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Review and Giveaway: The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

By / October 8, 2013 / no comments

The bastards are back. And they’re pissed off. Pissed off with being used, manipulated, poisoned, lied to and beaten to within an inch of their lives. So this time they’re looking to play on their terms and planning on winning on the greatest stage of all – the political arena of Karthain.

After a well-publicised absence of over six years, the first question to be asked is does Scott Lynch still have it? The Republic of Thieves answers with a no holds barred resounding yes and reaffirms Lynch’s position as the King of contemporary sword and sorcery. The pacing remains exquisite, his prose is at its colourful best and the characterisation of both old favourites and new players is both believable and engaging. Scott continues to expand his intriguing world by introducing a further two fascinating cities incorporating the strangeness associated with the Elderens, in a seamless fashion without detracting from what once again is the overarching strengths of the book, its storytelling.

Staying completely free of spoilers is extremely difficult for this review, given the nature of the ending of Red Seas Under Red Skies, from which The Republic of Thieves follows directly on from.

** SPOILERS from the first two books ** ** If you don’t want to read the rest, Antoxx gives this book 4 out of 5 , scroll to the bottom to find information to the giveaway**

The Republic of Thieves consists of two main story lines, one set in the present day, the other in the past and each consisting of its own set of circumstances that Locke and his accomplices are forced to connive, swindle and cheat their way out of under extreme duress.

The first takes us back in time to Camorr where Locke finds himself the natural leader of the Bastards under the expert tutelage of Chains. This provides the backdrop for the introduction of Sabetha, sister bastard to Locke, Jean and the Sanza twins. You could actually argue that The Republic of Thieves is really a story about Sabetha as she takes centre stage on both story arcs and it was good to finally have Sabetha brought to the fore. Lynch’s characterisation of Sabetha as being Locke’s equal in all facets and his seeming bewitchment with her is handled smoothly as this is no simple objectification on Locke’s behalf. And while she isn’t as likeable as most of the main characters, she does grow on you and is a strongly portrayed character.

Having finally been introduced to Sabetha, it becomes apparent that Chains has come to the end of his tether with his brooding juvenile charges. He therefore sends the gang off to Espara to be immersed in a troupe of actors so as best to learn the time honoured trade of acting, which he deems as essential to their professional thieving careers in addition to them lending a hand to an old friend from Chains’ past. At times this arc did feel a tad drawn out, most especially with respect Locke’s romancing of Sabetha, but being able to spend time with the Sanza’s again and the overriding plot line more than made up for it.

The second storyline is set in the present and here Lynch dials up the magic, philosophy and politics whilst still clinging to the bedrock of incredulous hilarity that made the first two books so wildly successful. In doing so, Lynch also provides further historical context to the Elderan and the Bondsmagi which serves to widen the focus of the series. The reader should also be prepared for some major unforseen twists that will certainly challenge what you thought the Gentleman Bastards Sequence was all about. And don’t be too surprised if you have a headache from trying to remember all the different pseudonyms of the underlying characters – I certainly did!

In the same fashion that The Lies of Locke Lamora was described as being one part Robin Hood, one part Ocean’s Eleven and entirely enthralling, I’d characterise The Republic of Thieves as being one part Moulin Rouge, one part Weekend at Bernie’s and completely compelling.

In my opinion, The Republic of Thieves doesn’t quite consistently attain the heights of the previous two offerings in the Gentleman Bastards Sequence stories, but let’s be honest, those are some pretty lofty heights to achieve. What The Republic of Thieves does do, however, is provide a shape for what is to come and that is something I’m very much looking forward to. My only hope is that Scott is capable of following on from what The Republic of Thieves promises to deliver and that The Gentleman Bastards Sequence remains sufficiently focused to continue to justify its ranking in the top echelon of fantasy series.

4 delightful swords out of 5 from me.


Also to celebrate the end of a 6 year drought from Scott Lynch, Bestfantasybooks.com are giving away two copies of The Republic of Thieves !!!  One copy is for NZ Residents only and the other is for…wait for….wait for it…..INTERNATIONALS!

All you need to do is either:

1) Go to facebook.com/bestfantasybooks and SHARE our post about this review


2) RT our tweet about this review!

Entries close: Friday October 18th 11:59pm (PST)

Thanks to Hachette NZ for providing an ARC version for Antoxx to review and for providing this fantastic giveaway. 

About the author


Blog editor, admin and founder of BestFantasyBooks.comYou'll find me on the BestFantasyBook forums and spending my spare time reading fantasy books and writing lists for this site. In fact, I have no spare time -- running this site IS my spare time!


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