Guest Review: Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
Published October 10th 2013 by Orion
Ebook provided by Sainsbury Ebooks
The third in the Gentleman Bastard series by American author Scott Lynch, The Republic of Thieves lives up to expectations every bit. For one, we meet Sabetha Belacoros, the female who has long haunted, supported and plagued Locke’s thoughts, all in absentia. The two met when they were both part of a child thief gang and she was charged with being his guardian.
In the fallout from the previous book, Red Seas Under Red Skies, Locke is dying, poisoned, and Jean must help him, but the price of crossing the Bonds Magi, the group of assassins charged with magical power, may have been too great. Patience, one of the Bonds Magi, appears to the pair of gentlemen bastards and offers them a deal in their darkest hour – to aid her and her faction in rigging elections for which they will receive money and she will save Locke’s life. The only catch is that Sabetha is working for the other side.
We are shown throughout the book the development of Locke as a boy and young man with Sabetha through flashbacks set against the pair’s current games. The book is predominantly set against the backdrop of the relationship, past and present, of Locke and Sabetha, which is just fine for the most part. The development allows for Locke’s trademark wittiness and humour. However, the romance angle of the story does seem somewhat drawn out at times and the ‘main plot’ loses out.
During the writing of this most recent addition to Scott Lynch’s series, the author was diagnosed with depression and split with his wife, which may or may not have been the driving force behind the focus on the tumultuous relationship between Locke and Sabetha.
However all that said, it is a very important addition to the series and a return to the writing of The Lies of Locke Lamora. What we learn about the characters (and even the author) is invaluable to anyone reading this as part of a series, and I strongly suggest you do.
Lynch’s writing, though not focussed on the intricate plot to the same extent as we may be used to, is still trademark Lynch. The wit, the raw, unadulterated realness of the characters and the language are all just as brilliant as we would expect. I feel that the focus on the emotional side of the story in this instalment allows us to know the characters better and Lynch has really opened them up. There is plenty of time in the next books for more focus on action.
After their adventures on the high seas, Locke and Jean are brought back to earth with a thump. Jean is mourning the loss of his lover and Locke must live with the fallout of crossing the all-powerful magical assassins the Bonds Magi. It is a fall-out that will pit both men against Locke’s own long lost love. Sabetha is Locke’s childhood sweetheart, the love of Locke’s life and now it is time for them to meet again. Employed on different sides of a vicious dispute between factions of the Bonds Sabetha has just one goal – to destroy Locke for-ever.
Tom Erik Dale is a freelance journalist, writer and lover of all things literary. I have long been an enthusiastic reader of both fiction and non-fiction and a keen believer in the digital reader revolution.
This review and ebook have been sponsored by Sainsbury Ebooks. The opinion of the reviewer is his own.