sugoll (sugoll) wrote,
sugoll
sugoll

The Lies of Locke Lamora

The city-state of Camorr has two rulers: the Duke and the Capa. The Duke is the official ruler, but it's to the Capa that the city's criminal fraternity owe allegience. It's to him that the gangs, thieves, cut-throats, etc. pay a tithe on all they steal from the poor and the moderately-wealthy merchant classes - but not from the city's nobles or the city watch. Stealing from them is strictly forbidden. Stealing on them would break the Secret Peace agreed between the Duke and the Capa. That would upset the Capa. And no-one is willing to risk that.

No-one, that is, except Locke Lamora and his tiny band of pick-pockets, false-facers, burglars, con-artists and all-round devil-may-care Gentlemen Bastards. Unbeknownst to the rest of the city underworld, they are the semi-mythical Thorn of Camorr, bilking the cream of society out of their fortunes, and they've just initiated their biggest con yet - just as the mysterious Grey King makes a bid for the Capa's power, and throws the whole thing into chaos...

Scott Lynch's Gentlemen Bastards gang are a beautiful creation. This is basically a caper movie (which explains all the Modesty Blaise dreams I've been getting) set in a fantasy version of the Venice of the Medicis. The fantasy's dialled down to background levels at first: we're in a different world, with different names for the city and some Ancient Engineering Projects(OMT) scattered about, but that's it. Lynch turns the dial up gently as the story progresses, drawing you in with alternating streams of the present and the past, the latter explaining how Locke came to be in the GBs as an orphan, and how he met Jean Tannen, Chains and the other members of the group. And dropping not a few hints for future volumes.

There are some nice touches: The GBs are vocational thieves - they're not in it for the money, having nothing they're really interested in doing with it, except funding their next caper; and Locke himself, as the leader of the GBs, is useless in a fight. And there are some nice red herrings set up which fool the reader (well, this one, anyway) before the novel suddenly kicks off in an unexpected direction.

Marvellous.
Tags: books
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