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The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
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The Lies of Locke Lamora

by Scott Lynch

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Gentleman Bastard Sequence (Book 1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,528275784 (4.24)3 / 501
Recently added byKieriosity, hays1981, rmdmphilosopher, danitoste, kylw, private library, Heather_Brock, RobertPop
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English (267)  French (3)  German (2)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  Italian (1)  English (275)
Showing 1-5 of 267 (next | show all)
Fantasy stories with a young thief as the protagonist are not uncommon. This one is, or at least it stands above the crowd. The world-building is exceptional and a bit different. The setting feels almost like early Renaissance Venice (to me, anyway, because of its powerful rival factions and preponderance of waterborne commerce)-- except with magic (which, thankfully, does not dominate the story) and the presence of mysterious ancient and possibly alien glass towers. But what really puts it above the pack is the interweaving of extremely clever and intricately complex plots in which different groups and characters attempt to outmaneuver, deceive, and exploit one another...that and the antagonists (and even their minions) are not universally stupid. I found both of these refreshing. This isn't just some 'action packed' fantasy adventure. There are lots of unexpected twists.
The tale is told in alternating chapters that show the protagonist, Locke Lamora, as a child, and years later as the leader of a small band of thieves pulling cons on the ultra-rich. This skipping back and forth in time is a bit distracting at first, but it works here by showing how events in Locke's past influence what he's doing later. Once you get used to it, it helps flesh out the character and clarify his motivations.

I'd recommend this one to all fantasy readers.

I picked up this book because it was a recommendation from a bookseller (if you like X, you may also like Y). I borrowed the Kindle edition I read from my local library. Alas, they don't have the second in the series in any edition, and it seems to be no longer in print. The first in the series was good enough to motivate me to check the used bookstores for the second. (The library has the third in paperback.)
( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
Well, as thieves are not my favorite characters, this book was probably never going to make it as a high star for me. Perhaps if I just really loved the character... I love the symmetry of the name Locke Lamora and the way it rolls off the tongue but Locke as a character didn't quite endear himself to me. The story was a good one though with good twists and intrigue. The world building was good too although I didn't see it go anywhere to completion. Supposedly this is the first in five books, but I doubt I will take the time to pick the next book up. However I am glad I finally got to it. ( )
  Kassilem | Oct 1, 2016 |
This was very good once it got going, but didn't suck me in the way most fantasy novels do. ( )
  readlifeaway | Aug 21, 2016 |
Every once in a while, I encounter a main character whose antics and misdeeds I find completely irresistible and whom I quickly come to adore beyond all reason, but whom I would never, ever desire to know in real life. Richard Sharpe, cold-blooded killing machine of the Napoleonic land wars comes to mind. So does Lymond. And so does Locke Lamora. Well, I would love Locke Lamora, but he probably wouldn't love me back.

But how could I not completely fall for Locke Lamora? From the earliest pages of The Lies of Locke Lamora (first in a series called Gentleman Bastard -- again, how can I not love this?), in which he is just a little kid, Locke is set up as the most devious, shifty, troublesome, prideful, thieving, amoral little turd no parent or teacher or citizen of the world would ever, ever want to encounter, and indeed, the "Thiefmaker" whose troupe of trainee-pickpockets Locke tricks his way into joining is at his wits end with the kid and all but ready to pay the guy in charge of the next stage of this world's elaborate criminal training enterprise to take Locke early. Let that sink in for a moment. The guy who gives little kids their first lessons in thievery can't handle Locke because he's too devious and precocious. Because Locke breaks all the rules of being a little kid thief (including picking the pockets of the guards who sold his batch of orphans to the Thiefmaker, thus putting the Thiefmaker's entire operation into jeopardy before the kid is even actually a part of it!).

And that's just the first 30 pages or so. And then Locke grows up! Fortunately, his new father figure, the shifty pseudo-priest, Father Chains*, while an even greater criminal than the Thiefmaker, is a man with a plan, and that plan includes creating the Gentleman Bastards. Locke shall be but one of them. Chains raises him alongside two Weasleyesque twins, the fantastic Sanza brothers, and a big lug with a head for numbers named Jean. The friendship these kids form is true and deep and lovely to behold, both when they're learning to be gentlemen and when they're acting like bastards. Hilarious, hilarious bastards. Like Dorothy Parker and Joss Whedon teamed up for the dialogue bastards. With plotting help from, say, Donald Westlake and Patricia Highsmith and Clifford Irving.

Which is to say, they grow up to be con men, and their central caper in this novel (well, aside from the actual plot of the novel, which I'll get to in a moment) is a wonder to behold: no less than a live action pseudo-medieval** enacting of the famous Nigerian phishing scam -- but Locke and the boys go it one better by also pretending to be what amounts to the FBI, coercing the scam's victims into cooperating with the scam, actually handing over the cash, as part of a supposed sting operation. I mean, delicious!

But where the first half of the novel feels like a Lymond story with a laugh track (and I'm not kidding about the dialogue, you guys. If you don't laugh with complete uncool abandon at this dialogue, you must have gone to Vegas and awakened in a bathtub full of icewater with your sense of humor removed), the second half is more like The Count of Monte Cristo with a pyrotechnics budget. That is because of the plot. Which, oh my goodness, the plot. But you know what? That's all I'm going to say about the plot because you just need to go read the book, my dearlings.

And, O ye readers of GRRM and the like who roll your eyes at the treatment of women in them, rejoice! The Lies of Locke Lamora features a whole bevy of kickass women of astonishing variety and importance. While it's never explicitly claimed that this is an egalitarian society (I speak in terms of gender issues only, here; it's still got all the trappings of feudalism, after all), men and women both can be fighters, thieves, priests, political authorities, scientists (well, okay, alchemists***) gladiators (actually, no, the kind of gladiators we see in this world are only female, and they leap from tiny platform to tiny platform over seawater because their opponents are ferocious mutant sharks that can leap 20 feet out of the water!), maybe even the Godfather (Godmother? Godsister?) of the whole damned underworld.

Be prepared though, when you take up this book, to do a bit of mental heavy lifting, because the chronology of this narrative is as complicated as it could possibly get without also containing time travel. It's quite seamlessly and masterfully done, most of the time, but it's not a straightforward beginning-to-end narrative. A few scenes are replayed from different points of view, and then there is a whole big thread of flashbacks in which elements that are important to the main plot are doled out in the midst of often hilarious stories of the Gentleman Bastards' upbringing, which means that exposition is pretty deftly handled and goes down easy. And pay attention to those bits, because no Chekov's guns go unfired in this story.

And now I'm going to do something I don't usually do, especially since I'm still committed to reading one book at a time this year, and that's to immediately start reading the sequel. Indeed, I have already done so. And it starts off with a real shocker.

Scott Lynch is the MAN.

*And I know what people are probably thinking. Shifty priest. Little boys. Well, stop it. It's not like that. Indeed, there's really no sex or romance at all in this book. And it doesn't need it, because stuff is always happening. Glorious, glorious stuff that is way more interesting to read about than kissing parts.

**Except there are all sorts of hints and elements of the world-building that indicate this is more likely a human colony on an alien planet than a pseudo-medieval standard fantasy past. The island city that is the setting for the novel is built on the ruins of an alien settlement, the basic architectural elements of which still remain in the form of vast, still usable towers and other structures of "Everglass" which is unbreakable, unmeltable, indestructible in every way, and beautiful, and in some way some kind of storer of solar energy, which it gives back after sundown in the form of "Falselight." Oh, and there are three moons. But that's it. Otherwise it could be any other standard Europeanish fantasy world. Well, except for the wolf sharks and the scorpion hawks and stuff.

***If I have a gripe about this book, it's the reliance on the hand-waving invocation of "alchemy" with no further explanation to explain everything from artificial light to how pack animals are kept under control. But it's a slight quibble. I'm over it. ( )
  KateSherrod | Aug 1, 2016 |
After finally dragging myself through GRRM's last two published first drafts, I'd hoped to never read the terms "night soil" or "smallclothes" again. Optimism! What a dumb concept!

Somehow I ended up with a copy of the British version, which changed all the assholes to arseholes. I know some people like to get upset when their precious Londonne-Towne spellings are altered for American barbarism, but it goes both ways, nerds.

But hey, the story was pretty good. When reading books that need maps, I always appreciate a lack of dragons, elves, and deus-ex-machina magic shenanigans. Also, thank you, Scott Lynch, for deigning to include a real ending, unlike certain other fantasy brickmakers. ( )
  xicohtli | Jul 20, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (37 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Scott Lynchprimary authorall editionscalculated
Abercrombie, JoeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dociu, DanielCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martini, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valkonen, TeroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Een fris, origineel en fascinerend verhaal van een opwindend nieuw geluid in het fantasygenre.
Dedication
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.
Quotations
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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Book description
Haiku summary
I'm Locke Lamora,
Gentleman Bastard. Can I
Have your money, please?
(passion4reading)

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:32 -0400)

(see all 4 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 8 descriptions

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