The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

The basics

Title: The Republic of Thieves


Series: Gentleman Bastard #3

- The Lies of Locke Lamora (2006)
- Red Seas Under Red Skies (2007)
- The Republic of Thieves (2013)
- The Thorn of Emberlain
- The Ministry of Necessity
- The Mage and the Master Spy
- Inherit the Night

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Goodreads Summary:

With what should have been the greatest heist of their career gone spectacularly sour, Locke and his trusted partner, Jean, have barely escaped with their lives. Or at least Jean has. But Locke is slowly succumbing to a deadly poison that no alchemist or physiker can cure. Yet just as the end is near, a mysterious Bondsmage offers Locke an opportunity that will either save him or finish him off once and for all.

Magi political elections are imminent, and the factions are in need of a pawn. If Locke agrees to play the role, sorcery will be used to purge the venom from his body - though the process will be so excruciating he may well wish for death. Locke is opposed, but two factors cause his will to crumble: Jean's imploring - and the Bondsmage's mention of a woman from Locke's past: Sabetha. She is the love of his life, his equal in skill and wit, and now, his greatest rival.

Locke was smitten with Sabetha from his first glimpse of her as a young fellow orphan and thief-in-training. But after a tumultuous courtship, Sabetha broke away. Now they will reunite in yet another clash of wills. For faced with his one and only match in both love and trickery, Locke must choose whether to fight Sabetha - or to woo her. It is a decision on which both their lives may depend.

Read a full summary of The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch below. If you can’t remember what happened in The Republic of Thieves and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.

what happened in The Republic of Thieves


  • We see Sabetha in some flashbacks, where she is being trained by Chains.
  • Chains pits Sabetha and Locke against one another. Sabetha saves Locke during the challenge, except it’s all a lie because Locke is trying to trick her. The challenge ends in a tie.
  • Chains sends the trainees to work in an acting troupe as they’re all being annoying teenagers.
  • Locke tells Sabetha he fancies her, but she tells him to wait until they’ve finished their jobs with the troupe until they get into it.
  • The leader of the troupe, Moncraine, has been arrested and thrown in jail. The teenagers have to break him out.
  • The teenagers make a deal with the other guy who was involved in the fight, Boulidazi. Boulidazi has been trying to buy shares in the acting troupe and this has been causing problems.
  • Moncraine is released from jail, and he casts the teenagers in a play that he is running – The Republic of Thieves. Sabetha gets the lead, and Locke tries for the role of her love interest. He doesn’t get the role, and is really down until Jean tells him to speak to Sabetha like a normal person.
  • Locke and Sabetha speak on the rooftops. He compliments her red hair, and she takes issue with this because apparently people with red hair have magical powers, and their blood can be used to heal things. It’s a touchy subject.
  • Boulidazi becomes interested in Sabetha, and Locke asks for his help in getting the love interest role in the play. In exchange, Locke offers to mention Boulidazi to Sabetha a bit.
  • Sabetha turns Boulidazi down, and he becomes angry and assaults Jenora. Jenora stabs Boulidazi to get away.
  • Sabetha and Locke help Jenora get away with the murder (self defense). They plan to pretend to have Boulidazi act in the play, and then burn Boulidazi’s body to make it look like he died in a fire.
  • Moncraine takes the money that the group is owed, and so Locke frames Moncraine for Boulidazi’s murder.
  • Locke and Sabetha get together.

Present Day

  • Locke has healed Jean of the poison, but Locke himself is currently dying.
  • Jean is looking for Lashain in the hope of finding a cure for Locke.
  • Jean abducts a physiker in an attempt to get someone to heal Locke, but he says he can’t do it.
  • Patience, a female mage and the Falconer’s mother, shows up. She says she can heal Locke. This all seems very suspect.
  • Patience offers to heal Locke if he and Jean help her and the Deep Roots to interfere with the election happening in Karthain.
  • They all get on a boat and travel to Karthain, and Patience heals Locke on the way. It’s all a bit grim, and for a bit it looks like Locke might die anyway, but Jean basically holds his hand and Patience’s magic works.
  • They meet Nikoros, a Deep Roots man, who is there to assist them.
  • They learn that Sabetha has been working with the opposition. This obviously throws a spanner in the works.
  • Locke and Jean bump into Sabetha as she is pretending to be a pickpocket. She tries to frame Locke for stealing her purse. She leaves a note in Locke’s pocket while there’s some back and forth. The note asks Locke and Jean to meet with her later.
  • The trio comes together and they catch up. Jean goes off, Locke kisses Sabetha on the neck, and it turns out she’s got poison slathered there. Locke is knocked out. *facepalm*
  • Locke wakes up in a cabin of a ship, which Sabetha plans to keep them on until the election is over. This way they’ll be out of the way.
  • Locke and Jean escape on a lifeboat and make it back to Karthain.
  • Locke goes to see Sabetha and invites her to dine with him a few times. She agrees.
  • Patience interrupts one of their meals. She tells Locke about his true identity. Locke thinks she’s telling the truth… mostly.
  • Sabetha gets upset because Jean knew Locke’s real name.
  • Black Iris wins the election by one seat, until Lovaris decides to run as an independent candidate, as per Locke’s scheming.
  • The mages blow stuff up, and then they all leave Karthain, which means the city is without protection.
  • Patience tells Locke that he and Jean won’t receive any compensation for the scheming. She tells them to leave Karthain.
  • Patience admits to planning all of this as revenge for her son.
  • Locke reflects on the painting of his parents – Lamor Acanthus and his wife. His wife was a red head, which Sabetha apparently took issue with.
  • Patience tells Locke a prophecy. “Three things must you take up and three things must you lose before you die: a key, a crown, a child. You will die when the silver rain falls.”
  • Jean suggests going after Sabetha but Locke wants to set her free.
  • Patience goes to see the Falconer, who has been in a coma all this time.
  • Patience tells the Falconer what happened in Karthain, with Locke and the mages fleeing the city. She offers to put him out of his misery, but he wants to live.
  • The Falconer touches some dreamsteel, which he seems to be able to control. He drinks it, and his tongue grows back.
  • The Falconer kills the man that Patience hired to look after him. He then summons a tonne of birds, which he commands to kill Patience. He then starts to plot his revenge against Locke and Jean.

That was our recap of what happened in The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch. Check out our recap list for more plot summaries, and if you can’t find what you need you can request a recap here!


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