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My rating: 5 out of 5

My review:

Nikoros came away from the meeting having learned several new words, as well as some novel hyphenations of familiar ones, and a fascinating twist to the art of negotiation that his education had previously neglected

Oh boy, was my review of previous Gentlemen Bastards book Red Seas Under Red Skies an unknown premonition. The mages reappear and what a fun adventure they create for our heroes.

What more fun could there be than to try and fix an election for sport under watchful eyes of mages of Karthain (and with their blessing). Once again the book is really two stories - one happening “now” and the other one during Locke’s childhood - providing more background and insight into characters and their motivations. Politics and theater were never so fun before.

How can you steal an election if everybody cheats and (almost) everything goes? Blackmail, subterfuge, thieving and other skulldaggery. And oh what joy it is to read the banter between Locke & Sabetha and learn about their past in the theatre troupe.

Scott Lynch always seems to strike a great balance between providing enough interesting information and background, while not overwhelming. I didn’t realize how much history he held back in the previous books and it did not even bother me - he doles out history and context as needed and it’s masterfully done.

This might have been my favourite Gentlemen Bastards book yet. Looking forward to the next ones.