The Republic of Thieves
by Scott Lynch
Cover Artist: Benjamin Carré / Bragelonne
Review by Jon Guenther
Del Rey Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780553804690
Date: 08 October 2013 List Price $28.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Most fans of Scott Lynch have been waiting a long time (five years) for The Republic of Thieves, the third book in the fantasy series by Scott Lynch. I'm happy to report that Mr. Lynch did not disappoint!
This story, like the two previous books, takes place in a fantasy world unique among its peers. It's hard to put my finger on exactly why this series is so attractive, but I think a large part of it is the crafty and polished storytelling of the author. It's almost as if reading about a setting similar to that of classics like The Three Musketeers, and yet there are so many unique and rich additions painted on this rich tapestry there's no way to do it justice in a mere five hundred words.
In this adventure, Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen are recruited by Bondsmage Patience to rig an election. Mr. Lynch splits the story line into two parts: the present time-line (which picks up where we left our heroes in the last book, Red Seas Under Red Skies) and Locke and Jean's past life as they grow up under the tutelage of Father Chains to learn their trade as thieves. Additionally, Mr. Lynch finally gives us a sweeping and deeper view of the relationship between Locke and his raison d'être, the lovely and highly skilled thief, Sabetha.
Bewitched by his long-standing love for the young girl with whom he grew up and was like a sister to him, Sabetha is now a young and beautiful woman of equal cunning and skill to Locke. Also, and just to make things more tense, there is a constant fencing--an emotional and wits sort of thrust and riposte--that occurs between them. The suspense through the story is maintained due in large part to these elements, since they are direct competitors in the heist to see that their respective political sides emerge from the election victorious.
Jean Tannen is his usual temperamental self and we get a deeper look into his psyche than previous books. Jean has suffered his own losses, including the death of his beloved (again, read Red Seas Under Red Skies), and we find out just how close he and Locke really are in this book.
Mr. Lynch held nothing back with The Republic of Thieves. As with the two previous books, I eagerly devoured every word and was left satisfied and wanting more. I hope it doesn't take as long for his next work. The book is well paced, well written and will surely satisfy any fans of the series. It may also well earn the author a larger following.
I do recommend not starting with this book if you're coming into it fresh. Read the first two books, beginning with The Lies of Locke Lamora, before attempting this one since the series has a very linear context and you'll be lost otherwise on the many more subtle parts of the story. That said, if you're looking for great new fantasy series this is one you won't want to miss. And if you're already a fan of it then "for Perelandro's sake" make sure you grab the The Republic of Thieves as soon as it's available.