Monday, October 21, 2013

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

 I have been eagerly awaiting the latest installment from Lynch in his Gentlemen Bastards series for quite some time and, all things considered, it was worth the wait - not that I'm encouraging him to take as long to write the next book. Lynch splits the tale of Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen into a continuation of what's happening after their ill-fated adventure in Red Seas Under Blue Skies, the upshot of which is that Locke is fatally poisoned and dying slowly, despite the best efforts of every alchemist and physicker that Jean can beg, hire, or threaten, and snippets from his first meetings with Sabetha and their training together with the rest of the Blind Priest's "children".

In the middle of the flashbacks narrative, Lynch has managed to create a significant portion of a tragic Shakespearian play called The Republic of Thieves, which the five original Gentlemen Bastards are hired to perform, in order to help out an old friend of their thiefmaster, a director of such things.

Locke reluctantly finds a cure for his malady when one of the Bondsmagi (the mother of the one they tangled with in The Lies of Locke Lamora, whom they left mute and crippled) offers to magically remove the poison, in return for their service in influencing the election of a city council in Karthain, where the magi dwell. They are forbidden by their code from using magic to influence the outcome, and every four years each faction hires consultants to run their campaign. The kicker, for Locke and Jean, is that the other faction is being guided by Locke's old lover, Sabetha.

Romantic entanglements aside, the tangled web of dirty tricks that Locke and Jean conspire to play are well matched by Sabetha's street fighting. Too much fun!

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