The loveable rogue. The irrepressible scoundrel. The rapscallion who defies the odds and beats the system. The stories we love are full of characters like that – characters like Robin Hood, Han Solo, and Captain Jack Sparrow. Now, thanks to Scott Lynch, we can add another name to the list: Locke Lamora.
The Lies of Locke Lamora, the first book of the Gentleman Bastards trilogy, follows the rascal, Locke, and his cohorts on one of their brilliantly devised cons. The plot twists and turns in unexpected ways that keep you turning the pages, but never leave you feeling dizzy. The igneous con-job is only the beginning of the dazzling and beautiful complexity of this book, however. Interspersed throughout the narrative of the Gentleman Bastards’ current con is Lamora’s backstory. Rather than an interruption of the story, the vignettes of Locke’s youth help us to understand and appreciate why he is like he is and how the world, in which the Gentleman Bastards live, functions.
Speaking of that world…
What really adds substance to the riveting story is the intricately developed universe in which the story takes place. On the surface, the setting seems to be a typical fantasy locale with swords and magic. They live in Camorr, a port city of canals with sailing ships in the harbor and gondolas like the ones you would find in Venice. Soon, though, you begin to encounter the skyscraper tall, yet fairy-like structures made by the ancients from a substance called elderglass. You don’t learn a lot about these ancients, the Eldren, and their building materials in the first book, but Lynch uses this complex tapestry to add weight and depth to the story.
Lynch also does an excellent job with the characterizations. Before too long, you find yourself invested in Locke, Jean, and the other Gentlemen Bastards. You find yourself hating the bad guys, too. These are not mere hollow outlines of evil, either. They are as fully developed as the protagonists, which makes it all the more fun to root against them and for Locke. So if the lovable rogue appeals to you, or if you like movies such as The Sting and Ocean’s Eleven, or even if you just like a well-told tale, then The Lies of Locke Lamora will not leave you feeling ripped off.
Note: I want to thank my co-worker, Tony, for telling me about this book!