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The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

The Lies of Locke Lamora

by Scott Lynch

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Gentleman Bastard Sequence (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,123None1,216 (4.27)3 / 391
2007 (16) adventure (57) con artists (30) con men (23) crime (37) ebook (48) epic fantasy (29) fantasy (1,044) fiction (304) Gentleman Bastard (22) Gentleman Bastards (87) hardcover (22) Kindle (36) Locke Lamora (24) magic (19) novel (37) own (18) read (63) read in 2007 (17) science fiction (34) series (60) sf (23) sff (45) signed (33) speculative fiction (23) The Gentleman Bastard Sequence (19) thieves (125) to-read (219) unread (46) urban fantasy (25)
  1. 123
    The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (MyriadBooks, Anonymous user)
  2. 60
    Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (fyrefly98, souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Although the authors have different writing styles, both are epic fantasy books with a caper/heist/team of thieves at their centre
  3. 40
    The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks (simon211175)
  4. 40
    The Swords of Lankhmar by Fritz Leiber (Rouge2507)
    Rouge2507: I'm convinced that "Fafhrd and Grey Mouser" books from Fritz Leiber are one of Lynch's sources of inspiration for Locke Lamora.
  5. 40
    Jhereg by Steven Brust (thegryph)
  6. 30
    Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding (majkia)
    majkia: outsiders, thieves, heists, pirates
  7. 31
    Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman by E. W. Hornung (majkia)
    majkia: Although completely different settings, still the same lighthearted thievery going on.
  8. 10
    The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells (F_Urquhart)
  9. 10
    Melusine by Sarah Monette (Poodlerat)
  10. 10
    Beyond the Shadows by Brent Weeks (mbdyer)
    mbdyer: Urban heroic fantasy with a touch of caper novel.
  11. 21
    Sabriel by Garth Nix (MinaKelly)
  12. 10
    Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick (Melfice)
    Melfice: Each of these books delve into a world of thieves
  13. 00
    The Crown Conspiracy by Michael J. Sullivan (2seven)
  14. 11
    Heroes Die by Matthew Woodring Stover (nsblumenfeld)
  15. 00
    The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron (SockMonkeyGirl)
  16. 01
    The Legend of Nightfall by Mickey Zucker Reichert (wisemetis)
  17. 04
    Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein (enrique_molinero)
  18. 311
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (MinaKelly)

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English (198)  French (3)  German (2)  Italian (2)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (207)
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ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

I picked up Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora with high hopes because I've really got a thing for stories about confidence men. I don't know why. I guess that's something to philosophize about another time...

I did like Locke Lamora. Lynch has created a unique and fascinating world full of wonderful creations such as a crime boss who rules his empire from a houseboat, his little daughter who sits on his lap drinking ale and kicking subordinates with her steel-toed boots, a blind priest who begs for alms and eats gourmet meals off fine plates in his luxurious cellar, noblemen who live in glowing glass towers, a blood-sucking rose garden, alcoholic oranges, and women who fight jumping man-eating sharks for sport. This is truly entertaining stuff!

The pace of the novel was quick and the plot was simple, but interesting. Flashback interludes often broke up the action, which was occasionally irritating. At first I wondered if the editor had dropped the manuscript and not got it put back together in order, but I soon realized that these flashbacks serve to give us information about the world without major info-dumps, and backstory on the characters without having to watch them grow up. The pace escalated during the last 100 pages or so, and I couldn't put it down.

Scott Lynch generally writes very well, but I do have three minor complaints in that regard. First is that the first half of the book is slightly over-written. The dialogue is too witty and clever. The smartest and best-educated people you know would have felt dull-witted while conversing with Locke and his gang of thieves. The narrator, also, tries a bit too hard to impress, and this makes for some slightly awkward prose. But the writing was toned down in the latter half of the book as the action picked up and things got more serious. I expect, now that Mr Lynch has proved himself, his writing style will become more natural, and better for it.

Second is the profanity. While I don't mind reading profanity in a fantasy novel (especially one whose main characters are the dregs of society), if it is overused, it loses its potency. I once remarked to one of my grad school professors that he needed to coin some new curse words because he cursed so much that it was impossible for his students to know when he was really mad. Likewise, Locke and his friends curse so often for no apparent reason that, by the end of the novel, when those words would have been most meaningful and appropriate, they lose all effect and the climactic scenes lose a bit of poignancy. I don't doubt that Locke and his friends would curse as much as Mr Lynch portrays but, since we can't actually hear inflections and tones of voice, Mr Lynch would do better technique-wise to make those words count by using them to give us clues about a character's state-of-mind.

Third, there are 499 pages in my hardback edition, and I think the word "alchemical" was used 499 times in this story. If you've got some friends who want to read The Lies of Locke Lamora with you, I suggest getting together with a bottle of your favorite liquor, appointing a designated reader (and driver), and every time he or she reads the word "alchemical"....

But these are minor complaints -- enough to keep this from being a 5-star book, but not enough to keep me from greatly enjoying it. I'm looking forward to the next installment. If there's anything I like nearly as much as stories about confidence men, it's stories about pirates, so the two combined should be just my thing. And I really look forward to exploring more of Scott Lynch's world.
Read more Scott Lynch book reviews at Fantasy literature. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
Really liked how the protagonist does not have magical powers - he is just an ordinary guy who is extremely clever. He loses - frequently, which humanizes him and makes him relatable. ( )
  wluce12 | Mar 19, 2014 |
This book was incredibly entertaining. I laughed a lot, I cried a little and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. ( )
  Mistress_Bedlam | Mar 6, 2014 |
omg, this book is dense. I'm on page 64 after an embarrassingly long time. Exquisite language, but not a fast read at all.

More review whenever I finally finish it.


Okay, finally done. This book took forever (multiple weeks) to get through because the language is beautiful and stylized into a uniquely formal (and yet vulgar) dialect. It's perfect for the world Lynch has built for this 'verse.

I particularly love that this is a standalone novel, but there is plenty of room for Lynch to further explore the characters.

It is extremely violent and fairly gory. I've got a pretty high tolerance for that (in books, at least), and it was all in character for the place.

One thing bothered the hell out of me throughout. Lynch goes to some lengths to tell us that women have a fair amount of power within this mostly-patriarchal world. Then he kills off all the women with any personality. Also, the hero's supposed female love interest never gets any screentime at all. She's a name...and an excuse for why he can't get it up in a brothel.

The strange thing is that when he writes women in-scene, they're well-voiced and interesting. His failure (as with the majority of male writers) is in not giving them near enough to do.

Fans of homoerotic subtext will find it in copious amounts throughout. Locke/Jean is all but canon...which nearly makes up for my feminist ire that the girl of Locke's dreams never shows up.

The plot strains my suspended disbelief toward the end, but not as badly as a typical Hollywood action movie. I can handwave it away because the momentum of the larger adventure plot sustains it. I might have wished for a few more sentences at the very end, but then again, I might not.

Overall: an excellent first novel; wonderful language and world-building; a good, satisfying adventure. If Lynch can learn how to better make use of his female and supporting characters, he could be an amazing writer. ( )
  sageness | Feb 7, 2014 |
The book that made me believe in fantasy as a genre again!
Superlatives worthy of this book hasn't been invented yet. ( )
  Schedim | Jan 31, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Scott Lynchprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Valkonen, TeroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Een fris, origineel en fascinerend verhaal van een opwindend nieuw geluid in het fantasygenre.
For Jenny, this little world that was blessed
to have you peeking over my shoulder
while it took shape--
Love Always.
First words
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.
We don't believe in hard work when a false face and a good line of bullshit can do so much more.
Locke is our brother and our love for him knows no bounds. But the four most fatal words in the Therin language are 'Locke would appreciate it.'
Rivaled only by 'Locke taught me a new trick'.
Catbridges were another legacy of the Eldren who’d ruled before the coming of men: narrow glass arches no wider than an ordinary man’s hips, arranged in pairs over most of Camorr’s canals and at several places along the Angevine River. Although they looked smooth, their glimmering surfaces were as rough as shark’s-hide leather; for those with a reasonable measure of agility and confidence, they provided the only convenient means of crossing water at many points. Traffic was always one-directional over each catbridge; ducal decree clearly stated that anyone going the wrong direction could be shoved off by those with the right-of-way.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 055358894X, Mass Market Paperback)

In this stunning debut, author Scott Lynch delivers the wonderfully thrilling tale of an audacious criminal and his band of confidence tricksters. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part Robin Hood, one part Ocean’s Eleven, and entirely enthralling.…

An orphan’s life is harsh–and often short–in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains–a man who is neither blind nor a priest. A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected “family” of orphans–a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.

Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld’s most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful–and more ambitious–than Locke has yet imagined.

Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi’s most trusted men–and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr’s underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game–or die trying.…

From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:54 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Vowing to bring down the crime boss running the city, a group of Gentlemen Bastards, led by Locke Lamora, sets out to beat the Capa at his own game, taking on other thieves, murderers, beggars, prostitutes, and thugs in the process.

» see all 6 descriptions

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