The Republic of Thieves Read Along Part III

LynchRepublicOfThievesAudioLynn is our awesomesauce host this week. You can catch her over at Lynn’s Book Blog. Lots of really cool things happened this week….and some not so cool things happened to your heroes, Jean and Locke. We covered Chapter 6 through ‘Aurin & Amadine’. Next week’s reading starts with Chapter 8.

Spoilers lurk below willing to garrote, cudgel, stab, inebriate, and chew the unwary. You have been warned!

1) The election competition.  Sabetha isn’t wasting any time throwing pranks at Locke and Jean.  Mostly it seemed fairly harmless, or at least not overly serious, until they were kidnapped and put onto a ship and taken out to sea.  What did you make of Sabetha’s latest plan? And what did you think about the way she executed it?

Sabetha said to Locke more than once that she had to win for both their sakes. I have to wonder if Sabetha was coerced into taking this job, and it wasn’t merely in exchange for getting her away from some angry folks whose acquaintance she knew from one of her latest cons. I am guessing that she traded her skills to keep Locke alive, on the condition that her side win the election.

Also, when she was dressed as the little old lady pickpocket, the last thing she said to Locke and Jean as they walked away was that they didn’t have time. Which would be an odd thing to say to goad someone on. And Lynch doesn’t just throw random crap in. So, I have to wonder if that was Sabetha trying to warn the dense boys about something, probably to do with the Bondsmagi.

As to how Sabetha took Locke out….Well, I hope he will be a little more cautious about where he sticks his tongue from now on. 🙂 On one had, I think it was a bit cruel of Sabetha to lead him on, a bit stupid of Locke to accept so eagerly, and pretty darn practical of Sabetha. Locke avoided any further bruising this way. Jean didn’t fair so well.

2) During the escape overboard and Jean’s rather subtle nose dive into the water – I was curious about the lights Locke saw deep in the water when he was performing his rescue – Locke thought they looked different once he was under the waves which I suppose they would but he also had the feeling that he was being watched?  Do you think this relates back to the Eldren or some other presence?

Well Locke was cursing those lights as Eldren mischief. So, yes, I am going with the Eldren. I wonder if the being watched feeling was at all familiar, like similar to the feeling of being watched in Book 2 when Drakasha took her ship through the spooky pass where sailors are tempted to step off into the mist and water and whatever is watching knows Locke’s real name. That would explain Locke’s creative cursing.

LynchRepublicOfThievesGerman3) Given that Locke hadn’t seen Sabetha for five years how did you think their first meeting together went (well, it wasn’t strictly speaking their first meeting of course – were you surprised that Jean and Locke hadn’t figured out that the woman pickpocket was Sabetha?) and also what did you make of Jean and Sabetha’s reaction to each other?

On one hand, they didn’t end up in an argument, with words or steel. On the other hand, she had them both chained to a nice comfy, very long, voyage. But as you read above, I think Sabetha has a multitude of reasons for getting Locke safely out of the way.

Jean and Locke aren’t at the top of their game and that showed in the pickpocket scene. Locke has been devilishly ill for many weeks if not months, so that is understandable. And they both took a beating, to ego and minds, in Book 2. Then Jean has spent a lot of time just keeping Locke alive, so he’s not on the top of his game. All understandable, but it also has me worried. In Books 1 and 2, they guys went into the game fresh, with knowledge, and a plan. Right now they aren’t flying with all propellers going, and by the seat of their unwaxed, hairy arses too.

As to how Jean and Sabetha greeted each other, totally understandable. Jean is one of those guys who wouldn’t presume and so Sabetha had to do the hug first. She may also have been checking for the Wicked Sisters so she could relay that info to her waiting men in some way.

4) So, the gang have arrived in Espara and already the plans have gone wrong through no fault of their own!  Jail for a year plus lose a hand for slapping a noble?? What do you think of the justice system in Espara and how does this bode for the gang?

Moncraine isn’t one for thinking of the long term, or even the next day. He is very much ruled by his (drunken) emotions. Hence, he’s in jail for slapping a noble. I loved how the Camorri crew gathered info and went to the Weeping Tower for a chat with Moncraine. And Sabetha was awesome! The way she laid it out for Moncraine was genius coated in brutal truth. Moncraine obviously knows something of Camorri and he doesn’t want several angry one waiting for him a year later to collect their due.

As for the Esparan justice system, it seems about average. The privileged have more privileges than the rest of society. I was a little surprised they make you wait a year to have your hand cut off. I mean, why would the government want to shell out the money to house and feed the sordid wretches anyway? Perhaps they are into psychological torture? Perhaps the 1 year is designed to ensure that whatever thriving business the idiot slapper had before he went in will not be waiting around for him when he gets out?

I want the Camorris to keep Moncraine on a tight leash when he goes out in public for any reason. He doesn’t need to slap another moneyed man or pinch the bottom of a duchess or scoff, sneeze, fart, guffaw at anyone of note.

LynchRepublicOfThievesSubterranean5) The acting company are finally coming together and we’re watching the gang as they try to read, act and grab the best parts – are you all ‘happy face’ with the whole theatre scenes or, sad face!  Also, I can’t help feeling like this whole storyline is a step out of character for the gang.  Any ideas of how it will play out??

I actually found this part either a bit dull or far too dramatic….which actually might be a true reflection of the training and preparing of a play. I am even listening to the audio, which has been quite awesome, but this bit was a little slow for me. Feel free to leave a dull or dramatic (but not mediocre!) hate comment for me if you feel differently. 🙂

Jean seems to be putting the most effort, but alas, he is the least suited. So, he gets to be bouncer and seamstress and accountant. All really boring tasks. I hope everyone else buys him drinks for taking on such menial work.

6) We are also being introduced to a number of new characters, particularly Moncraine and Boulidazi.  What are your first impressions of these two and the other new characters in the Company and any particular likes or dislikes so far?

I did like how Sabetha tells off what’s her name… nuts…. hmmm… Damn, I can’t remember. That ever so nice lady who demanded to have the part of Amadine and started that whole tussle between Jean and Bertrand. That was fun! And then they shared a cigar and Jean got asked out to a game. How sweet!

At first, Boulidazi comes off as a decent sort. He does a little double checking on the IDs Locke and Sabetha are using for this scam, but then doesn’t press beyond that. I thought his tasteful inquiry as to whether or not Sabetha was free to be wooed was polite (even if it drove Locke crazy!). He seems to have a genuine interest in the theater and in Moncraine’s company in particular.

Moncraine may know theater, but he doesn’t appear to know anything beyond that – like people, politics, good manners, why it’s impolite to fart upwind of people, etc.

7) The rooftop scene and the apology.  How did it all go so wrong?  And how will Locke get out of this latest fix with Boulidazi?

At first it was awkward, but that was expected. Then the apology seemed to truly bring down Sabetha’s walls and she seemed on the brink of saying her true, deepest feelings, when Locke had to keep talking. Sigh….

From what Sabetha said, it appears that people with red hair are prized in certain circles and that Sabetha was trusted with a poisoned knife at a very young age in order to dissuade such people who might wish to profit from kidnapping her and selling her into said circles. With that in mind, Sabetha has been dyeing her hair brown for 10 years. I think she might be a little fixated on her hair, which is understandable. So when Locke comments on the true red of it, she loses it a bit because she has actively chosen brown for herself all these years. As she says, that’s the real her.

Still, she was really harsh on Locke, even at the beginning when she went on about him offering her wine in the hopes of loosening her morals. Then after about her hair and that he was simply fixated on bedding a redhead. Sabetha is human too and it’s apparent she has some hangups.

As to Boulidazi, Locke may not be able to talk his way out of that one depending on how much he heard. If it was just a little, perhaps he can get away with saying they were rehearsing a particular scene. But if he heard the bulk, I fear he may turn out to be scum and demand certain favors from Sabetha in exchange for his silence and continued patronage to the acting troupe. Locke may have to put a stiletto in him if Sabetha doesn’t bury a fencing blade in him first.

Other Tidbits:

That escape almost didn’t happen. And I think they were being helped by a Bondsmage who can push wind around too, keeping that boat near the shore instead of 10 miles out. I wonder if Patience has a trained bird or some other animal that she uses to keep tabs on the boys?

Sabetha tells Jean and Locke she can still read most of their handsigns. I know they haven’t had a lot of time to work, but once they learned that Sabetha was the opposition, you’d think they would consider the handsigns.

When Locke mentions the death of Calo and Galdo, Sabetha seemed reserved in her answer. But if she suspected for several years, they were dead, she may have already done much of her mourning. Then Locke mentions Bug, and Sabetha makes a comment about how they took on a male apprentice instead of a female one. Very interesting.

Jean is going to have to visit Sabetha again to get his Wicked Sisters back, isn’t he? That might not be such a cheery meeting.

I loved how Sabetha and Locke both told Moncraine that his verbal abuse would not be tolerated. Sabetha only had to look at his all squinty eyed for him to get the idea of what dire consequences would come knocking on his door if he kept it up.

My Fellow Bastards:

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Over the Effing Rainbow
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24 thoughts on “The Republic of Thieves Read Along Part III”

  1. Interesting theory on Patience helping the boys slightly with escaping the ship. I thought it was just good luck. I too thought there would be more of a reaction out of Sabetha when she found out about Sanzas.

    Here are my answers–

    1. Perhaps Sabetha was like 80% sure they were dead over these last several years but didn’t want to admit it to herself – and when Locke tells her it’s not as big a blow as it might have been? Perhaps the Bondsmagi who employed her already told her, maybe even shared a memory, so she’s already had the shock but has to play it cool in front of Locke?

      1. That makes sense I’m sure she was throwing up some emotional defense in front of Locke. I hope she is secretly pissed at the Bondsmagi ( Falconer) for what he did to her brothers.

  2. 3Good point about Locke and Jean not being on the top of their game. They have been through a lot – poisoned, beaten, imprisoned, lost two fortunes – and Sabetha has a head start so they won’t be fully capable of mounting an effective resistance. Still, Locke was such a dope to be suckered into Sabetha’s trap. It was awesome. As soon as Jean left the room you could see she had planned something!

    5. I have been on film sets and things do go really slow. Lots of rehearsing little things, setting up lights and constant takes. Overall I like the acting sections because it is part of what the GB’s do and expands their skills.

    6/7 Boulidazi is a thug. He knows how to wield steel so at some point a bade will be drawn. I’m was tired of Moncraine within a line of dialogue. The chap has an ego and no sense of how to deal with other people. Very, very arrogant. It will be interesting to see if he can redeem himself later in the novel by actually teaching the GB’s anything.

    1. From Sabetha’s somewhat cool greeting to Locke, I figured she didn’t have sexy times in mind when she asked Jean to step outside. Then she asked for a little snuggling and nuzzling and I had to wonder more. Locke, Locke, I hope you are hanging your head in shame at being so easily duped.

  3. I’m still shocked at Sabetha. I just never saw that coming at all. I was a bit miffed at first but then I had to hand it to her. Of course they wangled out of the situation anyway so… if nothing else I think it might teach Locke a little bit of caution.
    I hope that all these little mysteries are going to be eventually uncovered, strange lights underwater, spooky ghosts, deserted cities!
    Aww, I like the way you reasoned out Jean’s coolness to Sabetha. I wondered if he’s still really mourning Ezra which is why he comes across a bit detached? Locke definitely isn’t at the top of his game. I think he’s so busy thinking about Sabetha is the reason though. He needs to wind his neck in a bit.
    I never thought about that – why would you keep somebody in prison for a year – why not just chop his hand off and throw him out to all the people he owed money to.
    I was thinking that Locke just needs to learn when to shut up – but then I realised, if things had gone okay for him and his little chat with Sabetha, and he hadn’t put his big foot in the whole bedding a ‘red head’ issue – well Bouldazi could have caught them in a much worse situation!
    Lynn 😀

    1. I don’t expect we will have all the little mysteries cleared up. It seems that the Eldren mysteries carry over from book to book, so I don’t expect an answer to the underwater lights.

      Yeah, if I was a noble and wanted to financially ruin some poor brute with a swagger and a loose fist, I would throw them in jail for a year and let their business go to ruin.

      I guess if Boulidazi found them kissing (if he hadn’t heard the lead up to it), he would be pissed with the Camorri Cousin he knows as Locke for stepping on his turf, but he might not suspect they are con artists fo some kind.

  4. “I know they haven’t had a lot of time to work, but once they learned that Sabetha was the opposition, you’d think they would consider the handsigns.” – So far everything that happens has them on the back foot. Sabetha just throws trick after trick after trick at them, and neither Locke nor Jean are in best shape to start with. The handsigns are probably way at the bottom of their priority list. 😉

    1. It would probably take some effort to change their handsigns……especially since they really are a second language for these two, being used instinctually whenever in public.

  5. “I am guessing that she traded her skills to keep Locke alive, on the condition that her side win the election.”

    omg, I never thought of that, that is brilliant! Had she not been hired by her side, and had Patience’s side not needed someone of equal thievy deviousness, Locke would be very dead right now. f’ing brilliant you are! and doubly brilliant is your bit about Sabetha hugging Jean so she can see if he’s carrying the sisters!

    That passage that Drakasha takes the ship through, with the voices (the voices that knew Locke’s real name) was fucking creepy. Anything that knows his real name, I do not want to mess with.

    1. Jean Tannen knows Locke’s real name…. and you are right, I don’t want to mess with him. Not in a ‘punch your lights out’ kind of way, anyway. 😉

      I hope we hear more about the circumstances under which Sabetha was hired and also what the consequences would be if she lost. I think the stakes may be higher than Locke and Jean have had time to consider.

  6. Now you mentioned it, there must be more to Sabetha’s reasoning behind taking this job against the guys. It would certainly make sense.
    I can’t shake the feeling that there is generally more to Sabetha we aren’t privy to, both from her young age and now (yes, she has hang-ups about her hair but I think there might be more).

    1. I expect we will learn more about young Sabetha as we move forward int he book, with the flashbacks. But I am not sure we will learn much more about the present Karthaini Sabetha. She definitely keeps all her cards close to her chest, even from Locke.

  7. Oh, I love some of the things you’ve thought of!

    1. That’s a great theory. I don’t buy the idea that Sabetha wants Locke out of the game because she thinks he’ll kill himself trying to beat her. That just sounds a bit thin to me. Nor do I think that she wants to win so badly she’s just getting rid of the competition. From what I’ve seen of Sabetha I’d say she’d relish the chance to compete.
    I thought there might be political reasons requiring her to win, but your idea makes more sense. Perhaps Sabetha wasn’t that interested in competing, so they used Locke as leverage. Hmm…

    2. The question about the lights also made me think of that ghost passage in Red Seas. What exactly lurks in the waters of this world?

    3. Sabetha checking for the Wicked Sisters – that’s clever. I wonder if she would have taken another course of action if he hadn’t had them.

    4. I hadn’t thought of the year-long sentence as being impractical, but I guess it really is, given how minor the offence is. It does have a narrative purpose though – it sets up a huge obstacle for the Bastards to overcome, brings Boulidazi into the game, offers a chance for Locke and Sabetha to work together. I also like what it shows us about Moncraine’s character. He’s happy to stay in prison to avoid his debtors, and to hell with his acting troupe.

    Other tidbits: I also wondered if Patience helped them out at sea. A storm hits and they’re unexpectedly close to the coast? Too convenient to be random.

    1. Yes, when reading a Scott Lynch novel I have learned to look for 2nd and 3rd motives to everything. And coincidence? Highly bloody unlikely!

      But it looks like our heroes left their brains in the Tal Verar or perhaps the Brass Sea and aren’t considering hidden motives. Sigh….Still, they have had it rough for many, many months.

  8. Interesting thoughts on why Sabetha took the job. I admit I didn’t really pay much attention to her comments in that direction, but I suppose Lynch wouldn’t have included them if they didn’t mean something important.

    That was my thought on Sabetha’s grief as well. She probably was pretty stricken when she got back to Camorr and found everyone gone. She’s had years to come to terms with her own grief for Calo and Galdo, so that’s probably why she might have come across as a bit cold.

    With the handsigns and all, I think it is just as you said– they are not at the top of their game. I’m hoping their unintentional sea cruise gave them a little time to recover a little physically, so they can really start applying themselves against Sabetha now!

    My answers:

  9. 1. Oh, I hadn’t thought of any of that. I must read more closely this week! There were hints of political upheaval somewhere else (damn this kindle edition), so perhaps that is involved somehow.

    3. I was disappointed that they didn’t spot the reverse pick pocketing because I thought that it was really obvious. BTW thanks for the image of their hairy buttocks – I now need to wash my eyeballs! 😀

    4. In British prisons before the Victorian era (I think), the family had to feed and clothe their incarcerated relation – perhaps the system here is similar. So it removes them form their normal work but maintains them as a burden on the family – I believe they also had to bribe the guards to allow them the use of toilets, exercise yards, etc.

    5. Jean putting in the most effort – there’s a shocker!

    7. I agree that Sabetha does bite Locke’s head off, but I can also understand why she was angry that he hasn’t even thought about why she dyes her hair.

    Oh no – Jean IS separated from the Sisters, isn’t he?!???!!!

  10. The play is a little slow for me too but a few others have convinced me that it has it’s purposes so I’m willing, for the moment.

    I never thought about Bondsmage to help out with the wind but that would have been a huge help, and reason, for them staying so close to shore so they could figure out an escape.

    The hand signs, ugh. They should have stopped using them a long time ago but I think Locke and Jean just communicate that way now and don’t even think about it.

    And, yes, Locke will certainly be more thoughtful about where he sticks his tongue now. 🙂

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