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Red Seas Under Red Skies Hardcover – July 31, 2007

Book 2 of 5 in the Gentleman Bastard Series

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"An Unwelcome Quest"
Ever since Martin Banks and his fellow computer geeks discovered reality is just software, they've been happily jaunting back and forth through time. Who knew that rotten Todd would escape, then conjure a game packed with wolves, wastelands and other harrowing hazards--and trap his hapless former hack-mates inside it? Find out more author Scott Meyer

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; First Printing edition (July 31, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553804685
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553804683
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (385 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Like its roguish protagonists, Lynch's colorful sequel to 2006's The Lies of Locke Lamora is charming, unpredictable and fast on its feet and stands surprisingly well on its own given its convoluted plot. Initially poised to rob the Sinspire, the notoriously thief-proof casino where the penalty for cheating is death, Locke and his partner, Jean, are unwillingly sidetracked into joining and then leading a pirate crew, swindling their way across the sea as they had previously done on land. The cinematic influences on Lynch's fantasy setting are evident, the borrowing is mostly ingenious and the prose frequently enthralls, but tone and pacing suffer from odd inconsistencies. A handful of dark moments clash uncomfortably with the overall devil-may-care atmosphere. Most frustrating of all is the handling of key secondary character Ezri Delmastro, who shines too briefly as an energetic romantic interest for Jean. The ending promises at least one more installment, but fans may be unhappy if the saga strays too far from its amiable roots. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The science-fiction caper novel constitutes a small genre to begin with (Keith Laumer and Harry Harrison may be its best-known names), but Lynch added something entirely new to it with his debut, The Lies of Locke Lamora (2006). That novel, which told the story of a young boy taken under the wing of a master thief, was set on a distant planet but at a stage in the planet's history roughly equivalent to our own pirate age. Now Locke, the talented boy who became a world-class thief, returns with a caper so big it defies all reason—to penetrate the vault of the Sinspire, the most protected casino on the planet, and take its contents. If the first novel had undercurrents of Oliver Twist, this one is more in the vein of Ocean's Eleven or The Sting: fast paced, colorful, funny, with a fiendishly intricate plot containing plenty of right-angle turns. Locke and his partner, Jean, trade banter like Redford and Newman and work their light-fingered magic with charm and panache. 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, though they'll have to fight with caper novel aficionados for every crumb. Pitt, David

Customer Reviews

Great character development, well thought-out plot.
Amazon Customer
On the surface this seems like a straight forward plot, however, much like the first book - things aren't always as they seem.
Andy Gray
This really is a pet peeve, and not so much a bad thing as it is the author’s fantasy I am reading.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Andy Gray on August 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch is the second book in the Gentlemen Bastards sequence, the first book being The Lies of Locke Lamora. This is the second novel that Mr. Lynch has published, it is quite evident that Mr. Lynch truly has a gift for weaving an incredible story. If you have not read The Lies of Locke Lamora you really need to do so before you even think about picking up this book. Events and discussions that happen within the pages of this novel will make much more sense having read the first book. Plus, the first book is simply bottled magic and a fantastic read, every fantasy fan should read it in my opinion.

The plot of this book follows Locke and Jean as they plan their next major heist on the shores of Tal Verrar. On the surface this seems like a straight forward plot, however, much like the first book - things aren't always as they seem. This is a much more involved plot that you would think; there are also a couple sub-plots that occur along the way. I don't really want to talk about those sub-plots though for fear of ruining a part of the book for anyone. If you read the first book though, you understand that rarely do things go exactly as planned for Locke and whoever is following him. We'll leave it at that. Suffice it to say that the plot of this novel is well done and succinct and rarely is there a slow moment in the entire book.

The story clearly focuses on Locke and Jean, two of the characters from the first book. There is a great deal of character development for Locke and Jean in this book, much more than the first book for sure. There are also a great deal of additional characters added, which only makes sense sine Locke and Jean completely uprooted themselves and moved to a different place. The addition of these new characters is seamless.
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54 of 63 people found the following review helpful By E. Rotberg on December 10, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Even though I often judge the purchase of a new book by the average star ratings on Amazon, sometimes they really don't suffice to give a proper idea of what to expect. "Red Seas Under Red Skies" is Scott Lynch's sequel to his outstanding debut novel, "The Lies of Locke Lamora". If you are looking at this book without having read "Lies", stop right here. Go buy "Lies" first - you won't be disappointed. If you are going to read further in this review, BE AWARE THAT THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD.

The reason I have a hard time simply using stars to judge this book is that my feelings about it are very mixed. One the one hand, we have a continuation of the Gentlemen Bastards from the first book. They continue to be a wonderful blend of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, Mission Impossible, and a little bit of "The Sting" thrown in for good measure. The worlds and environments that Lynch creates are detailed, inventive, interesting and richly imagined. The capers that Locke & Jean get caught up in never fail to boggle the mind.

So why are my feelings mixed? You know, I don't mind the pirate section of the book as much as some here seem to (though to be fair, on a ship in high winds and crashing seas, I can't imagine that having both "larboard" and "starboard" as terms used to indicate opposite sides of a ship NOT getting aurally confused). For me, the failings are primarily in the very abrupt ending. In the last 40 pages or so of the book, a anonymous threat is suddenly revealed, Locke & Jean first encounter one of the major warring factions and quickly enlist their aid, topple a previously unassailable tyrant, and pull off a heist in in a massively secure tower.

Now, for me, it's not a matter of failing my willing suspension of disbelief at all.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By David Keith on December 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I totally loved the first book in this series, The Lies of Lock Lamora, but I have mixed feelings about this one. It's got some great characters hurling some of the best insults I've read, and the odd smattering of humor kept me going. The pacing of this adventure was uneven. For a swashbuckling adventure, the buckles could have been swashed a bit harder. After a bit of plodding plotting the resolution comes ridiculously swiftly. The energy in the last 20 pages would have been welcome throughout. The cliffhanging ending is more irritating than intriguing. It's got some great bits, but on the whole It's Just OK.
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53 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Literary Architect on May 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Even more so, when neither book is good. It's very difficult to satisfy two very different audiences, and in this case, Scott Lynch fails miserably. As a fan of Lies of Locke Lamora, I was excited when I learned about this sequel. Most authors get better with experience, but, unfortunately, there is the exception that proves the rule, where Red Seas over Red Skies is that exception. Lynch makes the following mistakes in this book.

1. He believes he's capable of writing a sea adventure. He is no Patrick O'Brian, Robert Louis Stevenson, or C.S. Forester. Reading up on several nautical terms does not give an author the understanding to do so, and changing them does not make a good story. The old adage, "write what you know" applies here. Lynch didn't follow that rule.

2. Fantasy cliches abound: pirates with hearts of gold, who look like Xena but act like Rowling's Hermione, corrupt military leaders trying to instigate wars in order to secure their ruling position, and thieves who bumble from near-death experience to near-death who survive because the author refuses to end the novel. Stock characters and elements can be fine when you want to make things familiar, but they should not be your entire story!

3. Heroes who survive on the might of strawmen and divine fate to carry them through the plot. In life sometimes you are saved by dumb luck, but no one has the winning streak of Jean and Locke. After three or four times everything becomes contrived and the reader loses all suspense of what may come. When ill befalls our heroes, we know their salvation is only five pages away.

4. The Interludes were a wonderful literary device in Lynch's first novel, but he tries to reach their magic with a similar approach and gives up half-way through the book.
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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.

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