Monday, November 25, 2013

Read-Along: Scott Lynch's Republic of Thieves, Part 5

It's time for the final read-along post for Scott Lynch's Republic of Thieves!  I provided the questions this week, and I'll be adding links at the end of this post to everyone's answers.  I'm sad to see this come to an end, but at least there are more books to come in this series!

Beware spoilers through the end of Republic of Thieves in this post!

In Espara…

1. The Republic of Thieves:  It’s the first and final performance!  What did you think of the play?  Were you entertained, or eager to get on with the rest of the story?  Also, how do you feel about how the play fits in the novel, in terms of the story and the characters who play the parts?

I enjoyed the play.  It was fun to see how Calo and Galdo played off of one another, as well as Locke and Sabetha.  I was a little eager to find out how they would get out of their mess with Boulidazi, but I still enjoyed it.  In terms of our novel charaacters, I noticed that Locke was once again put in a fictional position of being expected to kill Sabetha.  I’m starting to wonder if this is foreshadowing for the next book.

2. The Other Performance:  Of course, the GB and company had another important performance to get through—the one that ensures none of them end up hanged!  What was your favorite part of this scheme?  Do you agree with their plan for dealing with Moncraine’s treachery?

The bathhouse bit was very undignified, but went surprisingly well.  I think I especially liked their way of getting through the performance, having Donker play Boulidazi on stage.  He wanted to die onstage, but at least he got to play a dead man?  I think they did the only thing they could about Moncraine, but I wonder if Chains will be angry.  Wasn’t Moncraine his old friend?

I also thought their lecture from Ezrintaim was pretty hilarious. She was so stern about pointing out Sabetha’s responsibility to a family that didn’t exist, and making sure she didn’t get pregnant by her fake, dead lover.  It was certainly a strange lecture.  

In Karthain…

3. The Election:  It seems Lovaris was indeed the final trick, and the election is over.  Are you satisfied with how things turned out? Do you wish that the election had focused more on the political problems of Karthain, or are you satisfied with the mudslinging and pranks that went on between Locke and Sabetha?

I somehow expected something more to happen before the end.  It’s not especially clear to me how they ended up nearly tied, given how far ahead Sabetha seemed most of the time (I guess that was an illusion).  Neither Locke nor Sabetha seemed overly concerned with the turnout of the election, so Lovaris’ defection didn’t seem to matter too terribly much to our principal characters.  Also, while the pranks were a lot of fun, it could have been nice to get more of a sense of the meaning of the election to the ungifted Karthani.  Is it just a game to them, too, or do they expect their concerns to be addressed by their government? 

4. The War: Do you have any speculation on what specific issues might have escalated the two Bondsmagi factions rivalry into this kind of violence?  What do you think the surviving Bondsmagi will do next, with all their gathered money and knowledge?

We know that there’s the split between the more conservative and the more aggressive Bondsmagi factions, but it seems to me that there must be something serious to prompt them to slaughter an entire faction.  Maybe the Falconer’s friends wanted to torch Camorr, like Therim Pel, after what happened to him there?  As for what’s next, it seemed to me from Patience’s words that this was all part of a long-term plan.  Maybe they’re trying to learn about what killed the Eldren, in order to eventually defeat it?  If so, then perhaps they need to not be such an obvious target during the time when they challenge this power.   

5. Patience: Given the final revelation that Patience does hate Locke for what he did to the Falconer, what do you make of her behavior towards Locke throughout the book?  Do you think her plan of vengeance is well suited to Locke?  What do you make of the Black Amaranth story now, as well as the prophecy she threw on top?

Given all this new information, I'm no longer convinced by the story of Lamor Acanthus.  Since she is a demonstrated liar, I don't think Locke should trust in anything she says.  She was adamant that she would never use the Falconer's true name against him, when she had already used it to cripple his mind.  Also, she's been lying about her feelings towards Locke throughout the entire election. I think that there may be a connection between Locke and Lamor Acanthus, but it is not necessarily anything like Patience is claiming. 

Concerning her vengeance, I'm having a hard time accepting that living in uncertainty is a worse punishment for Locke than slowly bleeding to death from that awful poison.  Patience's vengeance seems to be surprisingly petty: telling him potentially fake stories about his past life, meddling in his love affairs, and cheating him of money. 

However, I think the prophecy might be true.  It’s obscure enough that Patience might see no reason to lie about.  And then that makes me wonder what it means—will Locke and Sabetha take a throne together in the Marrows, have a child, and lose both?  I can’t come up with any theories on the key.  As for the silver rain, that makes me think a bit of dreamsteel.  Is she prophesying that the Falconer will eventually kill Locke?

6. The Epilogue: Speaking of vengeance, do you think the Falconer’s vengeance against his mother was merited or excessively cruel, given the circumstances?  On that note, how do you feel about the Falconer’s transformation and possible status as a continuing villain?

After learning what his mother had done to him, some kind of vengeance seems merited.  I think his particular method of vengeance, though, was too cruel. I’m not sure what to think about the Falconer yet.  Having an evil, maimed, vengeance-obsessed villain seems like kind of a cliché, but he may have a lot of interesting story ahead of him.

7. Wrapping up:  Thus ends the third book in the Gentleman Bastard sequence.  How do you think it compares with the first two?  In the end, do you prefer the Espara storyline or the Karthain storyline, or did you like them both equally?

I enjoyed The Republic of Thieves, but I think that The Lies of Locke Lamora might still be my favorite, with Red Seas Under Red Skies as a close second. The Republic of Thieves seems to be gearing up for some very dramatic storytelling in the next few novels, but that also means that some large parts of the story are not really resolved. Within this novel, my favorite bit was the Esparan storyline.  I loved seeing the Gentleman Bastards team in action!  Locke and Sabetha worked so well together, I wish they could stick together in the present day.

Speaking of Locke and Sabetha, this brings me to something else I wanted to bring up.  What caused Sabetha to leave in the end?  I’m betting that Patience either spun her some offensive lies or used her true name to compel her.  Yes, I know Patience says she didn’t use Sabetha’s true name, but she is also a known liar.  Making Locke believe Sabetha chose to leave him would maximize his pain in an extremely spiteful way, which sounds exactly like Patience. 

I can’t imagine Sabetha just running off because a Bondsmage showed her a picture of a redheaded woman, claiming without any particular evidence that it features Locke and his wife in a past life. Even if Sabetha believed her, I thought Locke and Sabetha had already gotten past this issue.  While Locke does have a thing for red hair, I thought they both accepted that he is truly in love with Sabetha herself.  Surely Sabetha doesn’t think that for someone to love you, they must not be physically attracted to anything about you in particular. I don’t see how Lamor Acanthus sharing Locke’s fondness for a certain hair color should affect anything between them at all.


  1. 3. The Election bothers me as well. We really have no idea how Sabetha and the Bastards influenced any of it, except with the Lovaris trick.

    5. Patience's revenge does seem very weak. Locke was dying horribly, and now he's just unsure about whether she lied to him or not. I can imagine him shrugging of the whole Lamor thing because he knows he's Locke and not someone else. I think the worst thing is that he's lost Sabetha again, but he wouldn't have seen her at all if it wasn't for Patience. Maybe she didn't want him to die without having some kind of negative impact on his life?

    Sabetha leaving: throughout the book she goes on about how she wants love to be a choice. On the roof at the inn she says she doesn't want to be with Locke just because it's inevitable, given how small their world is. In Karthain, Locke tries to assure her that he has chosen to love her, but I think the painting proves to Sabetha that Locke's love isn't a choice, it's a leftover of the love he felt for his previous wife. This could be complete bollocks, but I understand why something like that would make Sabetha leave. And of course Patience could have worked some magic there, but I guess we won't know for a while.

    Here are my answers:

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who found Patience's vengeance weak! Maybe it is just a case of her wanting to hurt him personally before he dies.

      On Sabetha, good point about her disliking the idea that Locke's love is inevitable. I neglected that conversation when considering the scene. At the same time, though, it seems to me like her leaving is just letting Patience dictate her relationship, which is not really free choice, either. They have no evidence about any of the Lamor Acanthus story, including his wife's hair color, other than Patience's word (the painting could easily have been fake). Sabetha is a con artist herself, so it seems like she would have a little more skepticism when someone spins her such a wild tale. I suppose she could have been a little prepped to accept it by her observation about the two sides of Locke's personality? I really hope we hear more from Sabetha in the next book on this subject!

    2. I was thinking a similar thing, about Sabetha wanting the freedom to choose who she loves, and not being pushed into a relationship because it's convenient, or even worse, pre-ordained! and Locke's obsessed with red haired women, does he like Sabetha because he likes her? Or does he like because he's looking for the doppleganger of the woman he once lost? I can see how that would freak her out. and who knows, maybe she did tell Patience "that's bullshit and you know it" before storming off.

    3. You've really made me reconsider Sabetha's decision here. She's known Locke for about twenty years. Patience is a lying bitch who made them all her pawns. So why is Sabetha so quick to believe Patience and abandon Locke? Even if Locke was initially obsessed with her red hair, she should know he loves her for more than that, and that's he's his own person. Her ethics about love are looking more like a personal hang-up: she's so afraid of the possibility that Locke couldn't choose to love her, that the first hint of it sends her running away.

    4. It seems that Sabetha's default reaction to problems with Locke is to run away from him to think. We see her do this again and again, so this is probably no different and she will reappear having thought it all out and resolved to ignore the daft old Bondsmage.

    5. Maybe it was more a case of Sabetha not wanting to deal with it in front of Patience, so Locke will get to see her again soon. Or even if she just wanted to think it through alone, she'll probably show up again soon. Also, if it is a personal hang-up, then maybe a little space will help her see that trusting Patience over Locke is ridiculous. So... I hope we see her early in Book 4!

    6. I'm thinking that Sabetha might need some time to think it over, or perhaps she might even go and do some investigating (not sure how) she knows that Locke has grown as a person.


    7. Someone on reddit had an interesting idea:

      Basically: Sabetha mentioned she was "protected" before she was picked up by the Thiefmaker. Lamor Acanthus resurrected his wife in her, and was her protector. Sabetha realises this after she sees the painting: It depicts her protector, which makes any sort of forgery impossible.

      My own conjecture: After a while Acanthus realised that his creation(Sabetha) could not grow to love him as he currently was, partly because of the age gap. So he transfered his own soul into the body of a young boy, and made sure that whatever happened his new self would love his wife's reincarnation. He might even have planned meeting her at Shade's Hill by making somehow sure Sabetha would end up there(maybe leting her receive a thief's education) and effecting that the same would be true for himself:

      We learn in the first book that at the beginning Locke knows how to steal, but doesn't know of the secret peace. Locke claims to have taught himself pickpocketing and the like.
      Either this knowledge was instilled in him by Acanthus, OR was already there before the soul transfer, which purged the knowledge of any prior life(including the secret peace), but left skills(language, picking purses, ...) intact.
      Or he *really* did teach it to himself, but as (the Thiefmaker, I think) someone in the book says: It's unlikely. You're bound to make beginner's mistakes, and how fast can a 5/6 year old run from *anyone* who carries a purse he just got caught trying to pick?

    8. Nethermore, thanks for commenting. That is an amazing theory! It resolves pretty much everything that I felt didn't quite add up in the ending of RoT. I hadn't thought of Sabetha's past being connected to the Lamor Acanthus history. Also, I assumed Locke's skill was just natural talent, but it would make sense that his former self would make sure he has the tools to survive.

      If this is true, I would add that I think Patience didn't know. She learned that Lamor Acanthus was alive only after hearing Locke's 'true name', so it seems reasonable to assume she doesn't know exactly what happened over in Camorr. That would also give a good reason for Sabetha not to leave Locke a note. She wanted to, but she couldn't think of what to say that would not give her identity away to the Bondsmagi, making her just as much a target of interest as Locke.

  2. I will have to go around the various posts tonight when I have time to sit down and properly comment, but here's my link:

  3. Hey, sorry I'm late - 'me, late? with my reputation??' Tee hee.
    My link:

  4. 1. - well done with spotting that link about Locke having to 'kill off' Sabetha again. I never picked up that parallel.
    2. Undignified but effective - unsurprisingly I suppose as everybody was trying to avert their eyes! I think Chains would be more annoyed with Moncraine to be honest - he did run out on them at a rather pivotal point during their whole scheme - and it was a bit of an 'all for one' type situation after all.
    3. Locke certainly didn't seem in the least bit interested in the election. Up to a point I don't think Sabetha was either but she did have a tiny moment of glee there when won so maybe we can't totally get over her ambitions.
    4. It's all very mysterious and unfortunately I seem unable to come up with an answer!
    5. I suppose the only thing I can say in defence of the whole 'uncertainty' being a just revenge for Locke rather than the poisoning is that once you're dead you simply can't suffer any more. Plus, it's interesting that she let him get as near to Death's door as was possible before intervening. I think she also has this whole superiority attitude going on - almost like Locke is so insignificant that why bother to kill him? Just play with him a bit - like a cat with a mouse maybe?
    6. I actually love that we've got the Falconer back - he is sort of cliched I suppose, but he's such an excellent 'baddie'.
    7. I totally sat on the fence when it came to choosing a favourite book - I'm such a fence sitter! Although I did plump for Espara as the favoured storyline for similar reasons to yours.
    I thought that Sabetha had left because of the red haired woman in the picture but I was almost wondering if Patienced had screwed around with her a little bit and tried to maybe infer that that's Sabetha's mother or maybe something else that made Sabetha doubt who she was. That's probably the dumbest thing I've said yet but, somebody has to!! Why not me - it gives everybody else a giggle.
    Lynn :D

    1. 2. True, which makes me wonder how different Moncraine must have been in the past, to be Chains's friend.

      5. Good point, maybe she delayed "almost too long" because she was enjoying watching him suffer. And I suppose she could have that superiority going on-- but he did ruin the Falconer (admittedly, with a bit of her help), so I don't think she should've taken him too lightly! I suppose it's a bit late to say that now-- she definitely shouldn't have taken her son so lightly.

      7. Maybe it's just the woman in the picture, but I think Patience said or did something to her. I guess we'll have to wait and see, next time Sabetha shows up! (I really hope we haven't seen the last of her.)

  5. 1. I really enjoyed seeing the Sanzas again and I was glad that they were allowed to grow up on the page.

    3. I think the whole Lovaris thing was a convenient way of allowing Locke and Jean back into the election because throughout the book it seemed like Sabetha had them whipped. Locke’s scheme was well-executed!

    4. I think that the Exceptionalist faction of the Bondsmagi wanted to tamper with Eldren stuff and that Patience and her faction wanted to stop them and research it quietly.

    5. I think that Patience has been using the truth to hurt Locke and that her prophecy is also true. She may be a liar but sometimes the truth can be worse than any lie.

    7. Poor Locke. He picked the wrong girl. Sabetha constantly runs out on him or beats him at everything.

    Hhere are my answers:

    1. I liked seeing more of the Sanzas. I hope we get more flashbacks in future books. Surely there's plenty of young-GB adventures yet to be told.

      It was definitely well-executed! It seemed like they were losing though, so I was surprised how close they were, even before Lovaris's neutrality.

      I have to agree with Locke's assessment of Sabetha, "Twice as smart and three times as infuriating." I still thought Sabetha was fantastic, though. I hope she plays a big role in future books. I can't imagine she won't. :)

  6. Gah, I'm really late with my answers this week! Here's my post, I'll have to catch up with everyone else tomorrow.

  7. Here's my link:


  9. 1. I totally didn't think about that either, about Locke being in a fictional position to kill Sabetha. He's also in a fictional position to love her, betray her, and lose her. And he does keep loving and losing her in real life. poor guy!

    2. LOL! and Ezrintaim was probably all proud of herself for knocking some sense into some "idiot teenagers".

    3. I think the election was all a ruse. The bondsmagi played the GB's same as Locke played the casino owner in Red Seas about breaking into his vault. it was just a giant distraction.

    5. Good catch on that, that Patience said she'd never use the Falconer's true name against him, and all this time, she'd been doing EXACTLY that! was a single word out of that woman's mouth the truth? wow has she totally taken Locke for a ride. just, damn!

    1. 1. Clearly, he needs to act opposite her in some nice, happy-ending romantic plays, then maybe his life will follow the trend :).

      3. Yeah, it was definitely just a distraction. It was just such a focus of the novel that, I don't know, I feel like I wanted something more.

      5. My thoughts exactly! I think Locke needs to ask some more neutral Bondsmage about what happened with Lamor Acanthus, because I don't trust Patience at all.

  10. I'm with you on the lying Patience and not being able to trust anything she says. I also believe the prophecy might be true but in a less sinister way.
    I hope not for "killing off Sabetha"¨!

    As for Sabetha leaving, there is something there that was kept away from us - it could be Patience really compelled her, I haven't thought about that...

    1. I hope Sabetha doesn't get killed off! She was frustrating sometimes, but I loved her character. I agree that there's got to be something more we don't know in the scene where Sabetha left... I really hope that's brought up promptly in the next book. :)

  11. The question hanging over Sabetha leaving is a pretty good one, that I wish I'd touched on in my answers - we only get Patience's side of that conversation when she wakes Locke up, so who's to say she told him the truth about what happened with Sabetha? Remember, the painting was still wrapped when he woke up... She could have told Sabetha anything, and saved the painting for Locke...

    What a bitch. :D

    1. That's true, why would she have wrapped up the painting again, after showing it to Sabetha? She could have just turned it around, if she wanted it hidden. Maybe Sabetha never even saw it, and Patience just told her something designed to make her leave.

  12. 1. I do hope not, but anything is possible! :D

    2. I'm not sure that Chains will be all that angry because Moncraine didn't exactly act with much honor himself. Plus, they did what he sent them to do: get the self-centered actor out of debt.

    3. I got the impression that the voters were more interested in who offered the best future than anything political. The number of votes in each area was amazingly small, which suggests that only the very wealthy could vote anyway, so I doubt that the majority of people took any interest.

    5. Hmm I didn't think of dream steel for the silver rain, but you have a good point . . .

    6. The Falconer does perhaps seem a little cliche by this stage, but he wasn't quite this evil when we first met him . . . Patience has a great deal to answer for.

    7. I think Locke's obsession with red hair is because that is Sabetha's natural coloring, plain and simple - we know that he has tried visiting whores with red hair, but that is because they remind him of her. I agree with you that Patience was probably not entirely truthful about what she had said to Sabetha, so we will wait to see what really happened.

    1. 2. True, they achieved their stated goals of getting Moncraine out of debt. They even gave him a murder charge for free. I would like to see Chains reaction to hearing about what happened in Espara!

      7. Yeah, I agree. I don't think it matters if his initial liking for red hair was influenced by a past life or not. It's not like he just loves all redheads interchangeably (as evidenced by the brothel encounter), he definitely loves Sabetha in particular. I really hope we eventually get to find out what really happened in the last scene between Sabetha and Patience.

  13. "I noticed that Locke was once again put in a fictional position of being expected to kill Sabetha. I’m starting to wonder if this is foreshadowing for the next book."

    That's something I hadn't noticed, and I really hope this isn't true... You've got me worried now. =/

    Overall your feelings are pretty alike to mine. I also thought that it was daft for Sabetha to run off simply because of a silly portrait. Locke is Locke, and he loves her for her, not for her hair colour or because she might be his long dead wife, because even if that were so, they've had thirty-ish years of being Locke and Sabetha. Even if the dead wife thing was the spark, it's developed far beyond that.

    Ah well, we'll see...

    1. I really hope that doesn't happen, too! I am really curious to see if Sabetha shows up early on in the next book to explain what exactly happened there.

  14. Wow! I had not caught on that Locke was once again expected to 'kill' Sabetha in the play. You may be right about the foreshadowing - and the nice part of my hopes you are wrong, while the imp in me would find that very interesting.

    At the end, it seems the only thing coming out of Patience's mouth we can trust, is the prophecy. Still, it is vague enough that if Locke lives a reasonably long life, it can probably be made to fit it. However, this is Lynch, so it will be exciting to see what he does with it in the rest of the series.

    We don't know of a certainty that Sabetha is using her True Name. I like your idea that Patience forced her to leave somehow and then gave Locke some BS about her leaving of her own accord. But Patience wouldn't need Sabetha's True Name - just Jean's. while there has been some little conflict between Sabetha and Jean, I doubt Sabetha would sit idly by and let Patience torture him.

    1. I think Sabetha does use her true name, just like Jean. Camorri aren't so familiar with bondsmagi that they go around hiding their name as a matter of course (the Falconer managed to control the Spider easily enough as well). Which reminds me, I loved the name Damned Superstition Daxa (Dexa?) chose for herself.

    2. I think Patience claimed Sabetha's name was her true one, though she is a liar. I was assuming, like Theft and Sorcery said, that most Camorri don't hide their true names. Good point about Jean, though, I don't think Sabetha would let anything happen to him either.

  15. I'd forgotten that the play wasn't the first time where Locke had to 'kill' Sabetha, if it is foreshadowing I wonder if it isn't foreshadowing more than just that? I mean you have the close friendship between the two main male characters as well. Although I think Locke & Jean are closer friends than the two characters from the play (Whose names I cannot remember, Ferrin & ...?)

    4. I wondered whether the Bondsmagi were sort of 'running away' to go and hide and just get on with their lives, but them looking for a way to try and deal with the 'big bad' would be better use of their time. You just wonder now whether the Falconer might mess that all up.

    my post is here :)

    1. Ferrin and Aurin, I think? That would be really awful if Locke ends up having to kill Jean in the next book. I can't imagine what circumstances could possibly make that happen, though.