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The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards) Mass Market Paperback – June 26, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 1,192 customer reviews
Book 1 of 5 in the Gentleman Bastards Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Life imitates art and art scams life in Lynch's debut, a picaresque fantasy that chronicles the career of Locke Lamora—orphan, thief and leader of the Gentlemen Bastards—from the time the Thiefmaker sells Locke to the faking Eyeless Priest up to Locke's latest con of the nobility of the land of Camorr. As in any good caper novel, the plot is littered with obvious and not-so-obvious obstacles, including the secret police of Camorr's legendary Spider and the mysterious assassinations of gang leaders by the newly arrived Gray King. Locke's resilience and wit give the book the tragicomic air of a traditional picaresque, rubbery ethics and all. The villain holds the best moral justification of any of the players. Lynch provides plenty of historical and cultural information reminiscent of new weirdists Steven Erikson and China Miéville, if not quite as outré. The only drawback is that the realistic fullness of the background tends to accentuate the unreality of the melodramatic foreground. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* On a distant world, orphan Locke Lamora is sold into a crew of thieves and con artists. Soon his natural gifts make him an underworld celebrity, leader of the flamboyantly larcenous Gentleman Bandits. But there is someone who covets Locke's talents, his success, his very life, forcing him to put everything on the line to protect himself. 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, pulling us into the middle of the action. With this debut novel, Lynch immediately establishes himself as a gifted and fearless storyteller, unafraid of comparisons to Silverberg and Jordan, not to mention David Liss and even Dickens (the parallels to Oliver Twist offer an appealing extra dimension to the story, although the novel is no mere reimagining of that Victorian classic). Fans of lavishly appointed fantasy will be in seventh heaven here, but it will be nearly as popular with readers of literary crime fiction. This is a true genre bender, at home on almost any kind of fiction shelf. Expect it to be among the year's most impressive debuts. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: Gentleman Bastards (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (June 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055358894X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553588941
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,192 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Scott Lynch was born in 1978 in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he still lives now. In addition to being a freelance writer for various role playing game companies he has done all the usual jobs writers put in their bios: dishwasher, waiter, web designer, marketing writer, office manager and short-order cook.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA is a fairly-well-hyped fantasy debut about the charismatic leader of a gang of con artists in a city that does (or tries to do) for renaissance Venice what PERDIDO STREET STATION did for Dickensian London. Overall, I enjoyed it - the prose was technically proficient, the plot hummed along efficiently, the setting was considerably more interesting than the usual plate-mail-and-offal-carts business, and there was a good deal of welcome humor. As debut novels go it's a promising start.

On the other hand, it really doesn't amount to much more than an entertaining confection. The book's apparently been optioned for a movie already, and I can see why: the dialogue's relentlessly effervescent, occasionally stretching credulity past the breaking point (characters have one-liners for every occasion even while collecting broken bones and concussions like trading cards) and the screenplay-friendly three-act structure is too often embarrassingly visible underneath the flesh of the story.

It's difficult to articulate my feelings on books like this. On the one hand, Lynch's technical talent clearly elevates him above the great gormless herd of modern fantasy writers already. And there's no denying that the book is very likeable indeed, while it seems unfair to fault it based only on what it could have been. On the other hand, it's just *too damn safe*. Lynch is going to be a major player in the genre - that much is obvious already - but he has it in him to do something Seriously Good rather than settling for being the next RA Salvatore. But it's not gonna happen until he gets over his fear of failure.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The Lies of Locke Lamora" (hereby to be shortened to "Locke Lamora") is a well-plotted novel that resembles an old-fashioned adventure tale. As other reviewers have undoubtedly stated, "Locke Lamora" is basically a medieval Oceans Eleven, with more dying. However, while I enjoined the twists and turns of the plot as well as the very well-developed backstory of the titular character, "Locke Lamora" is a novel that I was unable to finish. The reason? I really didn't care about Locke Lamora.

As a Robin Hood-style novel, the quality of this book is inextricably linked to the charisma of its main character. And unfortunately, Locke Lamora isn't sufficiently intelligent to be admired, sufficiently tragic to be pitied, or really even sufficiently human for me to care about. The author presents him as a sort of anti-hero, an unparalleled thief with a heart of gold, yet when the action ramps up, Locke Lamora becomes surprisingly beige. By the time I got three quarters of the way through the novel, I realized that I really didn't care what happened to Mr. Lamora--and that is a death sentence for this kind of novel.

It also does not help that the author spends quite a bit of time on world-building, yet this world-building never pays off. We see a fantastical world of alien artifacts, yet the reader is never able to understand this world--indeed, the world-building adds very little to the story of the novel.

In all, Mr. Lynch's novel has all the hallmarks of a great book, but for me at least, it was never very engaging.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Scott Lynch's much-heralded debut leads readers on a dashing thief tale in the best classic fantasy vein, through a vivid Renaissance-inspired fantasy city. Locke and his companions are clever rogues who must outwit not only their marks but also the city guard, their own underworld leaders, and a new vicious underworld faction.

The plot surges into high gear in the second act with the appearance of this new faction, which could have been introduced sooner. The Grey King and especially his mage are so shockingly well-informed and powerful that Locke seems helpless against them. This keeps the reader turning the pages, but it also makes Locke's eventual victory seem implausible and rushed.

The climax abandons the clever thief scheming in favor of a super-villain plot out of a James Bond movie. The villain's plan is far-fetched and poorly justified, Locke's response is oddly benevolent, and the other characters' reactions to him are unrealistic bordering on authorial wish-fulfillment.

The constant interlude chapters covering Locke and Jean's boyhood distract from the exciting heist plot. Lynch does relate them to the present story, but this material could have been shown more quickly and less disruptively in short flashbacks. In addition, the narrative's shallow point-of-view makes the characters feel distant. Only their most basic internal reactions and emotions are described in a point-of-view that shifts through different characters in the same scene, includes constant descriptions of the point-of-view character's own facial expressions, and artificially hides from the reader much information that the point-of-view characters obviously know.
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