The Republic of Thieves is the third book in Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastard series. I’m glad to be able to say that it does indeed feel like a Gentlemen Bastard book, despite the long wait for it. Unfortunately, because it’s also the third of seven books, it’s hard for me to assess fully; even though the individual episode this book is concerned with is wrapped up, some major things are set up in this book that won’t shake out for a while, it seems.
This suffers from being a middle book in another way: it has to live with the prior decision to keep Sabetha off-screen until now. Since she is the woman who Locke has never gotten over, the anticipation of her arrival was moderately high. But because she was absent in the prior flashback portions, it’s hard to fit her into Locke and Jean’s past; and because a lot of her and Locke’s conflict then and now is about Locke not understanding her, it’s pretty hard work getting a full picture of her character when most of their interactions are from his point of view.
I enjoyed the shenanigans of the main plot just fine (influencing an election), though at one point the characters were forced to be very stupid in order to keep the plot moving, which is always regrettable. But I’m very dubious about the major elements this book introduces to resolve another day; they could be fine, or they could be stunningly awful, and my guess is that we may have to wait a long time to find out which (in terms of number of books, not years). That’s not the kind of narrative suspense that I personally favor, probably because I’m getting older and more cynical.