The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch has mystery, murder and intrigue which I like in a good book. So I thought I would give this book a try. It is the first in The Gentlemen Bastards series and is definitely a book that will get you hooked and reading the books that follow.
Based in a unique world that has similarities to Venice is the city of Camorr where thieves live in their area, the rich live in their area and an agreement is in place among them. Elderglass towers and ancient relics of an old world are part of the new and a Duke’s army as well as the fabled Spider with the Midnighters enforce justice and peace in the city. The descriptions are amazing and Scott conjures up pictures in our minds of light and dark places, scary events such as criminals fighting sea creatures, and pretty places such as gardens of glass roses. His writing style, descriptions and creation of atmosphere and emotion in the story really hook us in as even though a fantasy world we are there as part of the action.
The story follows Locke Lamora, aka Thorn of Camorr, who is a master in ideas and scheming when it comes to leading his band of friends to steal from the rich. He isn’t Robin Hood though as they keep the riches! What I liked about this story is that we follow him and his friends in the present but there are also flashbacks to how they became who they are and grew to be really good at what they do. Chains, a con artist priest took in Locke and other troubled orphans from the Thiefmaker and taught them how to steal, the rules on this including paying the Capa who rules the underworld, and gives them an education as well as being their father figure. He also teaches them life skills such as cooking. Chains gives them a chance in the world and The Gentlemen Bastards as they are known become a strong team. He also teaches them that each have skills they are better at than others, helps them enhance these and how each can draw on their strengths to help the team. For example, Locke is rubbish at fighting while Jean is much better. But for me it shows that not all heros or main characters of books need to be great at everything. Of course stealing from the rich on a long con isn’t allowed but they break the rules, cover themselves cleverly by showing that they are small time rubbish thieves and no threat. Jean Bug, Calo, Galdo and Locke make up this group and they are not only a team but a family too.
The story follows the group on a long con to con a couple out of their riches. But The Grey King is looming and determined to make life difficult for the Capa by killing off his stronger thief crews. The Grey King knows who Locke is and what they do and uses this to set a trap and take control over the Capa’s empire. His Bondsmage adds a bit of magic to the story and also a lot of danger and malice. Locke and his friends are in a lot of danger and we follow them, all the time wondering how the story will develop and if they will live or die in the end.
Overall the story is brilliant, and a real adventure. It is definitely one of danger, murder, intrigue and ruthlessness. But it is also one of friendship, kindness, courage and bravery. Locke and his friends are strong and determined people but it is sad that they have amassed a huge fortune and don’t know what to do with it. However it shows that they are not driven by money and con people for the enjoyment of it. As much as Locke and Jean are a duo, Jean is my favourite character as he has great fighting skills and his ‘wicked sisters’ axes are brilliant. The fight scene with the twins is bloody but captivating. Even though it is emotional in places I loved how Locke and Jean kept going too. There are so many twists and turns in this story too.
If you like adventure, action and imagining being part of the story, this book is for you. I definitely recommend reading this book and even though I was sad it ended I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.