11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2014
While the first two books were full of intrigue, plots, lies, twists and surprises, this book feels sort of one dimensional in comparison. The plotting and scheming take second place to a character background saga which does not fit with the other two books. I should have realised it was going like this when fully 30% of this novel deals with how Locke gets out of the certain death he faced at the the end of the second book. The remaining two thirds is split between his present 'adventure' and a historical background about his early life. This does not leave any time for the complex scheming and surprises found in the first two novels and so it turns out to be just a quite well written story which seems to be a link to the next book.
Overall, I was expecting more. I am now wondering whether to read the 4th book when it comes out - I will probably wait to see the review comments
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 2013
Suffers from the same problem as Red Seas... in that it does not hold a candle to the original book. The revelation of Locke 's past and the return of an old enemy during the epilogue seem shoe-horned in as an excuse to extend the series. Each book loses more of what made the first so awesome. The flashback is more interesting than the actual continuation of the present day plotline, but there were whole chapters dedicated to the characters performing a play. This is a book that seems to go nowhere but is still recommended for the interaction between Locke, Jean and Sabetha.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 May 2014
My suspicion is that this novel suffers a bit from being a necessary step into the bigger events that will shape the next four in the series (which hopefully aren't as many years in coming as this one). It has its strengths but they get a bit lost in the mix.
The chapters are divided between the present time and flashbacks to the characters' pasts. This format was also used in both the prequels if memory serves. I liked the backstory for a lot of elements - We get a bit more of Father Chains' brilliant and often hilarious charaterisation; some light is shed on Sabetha's previously mysterious character; and it introduces a band of interesting characters, some or none of which we may ever see again. Finally it explored some of the rites and doings of the cult of the Nameless Thirteenth, which was great- the secret God of Thieves is one of my favourite elements of Lynch's world.
However, the main plot just doesn't flow quite as we've come to expect from Locke Lamora. The first two books were full of narrow escapes, life-and-death double-crossing, twists and the occasional gritty fight scene. Here, the two remaining Gentlemen Bastards are press-ganged into rigging an election , so while there is a great deal of scheming, plotting and political intrigue, most of it is seen at one remove. There is a sense of great activity going on in the background but not that it actually matters that much. Locke and Jean are at the helm of a vast political machine rather than the thick of it for much of the novel, and while some of the moves and countermoves are brilliant, the GBs are essentially guaranteed to be free from harm win or lose. Admittedly this promise comes from arguably their worst living enemies, but still - they don't have a stake in the contest, and it all adds up to make the contest less exciting than it should be. There are some big revelations about Locke's past and the world, not to mention some political developments, but they also get a bit lost because they're not (yet) explored very far. All this gets broken up further by the flashback chapters, which I enjoyed in their own right but slowed down the main plot more.
And then we get to the end, and suddenly two or three huge plot twists show up at once and force the reader to re-evaluate everything they've just read.
I enjoyed the book overall, but in short, the pacing stops it from comparing well to the original. I do, however, still have high hopes for the rest.
40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
*** This review contains potential spoilers if you haven't read books one and two in this series ***
The Republic of Thieves is essentially two books for the price of one.
The first follows on directly from the events of Red Seas Under Red Skies. Locke and Jean are on the run, attempting to avoid the fallout from their last scheme that went slightly awry. Becoming powerbrokers in the political arena seems a sensible idea, at least at first. The arrival of an old friend however adds an unexpected wrinkle to their latest "fool proof" plot.
The second narrative strand goes back in time and follows the teenage Gentleman Bastards as they take to the stage. Their ever-enigmatic mentor, Father Chains, demands they leave Camorr for the summer and assist an old acquaintance with his troupe of slightly deranged actors.
For a while now Mr. Lynch has lead us a delightfully merry dance. The character of Sabetha Belacoros has been mentioned in passing multiple times, but has never really been fully explored. Sabetha has been the lingering shadow that has hung over Locke's past. She's the one that got away, as it were. Finally meeting her has been a long time coming, and her introduction is handled wonderfully.
I've been trying to think of the best way to adequately describe the connection that exists between Sabetha and Locke. The closest thing I can equate it to is the relationship that Sherlock Holmes has with Irene Adler. The verbal sparring, where they continually try to outdo one another is a joy. Locke has more than met his match and I reckon, much as he would try and deny it, in his heart he knows it. To use a more modern analogy, if I was to try and describe what was going on with them both on Facebook, the status of their relationship would be "it's complicated". Their interactions fill in many of those lovely little deliberate blanks that appear in previous novels. Knowing Sabetha helps the reader to better understand both Locke and also Jean.
There have also been fleeting glimpses of the Bondsmagi in the past but their murky motives have never really been revealed. In this book we finally get to learn some of the inner workings of this most secret society. Turns out that magical practitioners are a tricky bunch, who'd a thunk it?, and the Gentleman Bastards feature heavily in their plans. Poor old Locke and Jean, they can't catch a break.
It appears that those carrot-dangling days of teasing us aren't over quite yet. It's true that some of secrets we've longed to discover finally see something close to daylight, sort of but there are still many more mysteries that are not yet resolved. Locke's mysterious origins and his ultimate fate are danced around but it appears that Lynch ain't done messing with our heads.
In The Republic of Thieves, it feels like Locke, Jean and company have finally come of age. We get to see them as awkward teens and then as the more confident adult versions of themselves. Lynch's writing excels when it comes to character evolution. It's so fluid and natural you're never going to question it.
I'll happily come clean and admit overt fanboyishness when it comes to this particular series. I've been waiting for this novel and now that it's here it doesn't disappoint. The Gentlemen Bastards have finally returned and I couldn't be happier.
I'll finish with a personal plea if I may - Mr. Lynch, ignore any of the haters out there. Like most readers, I'm a patient soul. You take as long as you need for your next book. All us true fans will be here waiting, because we know it's gonna be worth it.
on 9 June 2014
In the third outing for Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen the bondsmages finally catch up with them, but not in a way Locke was expecting. Instead of instant death he finds that the immediate problem he was left with at the end of the second Gentlemen Bastards book is solved by none other than the mother of his old enemy The Falconer.
Much against their will, Locke and Jean are hired to fix an election in Karthain to the benefit of one faction of bondsmages. There are rules. They have funds, which they must spend or lose, and they are to stop at outright murder. All other dirty tricks are allowed.
There is a problem, however. There always is when Locke's around. The opposing faction has hired Sabetha, Locke's lost love, previously mentioned, but never met. Sabetha, like Locke and Jean, was brought up as a Gentleman Bastard by Father Chains. She has all of Locke and Jean's skills and a streak of utter ruthlessness. What's more she's not tongue tied and helpless in Locke's presence as he is in hers.
It's an interesting situation. While Sabetha gets the jump on them, initially, Locke is vividly reminded of their shared past and so we get two stories: the election and the rekindling of Locke and Sabetha's relationship, and the story of their childhood and the first flowering of shared passion.
And who wins the election in the end? You'll have to read the book to find out, but suffice it to say there's bound to be another book – which is good news.
on 23 April 2014
Third in the series, the long anticipated return of Jean Tannen and Locke Lamora.
Following directly on from the last book, Locke is poisoned and near death. Salvation comes from a strange source the BondsMagi - with which the pair have a grievance. The sum of the matter is that the Bonds magi sponsor competition in the form of rigging the election in their home city as a means of airing their own internal struggles.
In typical mage fashion the pairs competition is one of their own close friends - Sabetha - Lockes long lost eternal love.
The story progresses in typical flashback sequence - with the past focussing back to all their time together as wayword schemeing teens.
To be honest, the entire story seemed lacking some crucial element. The narrative in the past seemed rather flat until close to the end and the main storyline seemed mostly a facade for the final (no spoilers ) reveal of a secret form Lockes past.
The entirely of the book serving as a scheme to reveal lockes past should have been a massive buildup and then - Bang - big reveal. IMHO there wasnt enough going on to completley suck you in to the main storyline - so the reveal was telegraphed and not at all unexpected by the end.
Still a good book - but not quite the masterpiece i was expecting - definitely a little flat compared to either of the previous two installements.
However the secret out I expect the next book to be a complete zinger.
on 9 March 2014
The Republic of Thieves is the long awaited third book in Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastards series, and it’s something of a return to familiar territory after Red Seas Under Red Skies. For the obvious part we're back on dry land, but there’s also the return of the Sanza twins, Calo and Galdo, as the book is split between the present day follow on from Locke and Jean’s pirate adventures and the early days of the group’s history.
Republic is definitely an enjoyable read, just as as the previous two instalments were. Thinking about it, there’s not so much of a plot here, but then these stories have often worked more for the plotting than for the plot itself. Both the storylines have their little capers but lack the big heist that was such a prominent part of the previous two books, especially The Lies of Locke Lamora. It almost felt a bit like a filler in some ways, ticking off certain necessities before we move on to The Thorn of Emberlain – see what happens after Locke’s poisoning, check! Get to know Sabetha and of the shared history there, check! Drop a twist in the tail to give something to think about going forwards, check!
Without going into any detail, and of course avoiding spoilers, I'd personally have preferred this particular twist to have been left out. It seemed to come out of nowhere, not only in terms of being a twist, as they by definition tend to jump out at you, but also in terms of what we already know about this world and our characters. Obviously we're yet to see where future instalments will take us, but I can't help but feel I’d prefer this twist to have been avoided.
As for the story itself, as previously mentioned it seemed to lack to big heist and the necessary build up to this. There were lots of little capers, but it almost seemed like child’s play compared to what we've seen before, and there was certainly nothing so jaw-droppingly magnificent as some of the plotting from Lies that made it so special for me. In the present day story, most of the fun was relegated to prank territory and the big deal clincher at the end of the it all was a bit of a damp squib really. Rather than going out with a bang, it was more with a whimper.
The other side of The Republic of Thieves also seemed lacking in the big stakes. There were a couple of little exercises here and one or two small plans there, but again nothing that really said to me “this is a Locke Lamora adventure”. For me there was rather a bit too much “play” and not enough “play time” as the Gentlemen Bastards spent a large portion of the time rehearsing for a stage performance, several scenes of which were detailed in the book.
I regularly found that the flashback scenes in particular were a little long, meaning when the narrative returned to the present day I was a little lost trying to remember where we'd left off. This may have been exaggerated a bit by the inclusion of those big sections of the play previously mentioned, as I tend to find those types of exchange a bit dull overall, but then there would occasionally be the same problem going the other way as well. As we also have the Interludes that Lynch seems a fan of, the book itself almost seems more like a play than a novel at times, especially when coupled with the content of the flashback chapters in this volume.
In general, the characters still make the book for me, even if I would like to see more of the clever high jinks I opened the book expecting. For me, that’s what makes Locke Lamora really stand out, so it would be a shame if moving on with the continuation of the series Lynch lets the story get in the way of this. There’s room for both story and capers in the Gentlemen Bastards series, but enjoyable as it was, The Republic of Thieves just didn't have enough of either one.
Locke Lamora is sick -- he's been given a deadly poison that is slowly tearing him apart from the inside.
And the quest for an elusive cure is what kicks off "The Republic of Thieves," the third novel about the master thief Locke Lamora and his buddy Jean. Scott Lynch's latest is a solid, twisting piece of work in a grittily realistic fantasy world which still has fascinating magic and a dryly witty approach to reality -- as well as two likable yet grumpy anti-heroes.
Jean is desperately searching for a cure to the poison that is slowly killing Locke. But after he irritates the local mob by kidnapping a doctor, they find themselves at the mercy of a Bondsmagi named Patience, who offers to cure Locke... in exchange for a service. What service? She wants them to meddle in the election of the Konseil (Council) of Karthain, which mages can't influence.
Locke wants to turn it down, but Jean guilts him into accepting the offer. But while Patience and her compatriots are able to heal Locke of the poison, he and Jean are now in a massive political mess -- not just between voting blocs or parties, but between devious mages who are conspiring against each other. The most deadly of all: Patience's own cruel, vengeful son, Falconer.
There are also flashbacks to Locke's early life with Father Chains, when he became fascinated by a girl named Sabetha. And in unfortunately, in the present she also happens to be the exemplar of the other side's mages -- meaning she and Locke are against each other.
It took a long time -- five years, actually -- for Scott Lynch to churn out the third Gentlemen Bastards book, and in some ways it's worth the wait. However, it's not quite as "fun" as the previous two books -- the tone is more serious and intense, and it weaves in an awkward first-love story from Locke's youth that stretches into the present day.
However, it's still a fun read. While the opening is a bit slow (especially with the long flashbacks to Locke's childhood), the plot is complicated and full of some genuinely surprising twists. Jean and Locke can only really trust each other, because everybody else might suddenly stab them in the back. And yet, it never becomes oppressive -- there's a sense of fun ingrained in his world.
And Lynch's writing is casual and clever (" ... obstinate, uh, something ... something ... biting and witty and thoroughly convincing!"), and he peppers it with profanity that makes it sound earthy and real, not Ye Olde Fantasye. His dialogue sounds like actual people speaking to each other, even when something dramatic happens. But he can whip up beautiful prose as well that gives a sense of magic to his gritty, cutthroat world (the Lake of Jewels' "specks of cold ruby fire and soft diamond white, like submerged stars, far out of human reach").
It also sees some of Locke and Jean's history catching up with them. Lynch really shows the depth of their friendship as Jean literally will do anything to save his friend, and in turn we see some of the turmoil that Locke is living with. And of course, they have to grapple with the aftereffects of their past clashes with the Falconer.
"The Republic of Thieves" is a solid -- if slightly too serious -- third novel in the Gentlemen Bastards series, and it leaves the door wide, wide open for the eventual fourth book.
on 27 January 2014
Republic of Thieves is the long-awaited third volume of Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard series. It has been years in the making because of the author’s personal problems, but it is very welcome now that it is here.
Republic begins with a prologue that puts the story in context by detailing Locke Lamora’s first encounter with the love of his life, Sabetha. It then jumps forward in time to a point shortly after the end of Red Seas Under Red Skies: Locke is dying of an illness concocted by a group of Bondsmagi he has antagonized. This gives another faction of Bondsmagi the opportunity to make him an offer he can’t refuse: his life as part payment for rigging an election.
The bulk of the story is essentially an account of Locke and Jean’s efforts to rig the election. However, Sabetha has been recruited by another faction to rig the election in their favour, so it becomes a tale of the difficult relationship between Locke and Sabetha interspersed with flashbacks to their time with the Gentleman Bastards.
In the end, Locke’s faction win the election, the Bondsmagi apparently vanish, and Locke and Sabetha learn something unpalatable about his background. In the wake of that revelation, Sabetha leaves. Locke and Jean are left penniless but alive.
Lynch has created a set of strong, likeable central characters. Locke and Jean are already familiar from the earlier novels, but this story develops their characters further. Locke is more vulnerable here than in earlier novels, and we are given fresh insights into Jean as he is forced to become Locke’s protector. And, of course, we are at last introduced to Sabetha who has been well foreshadowed in previous novels by Locke’s brooding over her absence. In the course of the story, we gradually discover that the hints in the earlier novels have more to do with Locke’s idealized vision of her than the reality.
The tone of Republic is reminiscent of the amorality of the recent grim dark tendency in fantasy. But this is leavened by touches of humour, thoroughly enjoyable prose, and Locke’s sense of fairness.
An election campaign is not the most obvious setting for an action-packed novel, but Lynch marries the (dodgy) politics and the action very successfully. As a result, the pacing of the novel is every bit as good as its predecessors making it very hard to put down.
Republic is the third volume of a projected series of seven, but there is no sign of the loss of direction that so often plagues mid-series books. Lynch has deftly avoided this by shifting the emphasis to Locke’s relationship with Sabetha. And he has dropped some tantalizing hints about what may be yet to come with the (not entirely convincing) escape of the Falconer – Locke’s enemy from the first volume – and the suggestion that there is something out there that the Bondsmagi are afraid of.
In summary, this was by far the best fantasy novel I read in 2013. Like its predecessors, it is essential reading for anyone who enjoys fantasy literature.
I would suggest reading the first The Lies of Locke Lamora and the second Red Seas Under Red Skies (GOLLANCZ S.F.)in this series to fully comprehend and enjoy the story.
In this book the focus is on the very dysfunctional relationship between Locke and Sabetha. At this point Locke is starting to look like a doe eyed puppy following her around in hopes of being patted on the head. I mean come on man, you're Locke the Rogue beholden to no person with the exception of the members of the Gentleman B. Show us some spiffing strong traits instead of being the prime example of a doormat. Of course all of this makes Sabetha just plain unlikeable as a character. I don't mind her having a male prance around her just because she commands it. What I do mind is the fact she changes her mind about Locke at the mere wink of an eyelid and mention of some nefarious comment he might have made.
Far too complicated a girl for someone who has been a thief, comrade and co-conspirator to Locke & Friends for nearly her whole life. That fluffy aspect of her personality just does not gel well with the strong bravado we have come to love about her.
Time for Locke to get a new love interest methinks Mr Lynch. That might just shake Sabetha out of her self inflicted anti-Locke stance.
Although this is a calmer read than the fast-paced intricately woven plots Lynch usually creates it certainly has its moments. I enjoyed the ironic play on political campaigns in a sense that the pranks in this scenario are like the false representations and bad press in our own society during an election. The point being that it doesn't matter which party has the best policies for the people, but rather who is the best at making the other party look bad.
One of the most revealing characters was Patience. She plays Locke like a fiddle and steers all the events, all whilst holding secrets about all the players and planning the most nefarious of deeds.
Lynch sure does know how to tell a tale.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley.