It took Scott Lynch far longer to finish the third book in the Gentleman Bastard sequence than he planned, and the difficult gestation is occasionally visible in the released book.
Republic of Thieves took an extra four years to write according to the original schedule. But illness, divorce and depression tend to wreck the best-laid plans.
Republic of Thieves continues directly where the previous installment left off, with the protagonist leftally poisoned and their fortunes badly faded.
Desperation leads to an unhealthy employmemt, with the goal of rigging an election with subterfuge.
But this being a Locke Lamora-book, things are far from simple. The opposing crew mounts a counterattck at their electoral shenanigans. And the plot is run in two parallel timelines: one in the present, the other in the past. This time the result of the plotlines’ intersection is pretty much known from the beginning, which saps the power of the plot device considerably.
The world-building remains convincing, the characters head and shoulders above their fantasy brethren and the plot is an interesting change from the more straight-laced thievery in the previous novels.
Nonetheless, the book is quite uneven – at times it feels forced and stretched out, long sequences give the impression of being nothing but fillers.
And while the introduction of a Destiny for Locke doesn’t need retroactive continuity (having been left vague in the opening, anyway), it brings the book a few nudges closer to standard fantasy. Which may be a bad thing or not, the theme is a minor one in this book, so the jury is still out.
All in all I was pleased with the book. Its arrival cements that the author is not giving up, and despite the lulls in the plotting, there’s a lot of the old magic left. And obviously the finale of the book promises a lot more action in the next in the sequence.