Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

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Upon finishing The Lies of Locke Lamora, I immediately stood, stretched and grinned wildly at the novel wishing I could give Scott Lynch a solid and well deserved fist bump. The man got it right.  All of the things that made me fall in love with fantasy were contained within The Lies of Locke Lamora and to feel that joy and wonder and depth again was a blessing indeed.


Locke Lamora is an orphan and a thief from birth with a gift for getting himself into trouble in the most fantastic manner possible.  He’s cunning, dashing and above all incorrigible….the very image of a rogue in the making.  Within a short period of time, Locke finds that he’s become too great of a liability for his master and is sold (narrowly avoiding death) into the city of Camorr’s most exclusive gang. Enter, the Gentleman Bastards, a handpicked group of highly trained con-men who are as talented as they are endearing. Calo and Galdo Sansa, the rakish twins with a love for gambling and eyes for women.  Jean Tannen, the orphaned son of wealthy merchants with a mind for numbers, a demon’s temper and a possibly god-given talent for violence.  And later in the series, Bertilion “Bug” Gadek, the young apprentice of the Gentleman Bastards who wishes nothing more than to be recogized as a full fledged Bastard by his brothers.  The Bastards are led by the eccentric Father Chains, a nearly lifelong con artist who has perfected his craft secretly and wishes nothing more than to train a cadre of thieves to carry on his legacy to the future and beyond.

The training that Locke and his brothers recieve over the coming years is as strenuous as it is diverse.  Their education is one of deception and misdirection, of disguise and deceipt and they use these tools to wreak havoc among the nobility of Camorr, stealing from them shamelessly and ensuring that the nobles own prideful silence at being taken in a confidence game would keep the Bastards from being known, much less caught.  Locke becomes the Thorn of Camorr, a shadowy thief of nearly mythical proportions whispered about in backrooms, feared by the nobility and hunted by the Spider, faceless commander of the Duke’s secret police.  All of Camorr must beware the Thorn, even the criminal underworld’s feared ruler, Capa Barsavi, who is Locke’s very own garrista/boss!

Ultimately, The Lies of Locke Lamora is a story of the bonds of love and loyalty forged between friends, the torture and pain of innocence lost and the lengths to which people will go to find vengeance as well as justice.  Along the way, we’re treated to the witty banter and good natured ribbing of the Gentleman Bastards and it’s oh so hard to not fall in love with their roguish charms.
The novel is a fast paced, easy read which seldom if ever becomes stale and is the perfect pace from beginning to end.  It is the first in what is to be a trilogy by Scott Lynch however it could easily be read as a stand alone novel since it has a very gratifying and definite conclusion. There are certainly plenty of open storylines for future novels however all the major plot developments are neatly and pleasantly tied up by novels end making for a very, Very satisfying conclusion.

I would recommend this highly to any fan of the fantasy genre or of high adventure.  5 out of 5 Stars!

I’ll leave you with this:

“I only steal because my dear old family needs the money to live!”

Locke Lamora made this proclamation with his wine glass held high; he and the other Gentleman Bastards were seated at the old witchwood table. . . . The others began to jeer.

“Liar!” they chorused.

 “I only steal because this wicked world won’t let me work an honest trade!” Calo cried, hoisting his own glass.

“LIAR!”

“I only steal,” said Jean, “because I’ve temporarily fallen in with bad company.”

“LIAR!”

At last the ritual came to Bug; the boy raised his glass a bit shakily and yelled, “I only steal because it’s heaps of fucking fun!”

“BASTARD!”

*Grins* Come on. You gotta love it.

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