Monday, October 28, 2013

Read-Along: The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch, Part 1

It’s time for the first post for the read-along of Scott Lynch’s The Republic of Thieves !  Thanks to Dab of Darkness for providing this week’s questions, which cover from the beginning to "Intersect 1". Feel free to leave your link in the comments below, and I’ll add it to the post.  

Past this point are serious spoilers of the series, so beware!

1) We get to reminisce with several old friends in this section - Calo, Galdo, Chains. How did you like this? Bitter sweet or happy dance?
Happy dance!  It’s been long enough since reading The Lies of Locke Lamora that I am mostly over the shock and sadness of how we said goodbye to the Sanza twins.  I loved seeing how the Gentlemen Bastards were forged into a group. I can’t remember why there weren’t any older members of the gang, though.  Was it that the Gentlemen Bastards was a relatively recent whim of Father Chains, and so these kids were his first group?
2) Finally, the infamous Sabetha makes a physical appearance, albeit in Locke's reminisces. What are your impressions? How do you think the romance, if there is to be one, will play out? 
Finally, Sabetha appears!  She has been kind of an empty outline of a person for the first two books, affecting the story by her absence.  She seems like a quietly competent young lady, and I am curious to see how they fell in love and why they fell out.  We’ve seen Locke already ‘fall in love’ with her (in his child’s crush), which will clearly grow into something more due to his growing up with her as pretty much the only girl in his world.
3) After trying absolutely everything to save Locke, Jean still won't give up. What did you think of that little pep talk he gave Locke concerning Patience's offer of healing?
I was with Jean on that one.  Seriously, Locke, shut up.  When you’re about to die, and someone offers to let you stay alive, you can’t really argue about the conditions.  I thought Jean’s efforts to save Locke were really touching, and he had a point about Locke’s death wish.  I don’t know if it really is very subconscious, though.  Locke was not in a good mental or emotional place for a long time, after what happened in Camorr, and I think that probably played a role in his giving the antidote to Jean in the first place.
4) Locke has a few caveats to working for the Bondsmage. Wise or just Locke grasping for some control over his life? What would you ask Patience? 
I think having it explicitly stated that they’re through after the election is a good idea.  And having answers to questions is smart for both Locke and Patience.  They work some pretty complicated scams, and not having all the information about a situation could ruin things unexpectedly. However, I do kind of think it was a combination of grasping for control and saving face (since Locke had just backed down from insisting on dying instead).  I think I would ask if it’s possible to officially learn some magic while there… but I know Locke would absolutely not be on board for ever becoming a Bondsmage.
5) At the end of this section, we see that all is not as Patience laid it out. How much do you think Patience knows of the plot to off Locke and Jean? Do you see it interfering in the rigged election? 

 I think things will be more complicated than they appear, as always, and I’m sure it will cause problems.  I expect lots of complicated, dangerous, and amusing problems, based on the expectations I’ve got from the first two books.  I doubt Patience knows about the plot, or if she does, she might see it as a handy test of whether or not Jean and Locke are clever enough to be useful.

In other comments, the contest between Locke and Sabetha was fantastic, and it was cool to see where the Gentleman Bastard hand signals originated.  I’m wondering if we’ll see that the contest highlights the difference between Locke and Sabetha.  Locke works off inspiration, using anything to hand (even yellowjackets), while Sabetha has superior plans set in advance.  It seems like Locke’s strength is in his flexibility and charisma, while Sabetha’s is in her forethought.  Or I may be reading way too much into this!

Other answers!

Lynn's Book Blog
Little Red Reviewer
Dab of Darkness 
All I Am -- A Redhead
Coffee, Cookies and Chili Peppers


  1. Ha, yes, I forgot about the hand signals completely. I thought it was good getting to see the gang again and it also makes you realise just how great a loss they've suffered. No wonder Jean gave Locke such a dressing down.
    I like that summing up at the end. Sabetha definitely thinks things through and Locke is flexible - plus a kind of fly by the seat of your pants type of guy.
    Lynn :D

    1. Yeah, it's a pretty stark contrast between "happy family in their secret temple home, planning schemes" and "they're all dead or dying except Jean". :'( Great to see them all together again, though!

  2. You know, now I am really curious if these kids *were* Father Chains' first group. There were some hints dropped in Lies that Chains' connections to Capa Barsavi go way back, but who knows if he "adopted" anyone else before the Sanza twins and Sabetha? Maybe Locke has some older step-adopted-siblings?

    Locke and his deathwish. He is an oddly and surprisingly emotional and sensitive guy. I am all about Jean clamping his mouth shut and forcing him to shut up! When Locke is in one of those moods he can't be trusted!

    That would be really cool, wouldn't it, if Locke demanded of Patience that she teach him some magic! especially one of those silvery cat's cradle things, or the secrets behind true names. yeah, that would be cool. .. . .

    I do like how Locke and Sabetha have completely different working patterns and philosophies. If those two were working together on a Con job team, would they even be able to get through it without argueing about who was right?

    here's my link:

    1. I really can't remember if that's ever been addressed at all. He seemed to have a surprising number of connections already in place, though, if they were his first group of kids. Maybe there are others, and he plans a gap in between groups. That would help them mold more as a team, I suppose. That would be quite a surprise for Locke to run into!

      It would be so useful if Locke learned some magic--with his cleverness AND magic, the Bondsmagi would have no chance against him. Though they would have to teach him, so I guess they would know exactly what he knew...

      I wonder if Locke & Sabetha's conflicting working patterns are going to cause some of the complications between them in later flashbacks...

  3. No, I don't think you're reading too much into this - Sabetha's forethought and Locke's improvisation.
    Makes for good contests between them. Although it leaves Locke only to react, not be proactive...

    1. True, so I guess that means Sabetha starts out a step ahead, as in the silk/buttons contest.

  4. 1. That is a really good question - I wish I had thought of it! I assume that you are correct that they are his first attempt . . . though I am amazed that the Sanza twins didn't make him give up the experiment! :D

    3. I am fairly certain that Locke gave the antidote to Jean because he is so used to flying by the seat of his pants that he thought that he would simply think his way out of the problem.

    4. I am fairly certain that teaching Locke magic would be a very dangerous thing to do - he is enough trouble without any supernatural help! :D

    1. 1. Or maybe he was so frustrated with the Sanzas, he was thinking, "Surely not all kids are like this. I'll grab a few more and see." :D

      3. That is entirely possible. He relies on his improvisational skill a little too much sometimes; there's no backup when it fails.

      4. Hah, that is definitely true. He bested a Bondsmage without magic, after all. If he could use magic, I suppose the rest of the world would be at too much of an unfair disadvantage.

  5. I really like your question about why there weren't any older Gentlemen Bastards. Hmm.... Either Chains made sure to space out these little thievery groups in distance and time - like 10-15 years to raise up a batch, get them independent, and then 3-5 years to relocate and start a new batch, or these guys were the first and only. Very interesting to contemplate!

    I agree with you on Locke's deathwish. Perhaps it isn't all that subconscious after all. Even though he has currently agreed to be treated by Patience, I have to wonder if that deathwish was beaten merely for the moment and will rear it's ugly selfish head later on.

    Yeah for hand-sginals! This book inspires me to come up with some for my man and me. Could be very useful in certain situations. 'These relatives are drunk, pretend to puke in your napkin so we can go home', 'This dude is highly offensive, play the overprotective male so I don't have to talk to him, etc.