We waited quite a while for Scott Lynch's "The Republic of Thieves" ($28, Del Rey), but the wait was definitely worth it.
After being blown away by Lynch's debut novel, "The Lies of Locke Lamora," I was a bit disappointed in the follow-up, "Red Seas Under Red Skies," but the third installment in the tales of Locke Lamora is the equal of the debut.
As the story opens, Locke lies on his deathbed, having been poisoned while his loyal friend Jean Tannen makes ever attempt to save him. Jean has brought a string of physicians and charlatans through the door in a desperate attempt to cure his friend, but they've all delivered the same news -- Locke is going to die.
It's just a matter of days, or possibly even hours, when salvation comes from a very unlikely source -- the Bondsmagi of Karthain. Jean and Locke are visited by Archedama Patience, who tells them she can remove the poison from Locke's body in return for their service. Locke is understandably reluctant considering his past experience with the Bondsmagi, but Jean convinces him he has nothing to lose.