The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1)
By Scott Lynch
Publisher: Bantam Spectra
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…
“Why, I can smile, and murder whiles I smile And cry ‘Content’ to that which grieves my heart, And wet my cheeks with artificial tears, And frame my face to all occasions.”
-King Henry VI, Part III
Te amo, mi amor. My heart has been captured. Entering the end of the first month of 2017, I believe I have already found the one. The Lies of Locke Lamora encompasses every element I could hope for each time I crack the spine of a new book. Exuberant, enchanting, and full of confidence, there is really little that could have prepared me for the experience that is The Lies of Locke Lamora.
My attempt to summarize this stunning story may very well result in insult to what is truly a mesmerizing adventure that can only best be understood by the actual experience. But alas, I am making an effort. Locke Lamora is an orphan who has been taken in by Chains, the eyeless priest who happens to be a very talented con artist. Through a careful process of selection, Chains has formed a family of young thieves that he will raise and teach the finest of his skills. They are the Gentleman Bastards.
The Gentleman Bastards have cleverly disguised themselves as a gang of lowly stature denizens who pay their dues consistently to the Capa Barsavi (ruler of the underworld). They never draw unwanted attention and soon under Locke’s rule, grow to pull of one brilliant heist after another, remaining unnoticed. But life as Locke and his Gentleman Bastards know it is about to forever change. There is a new threat who has his eyes set upon Capa Barsavi and his men. The Gray King. Unfortunately for Locke, he will soon find himself part of the Gray King’s plan to thwart Barsavi.
Dissecting Lynch’s debut novel poses several difficult tasks. The first being that I am uncertain as to where I should begin. The character building and world construction are parallel and rival consistently for the true spotlight of what forges into a story of grand proportions.
Locke Lamora is brilliant, cheeky and packing one big set of balls. He is the true definition of go big or go home when it comes to a heist. His wit and charm combined with a bit of arrogance create a character that holds a flair genuinely unique and excitingly unorthodox. He is raw and full of grit. To be honest, he was downright filthy fun!
“I cut off his fingers to get him to talk, and when he’d confessed everything I wanted to hear, I had his fucking tongue cut out, and the stump cauterized.”
Everyone in the room stared at him.
“I called him an asshole, too,” said Locke. “He didn’t like that.”
― “Locke Lamora”, Scott Lynch,
Jean Tannen is Locke’s truest brother. And I have bequeathed my heart to him. Sorry fellas 😉 I never quite understood the concept of a fictional boyfriend until now (okay Jon Snow sort of). Jean is this perfectly portrayed package of fierceness and heart with the loyalty one could only dream of in a friend. Did I mention he happens to wield two hatchets, The Wicked Sisters, that he never fails to put to successful use?! He is often Locke’s saving grace, and I love him even more for this very reason.
“I don’t have to beat you, motherfucker. I just have to keep you here … until Jean shows up.”
― “Locke Lamora”, Scott Lynch,
The Gentleman Bastards are a force to be reckoned with and a fictional family that instantly secured my respect, adoration and great admiration. Every character from the Sanza twins to Bug are filled spirit and resolve.
Lynch fully submerges you deep within Camorr. Each pages breathes life into a setting so rich that is not only home of the Gentleman Bastards, but it becomes yours for the duration of the reading experience. Painted with an exquisite detail that will have you running the streets amok with Locke and his gang, nothing is left for want in terms of world construction. Prepare to lose yourself until the very end. Just remember to come up for air.
“Gods, I love this place,” Locke said, drumming his fingers against his thighs. “Sometimes I think this whole city was put here simply because the gods must adore crime. Pickpockets rob the common folk, merchants rob anyone they can dupe, Capa Barsavi robs the robbers and the common folk, the lesser nobles rob nearly everyone, and Duke Nicovante occasionally runs off with his army and robs the shit out of Tal Verarr or Jerem, not to mention what he does to his own nobles and his common folk.”
― Scott Lynch,
Everything that has been compiled to accumulate into what is The Lies of Locke Lamora has been done so with beautiful precision and impeccable narration. An adventure that flows effortlessly from beginning to end, never-failing to deliver the fullest of expectations in a fantasy read and transcending beyond. If I have mentioned the word heart on more than one occasion, it is because this book is bursting with it. The Lies of Locke Lamora must be read to ever possibly understand its true value. My bookish heart has melted as I laughed and cried my way through every page. Slap a big fat “hell yeah!” on this one a be ready for the next.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐