Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Lies of Locke Lamora

by Scott Lynch
499 pgs

The Lies of Locke Lamora is Scott Lynch's debut novel that begins his Gentlemen Bastards series, which will eventually include seven novels along with some possible novellas. The more books the better as far as I'm concerned. The next two books in the series Red Seas Under Red Skies and The Republic of Thieves are out, and just like I'm doing with George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, I'll be trying to pace myself in reading the books as slowly as I can, waiting for him to finish writing the rest of them. 

The central character is Locke Lamora, a quick-witted criminal who grows up an orphan on the streets of Camorr, a medieval Venice-like fantasy city. Locke's life as a thief begins under the tutelage of the Thiefmaker, a Faginesque character who takes Locke under his wing when he is very young and teaches him the art of distraction and misdirection while other young boys relieve their targets of their valuables. The Thiefmaker soon realizes that Locke's abilities and mind for grander-scaled operations are too much for him and he sells Locke to Chains, the leader of the Gentlemen Bastards. Chains recognizes Locke's potential and begins teaching him the skills he'll need to pull off the types of cons and heists that take months of planning and engineering to pull off and which result in much more significant hauls.

When Chains dies, Locke becomes the leader of the Gentlemen Bastards and becomes known as the Thorn of Camorr, an infamous criminal and master of disguise who preys on the wealthy and the entitled of the city.

This was a very enjoyable book and a promising start to a series that has the potential to become a favorite of mine. Lynch has built an intricate and highly-engaging world and placed in it his central characters, a group of likable thieves who try to pull off an Ocean's Eleven type heist. There are elements of fantasy in Lynch's world, but to describe the book as a fantasy book doesn't really feel accurate. With elements of adventure and crime fiction, it's a genre-bending story that readers of a wide variety of different genres will enjoy.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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