Title: The Republic of Thieves
Series: Gentleman Bastard, #3
Author: Scott Lynch
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: October 8th, 2013
Length: 650 pages | 23 hours 48 minutes
Source: Borrowed from my local library
With what should have been the greatest heist of their career gone spectacularly sour, Locke and his trusted partner, Jean, have barely escaped with their lives. Or at least Jean has. But Locke is slowly succumbing to a deadly poison that no alchemist or physiker can cure. Yet just as the end is near, a mysterious Bondsmage offers Locke an opportunity that will either save him or finish him off once and for all.
Magi political elections are imminent, and the factions are in need of a pawn. If Locke agrees to play the role, sorcery will be used to purge the venom from his body – though the process will be so excruciating he may well wish for death. Locke is opposed, but two factors cause his will to crumble: Jean’s imploring – and the Bondsmage’s mention of a woman from Locke’s past: Sabetha. She is the love of his life, his equal in skill and wit, and now, his greatest rival.
Locke was smitten with Sabetha from his first glimpse of her as a young fellow orphan and thief-in-training. But after a tumultuous courtship, Sabetha broke away. Now they will reunite in yet another clash of wills. For faced with his one and only match in both love and trickery, Locke must choose whether to fight Sabetha – or to woo her. It is a decision on which both their lives may depend.
Once again, Scott Lynch took me on a rollicking journey with unexpected wins and losses. I’m torn now, because I really want to read the next one (which comes out this month, I think) but I’m loving listening to these on audiobook. I hope they don’t take too long to record the audiobook- the narrator is still outstanding, though this one was a bit lengthy.
It was great to finally meet Sabetha, knowing Locke’s devotion to her, and even though I didn’t like her as a character, she was well fleshed-out. She also has a great stance on autonomy, feminism, and leadership. She’s competitive, and she’s good- as good as Locke. My biggest problem, to be brutally honest, is that she seems to be constantly looking for reasons to mistrust Locke. And though he can sometimes be arrogant and insensitive, having had the story from Locke’s perspective, I KNOW his feelings for Sabetha are true and unwavering. So I was impatient with her bordering-on-paranoid handling of the situation.
The narrative jumps between the past, with the Gentleman Bastards as teens and starting to come into their own, and the current plot, which takes place very soon after the events of book #2. I still love Jean, I miss the Sansa twins, and I want Locke to always win. Sadly, this is not a book filled with our boys coming out on top.
That said, it was filled with surprises. I didn’t see anything coming, especially not the final quarter or so of the plot. I was nervous for the possible outcomes, and pleasantly surprised. It ends with a very real and immediate threat to Locke and Jean, more so than Books 1 and 2 ever did. I’m wary of what that means for book 4, and the challenges Locke and Jean will face.
As ever, this series is delightful in its heist/swashbuckling adventures, creative use of language, well-developed characters, twisty plots, and gorgeous world building. I can’t wait to keep reading, for as long as Scott Lynch continues writing it. I highly recommend it for everyone, especially if you enjoy fantasy and movies like The Italian Job and Oceans 11. But, of course, start with book 1.