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The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
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The Lies of Locke Lamora (edition 2007)

by Scott Lynch

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,450273794 (4.24)3 / 494
Member:msf59
Title:The Lies of Locke Lamora
Authors:Scott Lynch
Info:Spectra (2007), Mass Market Paperback, 736 pages
Collections:Your library, Audiobooks
Rating:****
Tags:audiobook, fantasy, series

Work details

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

  1. 183
    The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (MyriadBooks, Anonymous user)
  2. 110
    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. 60
    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.
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English (265)  French (3)  German (2)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (273)
Showing 1-5 of 265 (next | show all)
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 |
loved this - exuberant & fun

2016 re-read: This book is excellent at world building, and defines swashbuckling. The story is told in a bitty way, the narrative interspersed with flashbacks to Locke Lamora's childhood, and training by Father Chains. The present say narrative encompasses an elaborate con on Don & Dona Salvara, a plot by the Grey King to overthrow the master of all the Right People, Capa Barsavi, and the mysterious Spider and the Midnighters. It is well thought out, with enough hints of a deeper story arc to come to make you wish for more and more. ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
The Lies of Locke Lamora is a cracking fantasy-adventure story. It has endearingly roguish protagonists, lots of clever (and funny) dialogue and plenty of plot twists and turns, as befitting a story about a bunch of con-men (the Gentlemen Bastards). You never know what's going to happen next: who's going to be caught, who's going to turn up dead, who's going to get away with the loot. This makes it a fantastic page-turner: an excellent example of the art of populist storytelling. It even has a good old-fashioned swordfight (but with a notable and excellent twist) as the vicious revenge rampage reaches Inigo Montoya territory.

It's all incredibly good fun, but what's even more commendable is that it never compromises on substance when flouting all its impressive style. The fantasy elements – the world-building, the strange names and substances and locations – are present but never hinder the smooth running of the plot. Lynch has that knack of slipping all his lore into the dialogue and the descriptions with the same artful dexterity with which one of his Bastards might pickpocket an unfortunate mark. It's a great way to overcome the problems one can often have when first immersing oneself in a fantasy book. Sometimes, readers can struggle to adapt to the new worlds crafted for them; Lynch has created one which does not require a great deal of effort to slip into initially, but nevertheless fleshes out the world throughout the book so that by the end we have quite a detailed knowledge of the land of Camorr without much exertion on the reader's part. As someone who is occasionally daunted by the prospect of immersing oneself in a new fantasy world, I was particularly appreciative of Lynch's considerate approach.

You'll find other fantasy stories with greater depth, which balance their crowd-pleasing plots with strong hints towards a more nuanced exploration of the emotions of revenge, say, or the brotherhood of thieves. But you'll never feel those emotions with the same intensity as you do here. You are charmed by the brotherhood between the Gentlemen Bastards, and you burn with bloodlust as Locke goes about his revenge. The book has a brain, to be sure, but it is its heart which is larger. There's just this feeling you get when you read a great fantasy book that you just don't get from any other type of book, no matter how good it is. I think it's because the genre is ideally suited to appeal both to our adult self (the sophisticated lore, the labyrinthine plotlines, the grey morality) and to our inner child (the magic, the swordfights, the roguish characters). I got the full force of that uniquely exciting feeling when reading The Lies of Locke Lamora, and if you know what I'm talking about then it probably will do the same for you too. ( )
  MikeFutcher | Jun 3, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (37 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Scott Lynchprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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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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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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