The Lies of Locke Lamora by

10 February 2008


Author: Scott Lynch
ISBN: 9780575079755
Book 1 of The Gentleman Bastards Sequence
Scott Lynch’s site ; Shards of Delirium ; Ficsation ; The Core Dump ; Speculative Horizons ;

At the height of the long wet summer of the Seventy-Seventh Year of Sendovani, the Thiefmaker of Camorr paid a sudden and unannounced visit to the Eyeless Priest at the Temple of Perelandro, desperately hoping to sell him the Lamora boy.

Locke Lamora doesn’t meet the usual standards of fantasy hero. He is slightly built, doesn’t have much skill with a sword, and then of course there is the fact that he is a thief and a conman. A conman even to the other thieves of Camorr. To them he is a small time gang leader, competent but insignificant. And if they were to learn that he was the real person behind the legendary Thorn of Camorr he’d be in quiet a bit of strife. He, and the other Gentleman Bastards spend their lives hiding who they really are, and the fortune they have amassed through their cons. But trouble is heading their way. Capa Barsavi, leader of the thieves of Camorr, is facing an outside threat. A figure known only as the Grey King is killing off various gang leaders. And pretty soon Locke finds himself trapped in the middle of the conflict.

Before reading this I’d seen it mentioned on quite a few book blogs. For some reason I just never really felt the need to pick it up; but luckily enough it was selected as a read for Fantasy Favorites so I decided to read it. And well worth a read it is too.

Camorr is an alternate sort of Venice, complete with its version of the mafia, in the form of the Right People, headed by the above mentioned Capa Barsavi. And Locke is our anti-hero of sorts. A low-ranking member of the Right People, but with more going on than anyone outside his little circle knows about. He is very well created, fully developed and believable character, as are most of the others. Obviously the minor characters are more hinted at and sketched, but still believable in their motivations.

But if I’m honest I wasn’t really gripped by the book. Not until I was at least half way through. It was original and a good read, but I never found myself having to keep reading it. Maybe I’m just slumping though. Once I got past the halfway part though it did turn into much more of a page-turner. I think that maybe part of the problem is that Camorr has such a history, as does Locke, and the interludes that Lynch used to tell us about the past seemed to intrude a little into the flow of the novel.

In the end there are a lot more positives about this book than there are negatives, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be looking for the sequence at some stage. But don’t worry if you aren’t a series sort of person, this is a stand alone novel. The end is the end of that particular story. There are a few loose ends, but no cliff-hangers here.

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4 Responses

  1. jean pierre says:

    this sounds quite interesting, but its a pity that you didn't find it really gripping. i can totally relate, though. those interludes would've bugged me too.

    i think authors need to be very careful about putting that kind of stuff in, 'cause at the end of the day we want a story that we can be totally immersed in and that kind of thing makes us resurface and can break our engagement with the book. obviously it can work, but its something that distances me from books too…

  2. weenie says:

    I enjoyed the book but like you, I didn't find it particularly gripping due to all that info. But I guess it was necessary to get some historical flavour. A good read though and will read sequel at some point.

  3. Eoin Purcell says:

    I loved it, from cover to cover and the follow up too!

    There are loads more to come and I cannot wait to read them too!

    Weirdly I love the detail.

    I'll agree with your point about how the first book is written, the interludes leave something to be desired but he seems to resolve this in book two somewhat!


  4. Fence says:

    Hey Eoin,

    I'll be picking up the second, whenever I get the chance, and would recommend this. And I did find the interludes interesting, but then I'd find the return to the main story an intrusion. Only one that grew interesting until I was annoyed to be interrupted by a return to the interlude.

    If that makes sense