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Publisher's Summary

In his highly acclaimed debut, The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch took us on an adrenaline-fueled adventure with a band of daring thieves led by con artist extraordinaire Locke Lamora. Now, Lynch brings back his outrageous hero for a caper so death-defying, nothing short of a miracle will pull it off.

After a brutal battle with the underworld that nearly destroyed him, Locke and his trusted sidekick, Jean, fled the island city of their birth and landed on the exotic shores of Tal Verrar to nurse their wounds. But even at this westernmost edge of civilization, they can’t rest for long - and are soon back to what they do best: stealing from the undeserving rich and pocketing the proceeds for themselves.

This time, however, they have targeted the grandest prize of all: the Sinspire, the most exclusive and heavily guarded gambling house in the world. Its nine floors attract the wealthiest clientele - and to rise to the top, one must impress with good credit, amusing behavior...and excruciatingly impeccable play. For there is one cardinal rule, enforced by Requin, the house’s cold-blooded master: It is death to cheat at any game at the Sinspire.

Brazenly undeterred, Locke and Jean have orchestrated an elaborate plan to lie, trick, and swindle their way up the nine floors...straight to Requin’s teeming vault. Under the cloak of false identities, they meticulously make their climb - until they are closer to the spoils than ever.

But someone in Tal Verrar has uncovered the duo’s secret. Someone from their past who has every intention of making the impudent criminals pay for their sins. Now, it will take every ounce of cunning to save their mercenary souls. And even that may not be enough....

Praise for Red Seas Under Red Skies

"Lynch hasn’t merely imagined a far-off world, he’s created it, put it all down on paper - the smells, the sounds, the people, the feel of the place. The novel is a virtuoso performance, and sf/fantasy fans will gobble it up." (Booklist starred review)

"Red Seas Under Red Skies firmly proves that Scott Lynch isn’t a one-hit wonder.... It’ll only be a matter of time before Scott Lynch is mentioned in the same breath as George R. R. Martin and Steven Erikson." (Fantasy Book Critic)

"Grand, grandiose, grandiloquent.... No critic is likely to fault Lynch in his overflowing qualities of inventiveness, audacious draftsmanship, and sympathetic characterization." (Locus)

©2007 Scott Lynch (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Lynch hasn’t merely imagined a far-off world, he’s created it, put it all down on paper - the smells, the sounds, the people, the feel of the place. The novel is a virtuoso performance, and sf/fantasy fans will gobble it up." (Booklist starred review)

"Red Seas Under Red Skies firmly proves that Scott Lynch isn’t a one-hit wonder.... It’ll only be a matter of time before Scott Lynch is mentioned in the same breath as George R. R. Martin and Steven Erikson." (Fantasy Book Critic)

"Grand, grandiose, grandiloquent.... No critic is likely to fault Lynch in his overflowing qualities of inventiveness, audacious draftsmanship, and sympathetic characterization." (Locus)

"The kind of witty romp that reminds you exactly how much fun heroic fantasy is supposed to be." (SFX)

What listeners say about Red Seas Under Red Skies

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good, at least, at what it does

tldr; Great performance, beautiful prose, horrible pacing and unbelievable plot and characters make it hard to care and hard to finish. This book's got problems. But I'll say happily that what it does well it does great. If you're looking for good reading, beautiful and witty prose, and rich and decadent settings then you'll love it. Scott Lynch makes every line a work of art. He paints an incredibly detailed and compelling picture of the world of Locke Lamora. And the voice acting, while sometimes a bit much, fits this style of book perfectly. If you are looking for something fun to listen to, this is it. On the other hand, if you want believable characters, a well paced plot, or satisfying payoffs then this is NOT it. I'd love to list all the myriad problems that made me have to work to finish this book, but I'll keep it brief. The plot does not make sense. Many individual aspects of the plot do not make sense. I think I can say that no major characters make it through the book without making at least one decision that makes absolutely no sense. The plots concocted by Locke, his allies, even his enemies are absurdly improbable and frankly don't feel very clever. The biggest issue, however, is that main driving plot is a mess. The main goal, the central conflict, changes over and over as new characters are introduced and then left behind. A huge amount of time is spent developing adversaries who then just disappear with literally no resolution. When, in the last 2 hours of the book, we are told to believe that the subplot from the very beginning of the book (which has had almost NO impact on the plot for literally a dozen hours and which has been so overshadowed by events as to be near completely irrelevant) is now again vital, I had to stop listening for a day or two because I just could not muster any care at all for how the story ended. These issues with the plot are compounded by a real pacing issue that I noticed both in this book and in the first of the series. We get frequent flashbacks that do very little to add to the main plot and mostly just derail us. Huge amounts of time are spent on things that don't really impact anything in the long run. It's very hard to maintain the tension and interest needed to get through a long book. Lastly, and this one even more than the other issues I acknowledge as being a personal, subjective gripe, there's this underlying sense of unrealism that plagues these books. By this, I don't mean the fantasy setting of the books, I love the setting. The world feels very real, it's the people in the world that just don't feel like they belong to me. I think the root of this issue is that Scott Lynch is determined that the main characters be fully sympathetic, while still being thieves. Is it obvious why that's a problem? All of the good guys in the book are thieves and pirates, but we are never shown them harming ANYONE significantly. Locke will go to great lengths to not injure an innocent bystander, but he literally lives by stealing from innocent bystanders. The pirate captain is contrived to never pirate anyone who is really harmed by her piracy. It's like we're in this gritty, messy world, and all of the main characters are from a Disney movie. This really gets to me because it ruins their characterization. Sometimes they're scheming thieves, but then they're soft hearted heroes. You can't have it both ways, Scott. And I swear, if I have to hear Locke and Jean argue for another minutes about how they both want to sacrifice themselves for the other I will gouge out my eardrums. I am so sick of that plot point coming up in these books, I don't understand how these people can live so dangerously and commit so many crimes and then just go to pieces if one of their friends is in danger of death. It's just NOT FUN TO LISTEN TO. IT'S INCREDIBLY BORING. Sorry this was all so long but in summary the book is very well written on a small scale but on a large scale, the plot and characterization, the book is a mess.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Scott Lynch is my abusive husband

I had to push myself to get through The Lies of Locke Lamora, mostly because of extremely contrived plot, but I kept going because I fell in love with Locke's schemes and the 10/10 bromance between Locke and Jean. Early on in this book, I felt like the plot had significantly improved. Locke and Jean spend at least the first quarter of the book pulling off small schemes as part of a massive scheme that is built up through the entire book. Easy to follow. Before long, however, someone they previously pissed off shows up and throws a wrench into their plans, so now they have to get themselves out of this new predicament without abandoning their previous high-stakes heist. So far, this is all fine, but then the plot starts winding off in every direction except the one we were originally going. Locke and Jean spend all their time dealing with the complication, and hardly pull any heists after the first few chapters, certainly nothing as incredible as the fine clothing scene from book 1. By the halfway point of the book, Locke and Jean are completely ignoring their original game, and it becomes completely obsolete until the very end.

The turn at the midpoint is jarring. It honestly feels like 2 completely different books. While the first half is all about manipulating faction-leaders within the same city, the second half is about... sailing boats and being pirates? What? The tone, characters, goals, and overall feel of the book change completely at this point. If you really like this first half, you'll probably hate the second half. From here on, it mostly stops being about the Gentlemen Bastards, and is instead about the Poison Orchids. The weird thing, though, is that Locke and Jean haver really good chemistry with all the new characters. Drakasha and Delmastro work wonderfully alongside Locke and Jean, the crewmates are all colorful and likable, and the adventures they have give everyone opportunities to show off their various skills. But Lynch ultimately decides that Locke and Jean have to be the stars of the show, and they can't be part of an ensemble cast. I understand why he does what he does, but it still hurts to think about what we could have had if he decided to keep the pirates around as main characters. And the way he went about removing them from the narrative was especially painful, and not in a good way. The events that ultimately lead to Locke and Jean parting ways with the pirates was both extremely telegraphed, and extremely contrived. It's one of those "I already know this thing is only here so you can use it later in this exact way for this exact purpose" kind of things.

Scott Lynch is really good at certain things, and absolute dogshit at others. His characters are hit or miss and he is absolutely terrible at plotting and pacing. He is, however, a master of scenarios and relationships. He seems to decide what kind of scene he wants, and then he just goes and does it with masterful execution every time. But after you've been sucked in long enough and you think you've fallen in love, he goes and does something so dumb with the plot that genuinely hurts. This is his formula: Great individual scenes that string along in ways that either don't make sense or feel overly contrived.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

ultimately I was disappointed

book 1 wasn't amazing but it left me wanting more. book 2 did not. after reading some reviews I've decided to pass on book 3.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

the first half of this book is fantastic. Then Locke and Jean get on a boat and it all falls to shit.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Initially intriguing but...

I had to return this book. The chemistry between Locke and Jean carried over from 'Lies' but none of the cool adversaries, engenious larceny, or grand, noble hearts.

The endlessly droning conversations between opponents explaining(!) their cleverness doesn't create captivating images in my mind. The cluelessness of Locke and Jean as they blunder through their preposterous 'caper' makes them seem like the wealthy targets they so creatively fleeced in 'Lies'.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good enough, but should of been better.

Lynch didn't spend as much time logic-checking his writing for this book as he did for his first.
Most of the problems a minor and forgivable.
BUT!
Jean lost is glasses when he jumped of the roe boat. He never acquired a replacement pair from an alchemist/physica. And since he's horribly farsighted, he would have had a hell of time accomplishing any of the ship duties/fighting/arrow dodging/forging demanded of him during this story.
I also feel he needs to ramp up the complexity of the schemes and the overall adrenalin of the story if he wants to keep future books from becoming dull and repetitive.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

intricate, evolving, exciting, entertainingl

this is the second the gentleman bastard series. after finishishimg the first book with a warm glow of appreciation for all talent of concerned in its crafting there is trepidation as to how there could be a sequel equal in tapestry and execution. Well done. we are always left with a watchful eye toward the horizon for Locke and John

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent followup

Unsurprisingly, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The first one in the series captured my attention so completely, I would often miss my turn while driving. Unfortunately, listening to this book during a pandemic has made it impossible to know if I would have had the same reaction. That said, every time I thought, "I'll just listen to one part," I would then listen until I HAD to stop for some outside reason. Excellent followup! Looking forward to the next one!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent characters and writing, weak plot

The author is a delightful wordsmith, and it is very fun just to be in the world he has crafted and hear him describe the goings on. As far as pure writing style and characters, Lynch is one of the best I've encountered.

If I'm willing to say this, you may be wondering why I give the story four stars instead of five. It's because the overall plot as well as layout and pacing are somewhat lacking. The most glaring example is the prologue. It's a fairly poor and lazy attempt at increasing tension where it doesn't need to, and the whole encounter seems thrown in with no real point or connection with the rest of the story apart from cheap action. Skip it, you won't miss a thing.

Lynch also seems to be very good at beginnings and middles, but from what I've seen his endings are rather rushed and a bit flat. It leaves the reader, or at least me, with a feeling of disappointment at the end of what up till then was a very fun ride.

Despite these drawbacks, I do heartily recommend this book. Lynch could write about nothing more than a routine shopping trip and his witty and colorful style would make it worth the read. Plus his colorful and engaging characters would no doubt find a way to turn it into a life-and-death situation.

Micheal Page does an excellent job with the reading, and gives the characters and world an even richer life than they had from the author.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent series...get it now

I cannot determine if I love the writing or the voice acting the most. This is easily in my top 3 favorite series.

1 person found this helpful