Monday, November 18, 2013

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch: Part 4

If you haven't read the book, or the whole series, why not join in and read along with the rest of us? This week the links to the other posts can be found at the Little Red Reviewer.

This week we read through to the end of Chapter 10.

1. We finally know why Sabetha dies her hair, and that's so disturbing even the Thiefmaker under Shade's Hill was disgusted by it. Too dark for this world? Or just right?

Unfortunately, it was pretty much what I expected. I say this because there is a similar tradition in Africa where sex with a virgin is supposed to cure all manner of sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS. I thought the mutilation beforehand added a certain extra layer of cruelty that I had not expected though. As you say, it has to be really bad if even the Thiefmaker is appalled by it.

One thing did surprise me about this though: it is very misogynistic, which seems a little at odds with the world in general. So far I have been rather impressed by the sexual equality that we have seen, although Moncraine’s comment later in the section did hint at a background of sexism.

2. The "Asino" brothers are drunken idiots, but they're not blind. What did you think of the little rendezvous they helped arrange for Sabetha and Locke?

I thought it was rather sweet of them and surprisingly considerate. It also showed that they are much less self-obsessed than you would think, and have genuine compassion for others. This showed up again in their happiness that Jean had got himself a girlfriend. Of course, the venue that they chose was not exactly romantic, but it seemed more than adequate and was probably more spacious than the backseat of a car! :D

3. Locke managed to get everyone out of the Boulidazi mess we discussed last week . . . what do you think of this latest  Boulidazi complication?

As it turned out, the cliffhanger last week was pretty tame compared to this one. While I will not shed a single tear for Boulidazi, I am much more concerned about how they will wriggle out of this latest disaster. Travelling in his head was a singularly unpleasant experience, so the outcome was a lot less bloody than I had expected: I assumed that the Sisters would come into play and leave a bit of a mess.

I enjoyed seeing the whole gang acting together, just like Chains wanted them to, although I suspect that he would be a little disappointed in what brought them together. Just as I was beginning to feel all smug that they had everything worked out we get the final spanner in the works and now they look totally stuffed. However, I have faith that they will escape relatively unscathed and not just because we know that they survive this little hiccup in their plans.

4.Time is flying, and the election is getting closer. Desperation calls for cheap tricks. I think my favorite so far is Sabetha's special roof guards. What's your favorite election dirty trick so far?

I have to agree that the geriatric roof guards were a masterly stroke, but I think the snakes in Locke’s carriage are my favorite. I appreciated the way that Sabetha could get the carriage adjusted so quickly, although I did feel a little sorry for the poor reptiles . . .

I am afraid that the one that made me laugh the most was Locke’s rather personal way of manipulating Sabetha’s major domo. When it got to the bit about them going upstairs, I’m afraid I was in great danger of soiling myself at the mental image it conjured for me! :D

5.There's a mole in the Deep Roots. Was that person's identity a surprise to you? And how did you like Locke's method of identifying the person?

I thought it was pretty obvious that the raging drug addict was going to be exploited as a mole. In fact, I was surprised that it took so long for Sabetha’s bought policeman to corner the sweaty little weasel. I was rather disappointed that Locke and Jean did not keep a close enough eye on him when he was obviously suffering from withdrawal symptoms: it seemed rather sloppy to me.

Locke used the same method that I would have to uncover their little leak, although the increased sweating and nervousness would have been a bit of a clue as well. Again, I was genuinely surprised that they had not guessed before having it confirmed. However, it is possible that they were being sarcastic and that their insistence on his going cold turkey was a plan to make him an obvious target for blackmail. Or perhaps I am overthinking things . . .

6.What's so important about this Lovaris fellow? The election is right around the corner, so why introduce someone new so late in the game?

I am not sure if this is a double cross, triple cross or quadruple cross. I realized a long time ago that trying to guess where we would go next is a fruitless task with Mr Lynch, so I will simply sit back and enjoy the ride.

7. It's so nice that Locke and Sabetha can finally have some nice, normal dinner dates. He even cooks her dinner! But that sneaky Patience, always interrupting everything! Finally, she promises some answers. that's nice. what, Locke is WHO? Locke is a WHAT? How much of it do you believe?

I loved their romantic dates and a man who can cook is always a prize catch in my opinion. I was disappointed that Patience turned up when she did and I do worry that this is a misdirection to put a wedge between Locke and Sabetha . . . However, I find it hard to believe that Patience would go to all the trouble that she has in getting Locke to Karthain unless she had a really, really good reason.

Well played, Mr Lynch, well played: you have left me totally amazed and confused with my mouth hanging open . . .


  1. "I was rather disappointed that Locke and Jean did not keep a close enough eye on him when he was obviously suffering from withdrawal symptoms: it seemed rather sloppy to me." - I thought that too, actually. For two supposedly very clever people they were really not paying enough attention to their own back garden...

    1. For almost all of this book they have been flopping about like half-stunned fish, so perhaps this is just a consequence of the massive head start that Sabetha engineered for herself.

  2. 1. Omg, I didn't know that (no particular reason why I would of course!)
    2. Hello, what's all this backseat of a car all about!!! *raises eyebrow suspiciously*
    4. I loved the returned snakes - a masterful trick. The old lady spies were pretty good too - shows how well Sabetha knows these two.
    You certainly do have to hand it to Lynch - he's got no end of tricks up his impossibly long sleeve!
    Lynn :D

    1. 1. It is not something that the governments publicize, but South Africa, in particular, has suffered from a great deal of non-scientific rumor about how to deal with AIDS - at one point the government was refusing retrovirals from western countries in favor of advocating drinking beetroot juice . . . I kid you not :(

      2. It wasn't me, honest, I just know that it is a popular place to lose one's virginity in the US . . . :D

  3. In getting to know more about Sabetha I think we start to see that sexism does exist in the Lynch world. When looking at this world through Jean and Locke's eyes, there is very little sexism, and that is how they see it most of the time - women have power and can choose their own careers in Camorr, and the guys don't have to worry about sexual inequality, so unless someone they care about slaps them upside the head with it, they probably aren't going to notice it.

    Oh yes! Haha! Locke convincing Sabetha's major domo to show him upstairs was hilarious. He was such an unpleasant man and no problems at all with the idea of tossing Jean and Locke outside and beating them on the way out - so I didn't feel bad about his most treasured belongings being threatened.

  4. I suppose it is good to realize that we are getting a non-sexist view of the world because Locke and Jean are all about equality . . . as if we need any more excuses to love them! :D

  5. Oh, I loved that part with the majordomo! When Locke said, "Vordratha has very tight pants", I thought he was cleverly referring to something I wasn't getting--really he just meant "It'll be easy to grab his balls." :D.

    I am also surprised that Locke and Jean didn't notice Nikoros right away, since it all seemed pretty obvious. They spent so much time looking for opponents' weak spots, but it seems they just completely forgot about their own.

    1. Yep, I misinterpreted the tight pants as well. I thought it meant that he was gay and Locke would play that to his advantage somehow, but this way was so much more funny.

  6. Snakes falling on me in a carriage would be a deal breaker. I don't care how obsessed I am with the person I'm dating, if they drop snakes on my head I am NOT calling them back.

    *headdesk*, I thought the tightpants comments about Vordratha was them implying they thought he was homosexual? which explains Locke's surprise when Sabetha tells him that Vordratha has like seven kids?

    With Nikoros thing, I'm almost surprised there weren't more moles or spies. Locke and Jean never really vetted any of those people or interviewed them, they just assumed that everyone was on their side.


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