Scott Lynch’s Red Seas Under Red Skies ended on a heck of cliffhanger.
After years of anticipation and speculation, Lynch returns to the universe of his Gentlemen Bastards with the long-awaited third installment, The Republic of Thieves.
Wait it worth the wait?
Lynch spends the first third of the novel writing Locke and Jean out of the corner he left them in at the end of the last novel. For those of you who may not recall, Locke was poisoned by a slow acting poison. And choices he made at the end of Red Seas Under Red Skies denied him the antidote. Now as Locke is dying in an inn of a room, Jean is desperately working to find someone who can cure him.
After exhausting all their possibilities and burning more than their usual share of bridges, Jean and Locke are approached by the Bondsmage. In return for curing Locke, the two must work to influence the Magi elections. Locke and Jean agree, but only after he’s cured do they find out that they’ll be going up against an old friend, Sabetha.
If you’re a fan of the series, you probably know that Sabetha is that one women in Locke’s life and has been the subject of hints in the first two novels. The good news is that Sabetha enters stage left and takes over the last two thirds of the novel. Lynch details the reunion of the trio as well as flashbacks to Locke and Sabetha’s growing up and romance.
Fans are likely to eat this up with a spoon. (I know I did). After two books of build-up, the story of Locke and Sabetha is about as close to perfect as it could be.
The one drawback to the novel is that the flashbacks to the our heros and the scheme Chains comes up with to send them out as a traveling drama group wears a bit thin as the novel progresses. This may have less to do with this plotline and more to do with the compelling plotlines taking place in the present and some of the cliffhangers Lynch puts at the end of each chapter.
The Republic of Thieves proves to be worth the wait. And hopefully this time, Lynch won’t make us wait as long for the next installment in his fantasy series.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received an ARC of this novel from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review.