Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Lies Of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

All Locke remembers is the street.  First he was part of a ragtag group of kids who were street urchins, pickpockets and thieves for the Thieftaker.  When he proved too intractable for the Thieftaker to handle, he was sold to Father Chains, also known as The Eyeless Father.  By day, Chains sat in front of his temple, chained and begging.  But as soon as night fell, he threw off his chains and eye bandages and showed his true colors, as the leader of a group of misfits known as The Gentlemen Bastards.  Chains raised this group of boys to be smart thieves, fearless in guile and fighting.  There are the twins, Locke and Jean.  They were taught to be thieves, yes, but they were also given an education and taught languages, how to cook and appreciate fine things and how to appear as gentlemen.  Most of all they were taught to be brothers forever, to look out for each other first and always.

Fast forward a decade or so.  Locke is now grown and the head of the group.  He is not the biggest, in fact he is fairly scrawny.  But he is brilliant and fearless.  Jean has grown to be the most feared warrior of the group, unbeatable in battle.  The twins are inseparable and loyal.  A fifth Bastard has been added.  Bug is the group's newest apprentice, learning everything he can about how to steal and prosper.

Locke is involved in a massive scam.  He is posing as a gentleman and scamming one of Camorr's finest noble families out of their fortune.   In the midst of this, he gets caught up in a battle royale between the current head of the city's underground society and a newcomer determined to take control.  Both expect Locke's loyalty and help.  Then there is the small matter of the head of the city's justice having Locke square in her sights as well.  Can Locke and the Gentlemen Bastards maneuver between all these enemies to gain their fortune and live another day?

This is one of the best books I've read in the fantasy genre.  Whenever I think about the fact that this is a debut novel, it is almost unbelievable.  Lynch has created a wonderful world, reminiscent of old Renaissance crime-ridden cities mixed with Dickensian-like characters and intricate plotting.  The reader cannot help but love Locke and the other Gentlemen Bastards, even though they are not of the side or truth and light.  Under their criminal veneer, their basic goodness and unending loyalty to each other is intriguing.  This is the first in a trilogy of adventures, and readers will close the last page ready to buy and read the next.  This book is recommended for readers of fantasy.

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