Author: Scott Lynch
Publisher: Del Rey-Spectra
Where I Received the Title: NetGalley
Ah, so here it is! The book I’ve been waiting to read — the book we’ve all been waiting to read and it is finally here!
The Republic of Thieves has been one of the most anticipated sequels in the last five years. With each delay, the anticipation of eager fans only grew. From that standpoint, it is nearly impossible to deliver a novel that will knock the socks off the faithful readers. But did it quench that insatiable thirst to know Locke’s fate and learn of his new adventures? Absolutely!
Scott Lynch tortured us by leaving the second Gentleman Bastard book, Red Seas Under Red Skies, on a cliff-hanger that left readers everywhere restless. In The Republic of Thieves, Lynch absolves himself of his sin by delivering an imperfect, but quite satisfying work.
Locke Lamora lies on his deathbed as his faithful companion, Jean Tannen, bribes and kidnaps the most prominent of physikers to remove the poison from his body. Despite Jean’s efforts, Locke’s condition continues to get worse. When all hope appears to be lost, a bonds-magi by the name of Patience shows up at their doorstep with an offer that Locke simply can’t refuse. In exchange for his life, Locke must rig a political election. Under normal circumstances, this would be a walk in the park; however, Locke learns that he will face the most formidable opponent he has ever encountered — his first true love, Sabetha.
To tell you any more of the plot would be of disservice, but I’ll share a few broad impressions I had.
Many fans were critical of Red Seas Under Red Skies for not furthering the story arc of the bondsmagi. The Republic of Thieves gives us intimate details of this underground clan. We learn of their inner-workings and politics and even discover a connection that Locke may have to these conjurers. Locke’s encounters with Patience help to develop the world he lives in, but it almost serves as a backdrop to his attempts to: first, reacquaint himself with Sabetha, and secondarily, survive.
Locke’s relationship with Sabetha is interwoven deeply throughout the novel. She is in many ways Locke’s equal, but stays ahead of him by avoiding the romantic allure that cripples Locke’s efforts. Sabetha keeps her emotions closer to the vest and I was often uncertain where her heart resided. Their interaction was written well, but the complexity of the story was toned down from previous novels. There are fewer cons to titillate the reader and the action is slower, making this novel more of an interesting read than a fun one.
Despite its slower pacing, The Republic of Thieves cemented in my mind that this is a series to read for the long haul. The broader story arc of the series is now clear, leaving my expectations high for the next in series. In fact, I didn’t previously own any of the Gentleman Bastard books, but after finishing this novel, I went out and purchased a nice first-edition hardcover of The Lies of Locke Lamora. I will be grabbing nice copies of the other two as well.
The Republic of Thieves is an excellent novel. If you haven’t read this book or series, I strongly suggest you do so. Some writers crank out several books a year, but Lynch’s meticulous efforts in writing his novels pays off. His prose is full of wit and the experience of reading his books is like drinking a well-aged, single-malt scotch, compared to the grocery store bottle of whiskey that you get from lesser writers. If you prefer cheap booze because of its convenience, then maybe this isn’t the series for you. If you like to savor a quality drink — sip-by-sip — over the course of an evening, The Gentleman Bastard series is right up your alley. The Republic of Thieves was worth the wait.