Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

The blurb:
With what should have been the greatest heist of their career gone spectacularly sour, Locke and his trusted partner, Jean, have barely escaped with their lives. Or at least Jean has. But Locke is slowly succumbing to a deadly poison that no alchemist or physiker can cure. Yet just as the end is near, a mysterious Bondsmage offers Locke an opportunity that will either save him or finish him off once and for all.
Magi political elections are imminent, and the factions are in need of a pawn. If Locke agrees to play the role, sorcery will be used to purge the venom from his body—though the process will be so excruciating he may well wish for death. Locke is opposed, but two factors cause his will to crumble: Jean’s imploring—and the Bondsmage’s mention of a woman from Locke’s past: Sabetha. She is the love of his life, his equal in skill and wit, and now, his greatest rival.
Locke was smitten with Sabetha from his first glimpse of her as a young fellow orphan and thief-in-training. But after a tumultuous courtship, Sabetha broke away. Now they will reunite in yet another clash of wills. For faced with his one and only match in both love and trickery, Locke must choose whether to fight Sabetha—or to woo her. It is a decision on which both their lives may depend.

I came to this series recently and haven't read the first two books. Nonetheless, I found The Republic of Thieves to be an engrossing read and wonderful escape. The main characters are sympathetic and complex. The narrator in particular has a compelling story - orphan, surviving on the dangerous city streets with a group of thieves and he meets and falls in love with a slightly older and more accomplished child. He's smart, precocious and attempts all sorts of feats of daring to prove himself, get her attention, and rise through the ranks. He rises quickly and they develop a rivalry between them - as well as a complicated love affair.

Years later, after having lost his fortune and barely escaped with his life, he comes across her again and is pitted against her in a high stakes competition. She still has her hold on him and it makes things complicated, fascinating, and an even better read.

The Republic of Thieves is wonderfully long, complicated, and satisfying.
  • ISBN-10: 0553804693 - Hardcover $17.91
  • Publisher: Del Rey (October 8, 2013), 672 pages. 
  • Review copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine Reviewers Program and the publisher.

About the Author:
Scott Lynch was born in 1978 in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he still lives now. In addition to being a freelance writer for various role playing game companies he has done all the usual jobs writers put in their bios: dishwasher, waiter, web designer, marketing writer, office manager and short-order cook.

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