her. Devroe gets in and the two drive to an airport where they board a charter jet to Switzerland. Noelia tails them and, dressed as a flight attendant, Noelia “sneaks” onto their plane. Together, the three plan how to reach Nicholi, who is working undercover at a private boys’ school in Switzerland.

As Ross and Noelia talk on the trip, Noelia tells Ross she needs to win the Gambit in order to prove that she’s capable of leading the Boschert thieving family. She also sees a picture of Ross’s mom and says that she remembers Rhiannon from the Alpine ski camp where Ross and Noelia first met. Even though Ross can’t believe it, Noelia insists that Rhiannon gave Noelia a note that was supposedly from Ross that altered plans they had and ended in Ross being accused of stealing jewelry and almost sent to juvenile detention. Ross is shocked to learn that her mother set her up, apparently to teach her a harsh lesson about the dangers of having friends or trusting anyone outside of the Quest family. She can’t believe her mother would have been that cruel.

While Ross is searching for Nicholi at his school, she’s pretty sure she spies Taiyō on campus. Devroe doesn’t believe her, but he says he will search for him and stay on him if necessary. Ross arranges a secret meeting with Nicholi, whose assignment has been to befriend a prime minister’s son and get dirt on his father in order to oust the man from his position. While doing that, he has also been compiling dirt on a lot of other important people with children at his school. Nicholi has organized the information he’s gathered into a spreadsheet, which he shares with Ross. Ross enlists Kyung-soon and Mylo to cross-reference the information on Nicholi’s spreadsheet with what she found on the laptop in the hotel room.

Once the matching is complete, Ross discovers dirt on Count. When Count and her wife got divorced a couple of years ago, their son wanted to live with her wife instead of with Count. Count bribed a judge to get full custody of the boy. Ross uses the information to convince Count to pay her mother’s bail of one billion dollars. She does so.

As Nicholi is leaving their meeting, Taiyō grabs him. Devroe, who is supposed to be babysitting Taiyō, is nowhere to be found. Taiyō shoves Nicholi into a car and speeds toward an airport

hangar. Ross follows. While she distracts his captor, Nicholi jumps out and gets in Ross’s car. Ross slams her car into Taiyō’s, then calls for an ambulance while she races away.

Ross and Nicholi go to the house the thieves have been renting in Switzerland. They find Noelia cuffed to some pipes in the bathroom. She says Devroe is the one who restrained her. She also tells Ross that he is on his way to the Bahamas, presumably to kidnap Aunt Jaya. Using the information she downloaded previously from Devroe’s phone, Ross realizes that the numbers his mother had been sending him are actually locations. He lied about not knowing where she was. Then a text comes through from Devroe, saying: “I didn’t have a choice. I’m sorry.” Ross immediately calls Jaya and tells her to get off the island. The call breaks up before she can say more. Ross tries to get Count to reconnect them, but she says Ross will get no more favors from her since the evidence Ross had against her has now been destroyed.

Ross calls Mylo and Kyung-soon, who are in Miami, and asks them to fly to the Bahamas to save Aunt Jaya. Ross follows as soon as she can. She gets a call from Count telling her that the plane Mylo and Kyung-soon are on has been rerouted. Ross is to meet her at an abandoned, half-built hotel in Nassau, Bahamas. Devroe navigates her way to a ballroom, where she finds herself surrounded by an audience of richly-dressed people. She realizes that many of their faces are familiar; that they’ve been present at various places throughout the Gambit. Count announces that Devroe has won the Gambit.

How did Thieves Gambit end?

Before Count goes on, Ross demands to know where Aunt Jaya is. Count tells her that the Gambit is a lot more “connected” than she realizes. On Count’s ever-present tablet is Rhiannon Quest, Ross’s mother. Ross discovers that her mom wasn’t really kidnapped. In fact, she helped plan the Gambit, even knowing Aunt Jaya would be one of the intended targets. Ross is shocked and horrified that her mother would go to such crazy, deadly lengths to keep Ross from leaving her and the business.

Ross then learns that Devroe’s mom competed against Rhiannon in their Gambit. Devroe’s father was supposed to be the contestant, but he was too ill to compete. His wife went in his stead, intending to use her wish to save his life. Even knowing that, Rhiannon heartlessly won the game, although she will not say what she used her wish for, what was more important than saving a sick man’s life. Devroe and his family have wanted revenge on the Quest family, specifically Rhiannon, ever since. With his wish, he could have Ross and her entire family killed. Instead, Devroe announces that he wants to save his wish for later.

Relieved, Ross says she will do anything to save Aunt Jaya, who is being held in a back room with a gun to her head. Count says they will accept a previously-arranged deal The Organization made with Rhiannon concerning Aunt Jaya’s ransom with one caveat: Ross has to work as The Organization’s contract thief for one year, alongside Devroe. Ross reluctantly accepts, knowing she has no real choice in the matter.

Count tells Ross and Devroe to get ready because their year working for The Organization begins immediately.

There you go! That’s what happened in Thieves Gambit by Kayvion Lewis. We hope you enjoyed this Thieves Gambit summary with spoilers.

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thieves gambit summary

Special thanks to Susan Jensen, a BSR contributor, who wrote this great Thieves Gambit summary! Visit her blog to check out what she’s reading and see what’s on her mind. Don’t forget to follow Susan on Goodreads and Facebook!

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