Announced as early as 2008, the long, long, long-awaited sequel to The Lies of Locke Lamora (2006) and Red Seas under Red Skies (2007) finally arrives. The story picks up almost immediately after the end of Red Seas. Locke Lamora, professional thief and con artist, has been poisoned (“He was being unknit from the inside; his veins and sinews were coming apart”). He has only a handful of days left, but rescue from certain death comes from a most unexpected source: the Bondsmagi, the powerful sorcerers who haven’t exactly been Locke’s best friends until now. After ridding his body of the poison, they, of all things, offer him a job. They want him to help rig a local election, which doesn’t sound all that tricky, except that someone else is working the other side of the street, and she’s at least as clever and ruthless as Locke: Sabetha Belacoros, Locke’s long-lost love. This rousing adventure expands on themes introduced in the first two books and tells the full history of Locke and Sabetha, whose relationship was tantalizingly sketchy in the first installment. The Bondsmagi, too, are shown here in more detail than ever before, and Lynch has some serious surprises in store for fans of the first two books. It might have taken Lynch a lot longer to publish the book than fans wanted, but it was definitely worth the wait. A landmark publishing event in the sf world.
This review originally appeared in Booklist, October 2013.