Series: Gentleman Bastards #3
Published by Gollancz on October 2013
Genres: Adult Fiction, Fantasy
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After their adventures on the high seas, Locke and Jean are brought back to earth with a thump. Jean is mourning the loss of his lover and Locke must live with the fallout of crossing the all-powerful magical assassins the Bonds Magi.
It is a fall-out that will pit both men against Locke's own long lost love. Sabetha is Locke's childhood sweetheart, the love of Locke's life and now it is time for them to meet again. Employed on different sides of a vicious dispute between factions of the Bonds Sabetha has just one goal - to destroy Locke for ever.
Once again, it’s time for an adventure with the always gentlemanly but rather dangerous Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen!
Please note: This is a review for the second book in the Gentleman Bastard series, and so contains spoilers for the earlier books, The Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies. You may wish to read my review for those books instead!
It’s been six years since the publication of Red Seas Under Red Skies but only a few weeks between the events at the end of that book and this third installment. I’ll attempt to avoid spoilers for the previous part of the story by saying that Locke and Jean need to first spend a bit of time getting out of a sticky situation. They soon find themselves back in the company of the slightly creepy Bondsmagi of Karthain, who employ them to help influence the ruling council elections of Karthain. The trouble is, the opposition has also hired a mastermind for their cause – Locke’s old sweetheart and erstwhile Bastard, Sabetha.
Finally, after hints and murmurs of Sabetha in the previous books, we finally get to hear how Locke’s lost romance played out and meet her in the “present”. Two separate timelines run all the way through this book and it can get a little confusing with the switching in each chapter, but the earlier timeline shows the complex development of Sabetha’s relationship with the rest of the crew and sets the scene along the way for present events.
Locke in love is such a romantic sweetheart, although he does (barely) manage to keep up his ruthless criminal persona through the job itself. I thought that the romantic aspects were what I had missed from the previous books, but that the story suffered a bit because of that. There was less of the balls-to-the-wall desperation by the end of this book that made the previous books such compulsive reading, and although I did enjoy the development of Locke and Sabetha’s relationship I did feel that the ending was a little too neatly tied up this time. That said, there is a major story arc developing that seems very promising and I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops. Hopefully there won’t be a six-year wait for the next book!
I’d recommend the Gentleman Bastards series to those who like intricate and twisting plots in their Fantasy, set in amazingly detailed worlds. If you’re not a fan of swearing, I’d steer clear – once again the insults in this one are spectacular and I wish I’d written some of them down!
– Yet another grand adventure – I enjoyed the character relationship development aspects but felt the story wasn’t quite as epic as previous books in the series.
The Gentleman Bastards
- The Lies of Locke Lamora, 2006
- Red Seas Under Red Skies, 2007
- The Republic of Thieves, October 2013
- The Thorn of Emberlain
- The Ministry of Necessity
- The Mage and the Master Spy
- Inherit the Night