Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting. Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld's most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful---and more ambitious---than Locke has yet imagined. Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi's most trusted men---and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr's underworld.
With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game---or die trying.
©2008 Scott Lynch; (P)2009 Tantor
"With a world so vividly realized that it's positively tactile, and characters so richly drawn that they threaten to walk right off the page, this is one of those novels that reaches out and grabs readers." (Booklist)
Lynch is one of the best new fantasy authors and world-crafters in the business. His characters and descriptions are excellent, and the story is intriguing. Over the years I've been recommending this book (I first read it in paperback, and picked up the audiobook to loose myself in the story again) I've tried to come up with a decent description of it. I've come up with several that work, but none that do it justice. The Lies of Locke Lamora is a brilliant fantasy crime novel, set in something of an approximation of Venice, in the era/time usually associated with high fantasy. This isn't traditional high fantasy though. It will appeal to high fantasy lovers, but also to people who have never read fantasy in their lives. It is, in short, stupendous.
The reader, it should be noted, is also excellent. His voices are spot on, and his accents really add colour to the story.
A few warnings though:
It does have a healthy amount of profanity - this is a novel about crime meant for adults. This should be expected.
It's relatively violent. Again, see above.
Here's the big warning: you will learn to care about these characters and want to know what happens next. The Gentleman Bastard series is addictive. Lynch has published two of the planned seven books, and the third one is extensively delayed. So if a long wait is going to drive you mad, it might be best not to start this stupendous series.
If you follow my reviews, you know that I occasionally spend my Audible credits on audiobooks that I would not normally acquire, ones that I would normally NOT like nor want. Sometimes, it's a loss. Other times, I'm rewarded with a tremendous win - A fantastically rich and rewarding listening experience that I'll not forget for a long time, and will listen to again over the years.
And this audiobook?
A HUGE win. A seriously huge win.
It's hard to put in words the depth, strengths, story, pacing and more that Scott Lynch has woven into this literary work, but I can provide an overview.
Imagine an advanced alien race that mysteriously evacuates a planet, leaving behind vast crystal cities, with high-rising spires that light the night, with twisting alleyways and streets below, dark and forbidding, ripe for exploring mankind to occupy. Now, set the stage with a vast sprawling city that is an astounding blend of of Venice, Paris and Tuscany, with almost no technology, rife with machiavellian intrigue, and plans within plans. Finally, center the story around Locke Lamora, a young orphan sold into a thieve's caste, on his way to becoming the city's greatest and most notorious gentleman thief on an grand scale.
Also, kudos to the narrator on this work. Michael Page is definitely up to the task, with so many characters to whom he gives unique voicing, inflection and life, and keeps up with the author's pacing. VERY well done, Michael.
And this is only book ONE in the series. Yes, I've read the sequel, and it's just as good as this first book/audiobook, if not better. And YES, expect a review soon!
I have countless audiobooks from Audible and other vendors, and this is easily one of my very favorite listens, vastly entertaining, captivating, descriptive, intriguing and a page-turner, to say the very least. Note all five stars in my rating - I don't give that out very often. So, get this audiobook. You'll discover well-defined storylines that will intrigue you hour after hour in this rich and rewarding fantasy listen you should not miss.
And to think I almost did.
I LOVE rolling the dice here at Audible. LOVE it.
I really enjoyed the Lies of Locke Lamora (and book 2 as well.) Scott Lynch's story about Locke Lamora and his rise within the Gentlemen Bastards has very dark moments all along the way, but there is always humor to keep you entertained. You never really know if Locke is one step ahead of everyone, or one step behind, but he has his own code of honor that makes you root for him as he goes from the frying pan into the fire.
Michael Page does an excellent job on the narration and really brings the world and the characters to life. A dark comedy well worth the listen!
Tell us about yourself!
I've been an audio book junkie for a while now and this is the first one that was so superbly narrated that I felt reading it for myself would have been an injustice. But the narration is just the tip of the iceberg-this story sweeps you away with humor and adventure and I was hooked from ten minutes in. I found myself putting in my ear buds even before I had walked out of work to escape back into Locke's world. I really cant remember being this entertained by such lovable characters in a long, long time.
I read this book as did my husband and son. But I actually enjoyed the audio book more! The reader is excellent and his accent sets the proper mood of the book.
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike.
A third of the way through this book I thought I was listening to a very well written caper story. Crafty con-man, always equal to the challenge, always one step ahead. It was fun, very well crafted, and predictable. Then the bottom fell out gloriously and Locke's world became much more complex, dark and dangerous. And infinitely more interesting!
One warning to add to those offered by other reviewers. I have always thought that one of the hallmarks of a great fantasy writer is the resolute willingness to kill off beloved characters in ways which force us to tread lightly and honestly in the worlds they create. Scott Lynch is a great fantasy writer!
I was once asked what I thought the greatest American fairytale was and I had to say Puzo's, 'The Godfather.' The venerated Don, honor among thieves, all of it is a fiction, but great fiction. It plays to the same chord as King Arthur, nobility of spirit. Scott Lynch captures the same spirit in 'The Lies of Locke Lamora." He creates an honorable underworld, where the hero thieves steal only from the undeserving rich (though they decide who and who isn't 'undeserving', in the same means knights decide who is 'good' and who isn't) It is a great pace that never slows down. It did take me a moment to get use to listening to the flashbacks that come between chapters.
Michael Page does a great read, being able to separate each character's unique personality, and there are several. But he also keeps the narrator's voice apart from the characters which is important in this book.
One last thing is to be aware of the harsh language and brutality of the book. The characters are in no way angels and Lynch captures it through word and action. It doesn't deter from the book, actually helps make it more authentic to the 'honorable thief' genre.
Good writing has ... a balance and a rhythm. You can feel that much better when it's read aloud. --Laura Hillenbrand, author of Unbroken
Posted under "The Lies of Locke Lamora" and "Red Seas Under Red Skies" (Books 1 and 2 of "Gentleman Bastards").
There are so many good and accurate reviews of both these books, I hesitate to add my 2 cents, but am so enthusiastic about them--and about the imminent release (Fall 2013) of the third book in the series, "A Republic of Thieves"--that I decided to pony up.
The writing is exquisite. It requires concentration. Scott Lynch moves masterfully between characters and time frames. The con games the protagonists play are complicated but ultimately, weirdly believable. There are scenes of surpassing beauty and events of excruciating brutality. These are not books to lull yourself to sleep with (unless you want some real nightmare images floating around your brain).
The narration by Michael Page is first-class. I've listened to a couple of other books he's narrated and always thought he was good, but for these books, he really stepped it up. Writing this good deserves time and thought in the interpretation, and Page delivers. A match made in audio heaven.
"Lies" should be read before "Red Seas," but each is complete and satisfying in itself. This is a good thing, because there have been 5 years between "Red Seas" and the forthcoming volume. Lynch's website lists a proposed 7-volume arc for this series, and he's apparently filling in with some novellas (the first of which are scheduled for publication in winter 2014). I wish Scott Lynch the best. I look forward to a long stretch of enjoying his books, especially if he can maintain the incredibly high writing and plotting standards of the first two.
I have never laughed out loud to an audio book as many times as I did for this one. It was an excellent story and had a great narrator. I plan on downloading the next book in the series as soon as it becomes available.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Scott Lynch has created a unique and fascinating world full of wonderful creations such as a crime boss who rules his empire from a houseboat, his little daughter who sits on his lap drinking ale and kicking subordinates with her steel-toed boots, a blind priest who begs for alms and eats gourmet meals off fine plates in his luxurious cellar, noblemen who live in glowing glass towers, a blood-sucking rose garden, alcoholic oranges, and women who fight jumping man-eating sharks for sport. This is truly entertaining stuff!
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