The Lies of Locke Lamora

The Lies of Locke Lamora

by Scott Lynch

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553588941
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/26/2007
Series: Gentleman Bastard Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 736
Sales rank: 16,162
Product dimensions: 4.17(w) x 6.85(h) x 1.18(d)
Lexile: 940L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Scott Lynch is the author of The Lies of Locke Lamora, Red Seas Under Red Skies, and The Republic of Thieves. He lives in Wisconsin and frequently visits Massachusetts, the home of his partner, science fiction writer Elizabeth Bear. He moonlights as a volunteer firefighter.

Read an Excerpt

The Lies of Locke Lamora


By Scott Lynch

Random House

Scott Lynch
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0553804677


Chapter One


THE DON SALVARA GAME

1

LOCKE LAMORA'S RULE of thumb was this: a good confidence game took three months to plan, three weeks to rehearse, and three seconds to win or lose the victim's trust forever. This time around, he planned to spend those three seconds getting strangled.

Locke was on his knees, and Calo, standing behind him, had a hemp rope coiled three times around his neck. The rough stuff looked impressive, and it would leave Locke's throat a very credible shade of red. No genuine Camorri assassin old enough to waddle in a straight line would garrote with anything but silk or wire, of course (the better to crease the victim's windpipe). Yet if Don Lorenzo Salvara could tell a fake strangling from the real thing in the blink of an eye at thirty paces, they'd badly misjudged the man they planned to rob and the whole game would be shot anyway.

"Can you see him yet? Or Bug's signal?" Locke hissed his question as lightly as he could, then made a few impressive gurgling sounds.

"No signal. No Don Salvara. Can you breathe?"

"Fine, just fine," Locke whispered, "but shake me some more. That's the convincer."

They were in the dead-end alley beside the old Temple of Fortunate Waters; the temple's prayer waterfalls could be heard gushing somewhere behind the high plaster wall. Lockeclutched once again at the harmless coils of rope circling his neck and spared a glance for the horse staring at him from just a few paces away, laden down with a rich-looking cargo of merchant's packs. The poor dumb animal was Gentled; there was neither curiosity nor fear behind the milk-white shells of its unblinking eyes. It wouldn't have cared even had the strangling been real.

Precious seconds passed; the sun was high and bright in a sky scalded free of clouds, and the grime of the alley clung like wet cement to the legs of Locke's breeches. Nearby, Jean Tannen lay in the same moist muck while Galdo pretended (mostly) to kick his ribs in. He'd been merrily kicking away for at least a minute, just as long as his twin brother had supposedly been strangling Locke.

Don Salvara was supposed to pass the mouth of the alley at any second and, ideally, rush in to rescue Locke and Jean from their "assailants." At this rate, he would end up rescuing them from boredom.

"Gods," Calo whispered, bending his mouth to Locke's ear as though he might be hissing some demand, "where the hell is that damn Salvara? And where's Bug? We can't keep this shit up all day; other people do walk by the mouth of this damned alley!"

"Keep strangling me," Locke whispered. "Just think of twenty thousand full crowns and keep strangling me. I can choke all day if I have to."

2

Everything had gone beautifully that morning in the run-up to the game itself, even allowing for the natural prickliness of a young thief finally allowed a part in his first big score.

"Of course I know where I'm supposed to be when the action starts," Bug whined. "I've spent more time perched up on that temple roof than I did in my mother's gods-damned womb!"

Jean Tannen let his right hand trail in the warm water of the canal while he took another bite of the sour marsh apple held in his left. The forward gunwale of the flat-bottomed barge was a choice spot for relaxation in the watered-wine light of early morning, allowing all sixteen stone of Jean's frame to sprawl comfortably-keg belly, heavy arms, bandy legs, and all. The only other person (and the one doing all of the work) in the empty barge was Bug: a lanky, mop-headed twelve-year-old braced against the steering pole at the stern.

"Your mother was in an understandable hurry to get rid of you, Bug." Jean's voice was soft and even and wildly incongruous. He spoke like a teacher of music or a copier of scrolls. "We're not. So indulge me once more with proof of your penetrating comprehension of our game."

"Dammit," Bug replied, giving the barge another push against the gentle current of the seaward-flowing canal. "You and Locke and Calo and Galdo are down in the alley between Fortunate Waters and the gardens for the Temple of Nara, right? I'm up on the roof of the temple across the way."

"Go on," Jean said around a mouthful of marsh apple. "Where's Don Salvara?"

Other barges, heavily laden with everything from ale casks to bleating cows, were slipping past the two of them on the clay-colored water of the canal. Bug was poling them north along Camorr's main commercial waterway, the Via Camorrazza, toward the Shifting Market, and the city was lurching into life around them.

The leaning gray tenements of water-slick stone were spitting their inhabitants out into the sunlight and the rising summer warmth. The month was Parthis, meaning that the night-sweat of condensation already boiling off the buildings as a soupy mist would be greatly missed by the cloudless white heat of early afternoon.

"He's coming out of the Temple of Fortunate Waters, like he does every Penance Day right around noon. He's got two horses and one man with him, if we're lucky."

"A curious ritual," Jean said. "Why would he do a thing like that?"

"Deathbed promise to his mother." Bug drove his pole down into the canal, struggled against it for a moment, and managed to shove them along once more. "She kept the Vadran religion after she married the old Don Salvara. So he leaves an offering at the Vadran temple once a week and gets home as fast as he can so nobody pays too much attention to him. Dammit, Jean, I already know this shit. Why would I be here if you didn't trust me? And why am I the one who gets to push this stupid barge all the way to the market?"

"Oh, you can stop poling the barge any time you can beat me hand to hand three falls out of five." Jean grinned, showing two rows of crooked brawler's teeth in a face that looked as though someone had set it on an anvil and tried to pound it into a more pleasing shape. "Besides, you're an apprentice in a proud trade, learning under the finest and most demanding masters it has to offer. Getting all the shit-work is excellent for your moral education."

"You haven't given me any bloody moral education."

"Yes. Well, that's probably because Locke and I have been dodging our own for most of our lives now. As for why we're going over the plan again, let me remind you that one good screwup will make the fate of those poor bastards look sunny in comparison to what we'll get."

Jean pointed at one of the city's slop wagons, halted on a canal-side boulevard to receive a long dark stream of night soil from the upper window of a public alehouse. These wagons were crewed by petty criminals whose offenses were too meager to justify continual incarceration in the Palace of Patience. Shackled to their wagons and huddled in the alleged protection of long leather ponchos, they were let out each morning to enjoy what sun they could when they weren't cursing the dubious accuracy with which several thousand Camorri emptied their chamber pots.

"I won't screw it up, Jean." Bug shook his thoughts like an empty coin purse, searching desperately for something to say that would make him sound as calm and assured as he imagined Jean and all the older Gentlemen Bastards always were-but the mouth of most twelve-year-olds far outpaces the mind. "I just won't, I bloody won't, I promise."

"Good lad," Jean said. "Glad to hear it. But just what is it that you won't screw up?"

Bug sighed. "I make the signal when Salvara's on his way out of the Temple of Fortunate Waters. I keep an eye out for anyone else trying to walk past the alley, especially the city watch. If anybody tries it, I jump down from the temple roof with a longsword and cut their bloody heads off where they stand."

"You what?"

"I said I distract them any way I can. You going deaf, Jean?"

A line of tall countinghouses slid past on their left, each displaying lacquered woodwork, silk awnings, marble facades, and other ostentatious touches along the waterfront. There were deep roots of money and power sunk into that row of three- and four-story buildings. Coin-Kisser's Row was the oldest and goldest financial district on the continent. The place was as steeped in influence and elaborate rituals as the glass heights of the Five Towers, in which the duke and the Grand Families sequestered themselves from the city they ruled.

"Move us up against the bank just under the bridges, Bug." Jean gestured vaguely with his apple. "His Nibs will be waiting to come aboard."

Two Elderglass arches bridged the Via Camorrazza right in the middle of Coin-Kisser's Row-a high and narrow catbridge for foot traffic and a lower, wider one for wagons. The seamless brilliance of the alien glass looked like nothing so much as liquid diamond, gently arched by giant hands and left to harden over the canal. On the right bank was the Fauria, a crowded island of multitiered stone apartments and rooftop gardens. Wooden wheels churned white against the stone embankment, drawing canal water up into a network of troughs and viaducts that crisscrossed over the Fauria's streets at every level.

Bug slid the barge over to a rickety quay just beneath the catbridge; from the faint and slender shadow of this arch a man jumped down to the quay, dressed (as Bug and Jean were) in oil-stained leather breeches and a rough cotton shirt. His next nonchalant leap took him into the barge, which barely rocked at his arrival.

"Salutations to you, Master Jean Tannen, and profuse congratulations on the fortuitous timing of your arrival!" said the newcomer.

"Ah, well, felicitations to you in respect of the superlative grace of your entry into our very humble boat, Master Lamora." Jean punctuated this statement by popping the remains of his apple into his mouth, stem and all, and producing a wet crunching noise.

"Creeping shits, man." Locke Lamora stuck out his tongue. "Must you do that? You know the black alchemists make fish poison from the seeds of those damn things."

"Lucky me," said Jean after swallowing the last bit of masticated pulp, "not being a fish."

Locke was a medium man in every respect-medium height, medium build, medium-dark hair cropped short above a face that was neither handsome nor memorable. He looked like a proper Therin, though perhaps a bit less olive and ruddy than Jean or Bug; in another light he might have passed for a very tan Vadran. His bright gray eyes alone had any sense of distinction; he was a man the gods might have shaped deliberately to be overlooked. He settled down against the left-hand gunwale and crossed his legs.

"Hello to you as well, Bug! I knew we could count on you to take pity on your elders and let them rest in the sun while you do the hard work with the pole."

"Jean's a lazy old bastard is what it is," Bug said. "And if I don't pole the barge, he'll knock my teeth out the back of my head."

"Jean is the gentlest soul in Camorr, and you wound him with your accusations," said Locke. "Now he'll be up all night crying."

"I would have been up all night anyway," Jean added, "crying from the ache of rheumatism and lighting candles to ward off evil vapors."

"Which is not to say that our bones don't creak by day, my cruel apprentice." Locke massaged his kneecaps. "We're at least twice your age-which is prodigious for our profession."

"The Daughters of Aza Guilla have tried to perform a corpse-blessing on me six times this week," said Jean. "You're lucky Locke and I are still spry enough to take you with us when we run a game."

To anyone beyond hearing range, Locke and Jean and Bug might have looked like the crew of a for-hire barge, slacking their way toward a cargo pickup at the junction of the Via Camorrazza and the Angevine River. As Bug poled them closer and closer to the Shifting Market, the water was getting thicker with such barges, and with sleek black cockleshell boats, and battered watercraft of every description, not all of them doing a good job of staying afloat or under control.

"Speaking of our game," said Locke, "how is our eager young apprentice's understanding of his place in the scheme of things?"

"I've been reciting it to Jean all morning," said Bug.

"And the conclusion is?"

"I've got it down cold!" Bug heaved at the pole with all of his strength, driving them between a pair of high-walled floating gardens with inches to spare on either side. The scents of jasmine and oranges drifted down over them as their barge slipped beneath the protruding branches of one of the gardens; a wary attendant peeked over one garden-boat's wall, staff in hand to fend them off if necessary. The big barges were probably hauling transplants to some noble's orchard upriver.

"Down cold, and I won't screw it up. I promise! I know my place, and I know the signals. I won't screw it up!"

3

Calo was shaking Locke with real vigor, and Locke's performance as his victim was a virtuoso one, but still the moments dragged by. They were all trapped in their pantomime like figures out of the richly inventive hells of Therin theology: a pair of thieves destined to spend all eternity stuck in an alley, mugging victims that never passed out or gave up their money.

"Are you as alarmed as I am?" Calo whispered.

"Just stay in character," Locke hissed. "You can pray and strangle at the same time."

There was a high-pitched scream from their right, echoing across the cobbles and walls of the Temple District. It was followed by shouts and the creaking tread of men in battle harness-but these sounds moved away from the mouth of the alley, not toward it.

"That sounded like Bug," said Locke.

"I hope he's just arranging a distraction," said Calo, his grip on the rope momentarily slackening. At that instant, a dark shape darted across the gap of sky between the alley's high walls, its fluttering shadow briefly falling over them as it passed.

"Now what the hell was that, then?" Calo asked.

Off to their right, someone screamed again.

4

Bug had poled himself, Locke, and Jean from the Via Camorrazza into the Shifting Market right on schedule, just as the vast Elderglass wind chime atop Westwatch was unlashed to catch the breeze blowing in from the sea and ring out the eleventh hour of the morning.

Continues...


Excerpted from The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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"With a world so vividly realized that it's positively tactile, and characters so richly drawn that they threaten to walk right off the page, this is one of those novels that reaches out and grabs readers." —-Booklist Starred Review

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Lies of Locke Lamora 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 374 reviews.
denverbroncosgirl More than 1 year ago
Okay, I didn't think it could happen, but I found a book comparable to the greatness of "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss. I will have to say, there were parts of the book that moved slowly for me. I felt it was a bit too descriptive in parts. However, it turned out to be one of the best damn stories I've ever read. On the edge of your seat excitement and suspense. Excellent character development and a great plot. Locke Lamora & his comrade Jean Tammen are now some of my favorite characters ever. There were a few things that happened in the story that really pissed me off & I wished wouldn't have happened. But the story & ending were just awesome. Red Seas Under Red Skies, here I come.
Straysod More than 1 year ago
I hate leaving reviews that sound like they were written by the publisher to promote the book, but dang, it is hard not to just enthusiastically spout praise when a book is this freaking good. So I will say that this is an amazing book, spectacularly written, a story deftly weaved, characters to adore, action to make you bite your knuckles, and a plot to keep you guessing continuously, and then I will stop spouting praise. More to the point, these are the kinds of things you can expect from this book. If you don't like them, then you probably won't like the book. -The plot is convoluted, complex and mysterious. You will be kept guessing all the way through. -It can get very dark. This is not a fluffy, happy tale. There is humor (very very well done humor!) but even more striking are the moments that make you weep. -While the POV doesn't shift between characters much, there is some time shift. So if you're not willing to follow more than one story, this is not the book for you. -The action is spectacular, well written and exciting, but not overwhelming. The book is definitely propelled by its plot and characters. Other than that, all I can say it that it is a superb example of the fantasy genre, with a beatiful, realistic, and complex world, endearing, charming characters, and a gorgeously twisted plot.
shimmeringfalls More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It has believable characters in a somewhat grungy and believable setting. Though it starts a bit slow, the pace picks up quickly. The fantasy of the story isn't overwhelming at all. It has just enough of it to be able to call it fantasy without pushing out the gritty plot and remarkable humor the author produced. A fantastic read. Please enjoy it.
ir0nli0nzi0nzbee More than 1 year ago
The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch, is the first installment of what will undoubtedly be a phenomenal series. I have read numerous books, and I am getting to the point of wandering aimlessly down the aisles of B&N seeking (sometimes unsuccessfully) the next great series for me to sink my teeth into. I picked this one up on a whim, and I am so glad that I judged a book by it's cover. The world of Locke Lamora, Camorr, is painted in vivid detail. From the crumbling cities reminiscent of Renaissance Italy, to the strange, glass-like structures left from a previous unknown civilization, the detail and depth is astounding. The adventures and exploits of Locke Lamora and his "Gentleman Bastards" make this novel impossible to put down. Scott Lynch's debut, as well as Red Seas Under Red Skies (the sequel) are some of the best books I have read in a long while. I cannot wait for the next installment. Lynch's writing style is unique, and belongs in the company of other great authors such as Steven Erikson, Glenda Larke, Raymond Feist, and George R. R. Martin (when will Dance of Dragons see the light of day?!) I enourage anyone who is a fan of fantasy to check this out!
ToManyBooksNotEnoughTime More than 1 year ago
Scott Lynch does an admirable job of world-building for this monster of a story, and thankful he managed to do it without sacrificing the characters. Unlike many authors who set their world up before really getting into the story and giving their characters depth, Lynch admirably managed to fairly seamlessly blend all three. Though the story begins with Locke as a youth, it doesn't remain linear for its entire length. Instead we switch between past and present, but not through the more common method of flashbacks. Instead the switch is just that simple, though of course the timing is impeccable, with the shifts in time offering necessary information just when it's most needed. Though there is some action in the beginning, much of it is more focused on world-building and character development, yet it never seems to feel as if it is moving too slowly. By the time the full-on action is introduced you are in too deep to do anything but proceed forward, with caution, trepidation, and a whole heap of excitement. Well deserved excitement I might add. The entire book builds toward the culmination found in the final chapters, and has more twists and turns than an eighty-year-old doorknob in a popular hotel. Of course I think that at least half the excitement from the action is due to how Lynch manages to get you to care for the characters, and become emotionally invested in their physical and mental well-being. One sign of just how well he manages to pull this off is the way you find your sympathies going to Locke and friends rather than the innocent victims of their scams. Again I found that switching between past and present was not only informative - with just the right information at the right time - but also an excellent device to help maintain the suspense and excitement at any given point in the game, or in their lives. Though this book is lengthy it is well worth sticking with it, as Lynch manages to pull off one surprise after another. By the end I found myself relieved to have a break on the characters' behalf, but also ready to see what mischief they will get into next.
theladychaos More than 1 year ago
UNBELIEVABLY good. I am a voracious fantasy reader and have read my fair share of so-so, lets pass the time type novels. NOT this book. I could not put it down. The characters are fantastically dynamic and the plot is intriguing, exciting, and filled hard core action scenes. If you like Abercrombie's hard boiled style, and you like cocky lovable scoundrels, you will LOVE this. Seriously, read this and be entertained like you never have before. I finished it in about three days and instantly bought the next book in the series and am impatiently waiting for the next one.
gurrt More than 1 year ago
After reading the first two of the "Kingkiller Chronicles" I was pretty sure I'd never love another fantasy book or series as much as that one... until I found this. I couldn't put down either this or the sequel with ease. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Thank you for the late nights, and I anticipate the rest of the series with pleasure!
ShellBell93 More than 1 year ago
Scott Lynch has intricately blended an astounding cast of characters, a riveting plotline, and an extremely well developed setting for an astonishingly well written novel. After scouring the fantasy genre for new books to read, I finally stumbled across this series in a second hand book shop. I can honestly attest to the power that this book has over its readers. You truly fall in love with the characters and are held firmly in this books grasp from first page to last. If I could choose one book to read in this genre (and possibly out of any genre) this book would be the one! I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves amazing fantasy literature!
Squirbly More than 1 year ago
I read this book at the same time as two of my friends and all three of us loved it. It keeps you hooked throughout the whole story with its amusing characters and their clever tricks. Even if you are not wanting to read the whole series, I would still recommend this book to you because it stands up well on its own and has a very satisfying ending.
colorsplash7 More than 1 year ago
I happened on this book by way of Patrick Rothfuss's" Kingkiller Chronicles" and I am so glad I did. I was sure that I would not find a book to even compare after reading Rothfuss and wham Bam I was introduced to "the Lies Of Lokle Lamora" and away I flew. The characters are just the best and the plot(S) were fantastic. I absolutely loved this book and I am diving headfirst into his next "Red Seas Under Red Skies" as I write this review. Read it and ENJOY!!!!
JewelDragon More than 1 year ago
The Lies of Locke Lamora made me laugh, cry, smile. The book is engagingly written with endearing characters. Thieves with a swashbuckling style.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! Wish I could give it more stars!! Whole series is spectacular!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It started out a little slow...but boy did it pick up and end with a bang!!  Definitely recommended.  Well written and fun to read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed every chapter of this one.
Pondo More than 1 year ago
Good stuffs...not sure how you could be down on this dialogue-driven juggernaut++
Razor70 More than 1 year ago
Just as my headline says, this book is a great read..but only after you get about half way through does it really pick up and is much more entertaining to read. I'm reading it for a book club (The Sword & Laser) and was a bit afraid that it might not be something I would enjoy. But so far I really have, if you enjoy fantasy, give this book a try you might just like it as much as I do.
Anonymous 5 months ago
This was a good book.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Loved it
reading_fox on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Superb debut novel, not totally without faults, but very worthwhile reading for all fantasy fans. The light fast style is reminiscent of Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn, without the clever magic.Locke Lamora is an orphan and a stray, and also even at less than 6 yrs old a pickpocket, thief and conartist of the highest calibre. When a plague decimates the city he is sheparded into graverobbers gang, but his brilliance quickly gets him into trouble, and he is promoted (sold or passed on) to Chains, high rpiest of the unmentioned thirteenth God - The benefactor of prudent Necessity and patron saint of the Abandonded - in other words conartists heaven. If you put up a begging bowl people will give you money without you even having to pick their pocket. The city of Camorr of course is also full of Nobles and the Secret Peace negotiated between the Capa of the underworld and the nobles maintains sufficiency of lifestyle between them. Locke of course isn't content with sufficieny, but then fortunetly for him The mysterious grey King isn't content with submission to the Capa either, and matter rush to bloodthirssty head.The writing is light, delicately descriptive without being overwhealming. There's lots of action and some detailed fights, but plenty of humour (at least in the early passages) and some opposition that almost seems properly clever. There are also lots of flashbacks through to Locke and Co.'s training. I don't like flashbacks in general, but these were clearly highlighted as new chapters and generally didn't interfere with the main plot too much. However they did foreshadow events a little too obviously - for example one of the gang is apprenticed to the death priests in a flashabck and in the very next chapter uses the death priests as a disguise. Just a bit too clumsy a mechanism for introducing the nature of the city guilds. There are other minor quibbles - a few plot holes where and obvious connection isn't made, or continuity fails slightly, but in general much less than occurs in many novels. The worst is the oft alluded to but no details given of his love interest and then the unresolved issue of Locke's death Offering promised to Chains - why is this never refered to again?Annoyingly one major plot device is left completely unexplained: the city is formed around several 'glass' towers left by preivous non-human civilisation. No other details given, no sense of time, no explanation of who why or where they were or are. Unnecessarily mysterious, especially as there are no other non-humans in the story. The magic system is also unexplained, but as none of themain characters actually do any magic that is perhaps allowable. As a redaer though I have an unresolved curiosity about it.Locke is the star, obviously but as with a lot of fantasy of this type we don't get a great deal of character development for him, other than revenge very little seems to motivate him, His companions are also very one-track, the angry Jean, and the trickster brothers. However it is a short book and it moves very fast, which like any conman's game keeps your attention rivited to what the author chooses to show you. Action, plans and plots. And these are very well done.Great debut - I very much hope the sequel holds the same level of quality and that some of our questons are answered.............................................................................................
briandarvell on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Entertaining story but overall not nearly as good as what reviews would have lead me to believe. The world-building aspect was strong but I found the dialogue overall to be extremely poor.Not sure if I will find myself reading the sequel. Knowing what to expect of this book before reading it I would have passed it up for something else.
DRFP on LibraryThing 11 months ago
"The Lies of Locke Lamora" is a decent enough piece of fantasy writing. Lets give credit to Lynch for attempting something new in the fantasy genre by having his main characters be a group of con-artists, as opposed to the usual knights and wizards.So that's a nice idea... However I don't think Lynch quite manages to convince us the con would really work. I felt the novel worked better when the focus was away from the con side of things. Thankfully that's most of the book.Lynch writes well and this was entertaining but there were some other minor problems. Firstly, the swearing of certain characters seemed a little childish to be honest; almost an attempt to reassure us that this was adult fantasy writing and not for kids! The writing of the Falconer and his bird was a little unsubtle too.Yet I'm a sucker for Venetian settings and so this story had me interested from the start. Lynch doesn't spend too much time on world building, but there are enough details written to make it appealing. Lamora himself I actually found a decent, agreeable character. Certainly he's arrogant but he comes with a vulnerable side too and I found that made him both interesting and sympathetic.So... there's good and bad here. But, at the end of the day, I still went out and bought the sequel ("Red Seas Under Red Skies"). So it must have more good than bad.
veevoxvoom on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Summary: Locke Lamora is a scruffy orphan with a brain for mischief and a gift for lying. Along with his gang, the Gentleman Bastards, he devises a daring plot to steal twenty five thousand crowns from one of the nobles of Camorr. However, another plot is snaking through the city, a plot that may take the entire criminal underworld by storm.Review: I¿d heard a lot of good reviews for this book but I wasn¿t sure I would enjoy it as much as everyone seemed to think I would. The thieves and rogues genre isn¿t one that I normally enjoy. I tend to find overly clever characters insufferable in their arrogance. Yet after finishing the first chapter of The Lies of Locke Lamora, I changed my mind. I do enjoy this because Scott Lynch makes it impossible not to. The man is a golden storyteller. He could probably write a story about accountants and it would still be rollicking, witty, and creative.Thankfully, this is not a story about accountants. It¿s a story of cunning, brotherhood, revenge, and growing up. It¿s dark when it needs to be dark ¿ and it has a high body count, higher than I expected ¿ and it¿s funny when it needs to be funny. Lynch writes with a grim, tongue-in-cheek humour that perfectly suits the kind of people Locke hangs out with.The characters were all compelling, each and every one of them. The interludes to the past were integrated smoothly with the present-day plot, allowing you to get a glimpse of who Locke was without disturbing the adventure of who Locke is. The dashes of creativity and culture fleshed out the world of Camorr. The little mysteries ¿ the mention of Sabetha, Locke¿s real name ¿ were left to whet your appetite for the books to follow.This is a real swashbuckler, the kind I haven¿t read in a long time. It breathes life into the tired thieves and rogues genre, and if this is the future I¿m glad to be clinging on to the ship.Conclusion: Top-notch fun.
bluesalamanders on LibraryThing 11 months ago
The story of a boy who starts out an orphan and becomes a thief, but that's hardly the bare bones of it. There are intricate heists, alternating present and past storylines, fascinatingly intertwining plotlines...The Lies of Locke Lamora was a gift from a friend, for which I'm grateful as I don't think I would have picked it for myself. The writing is excellent, the characterization, pacing, everything. It is dense and took me quite a bit longer than a book this size usually does, but it kept my interest throughout. On the down side, I did find it unpleasantly gory at times, though not out of place in the story, and most of the females who appeared were plot points more than characters.Regardless, The Lies of Locke Lamora is a good read and highly recommended, and I've heard the sequel is even better.
ladycato on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I found this a little slow to get going, but soon enough I was hooked. Lynch doesn't hold back anything; it's telling that George R. R. Martin wrote the cover blurb, as both authors share a certain ruthlessness towards their characters. However, that makes for a very tense, heavily-layered read. Everything is at stake. The twists and turns were fascinating and very well done.In particular, I was surprised at how much I liked Locke. He's a thief on a grand scale, a murderer, and in many ways, not a pleasant fellow. But against a cast of murderers and schemers, Locke is definitely a good guy--not as bad as the rest, and he does have something of a moral compass, even if it's a bit skewed.I'm continuing with the second book next.
bezoar44 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
A gritty, bloody caper set in a fantasy world. Most of the action takes place in Camorr, a Venice-like city built on a slew of islands, overshadowed by five vaulting towers left by a lost and alien civilization. The story moves at a breakneck pace, interrupted by flashback 'interludes' tracing the training of two of the main characters and providing initial introductions to minor characters as they looked or behaved in less turbulent times. The plot is not too complicated -- there are never more than a couple layers of deceit in play at one time -- but the number of factions trying to cross or manipulate one another makes for an unpredictable story. It is also brutally violent; Lynch doesn't hesitate to kill off characters, even important and sympathetic ones. Despite having read great reviews, I had a hard time getting into this book at first. Eventually, I tried reading all the interludes (in order), then going back and reading the main thread; that approach made the book work for me. While the main thread of the plot simply moves too quickly to allow much character development, the story delivers a fine caper, with the main characters doing a great job of improvising when their well-laid plans go awry. The fact that the plans often do go awry, sometimes with devastating results, helps give the book an edge right through to the end.