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Lies of Locke Lamora [Paperback]

Scott Lynch
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 1 2007 Gollancz
They say that the Thorn of Camorr can beat anyone in a fight. They say he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. They say he's part man, part myth, and mostly street-corner rumor. And they are wrong on every count.

Only averagely tall, slender, and god-awful with a sword, Locke Lamora is the fabled Thorn, and the greatest weapons at his disposal are his wit and cunning. He steals from the rich - they're the only ones worth stealing from - but the poor can go steal for themselves. What Locke cons, wheedles and tricks into his possession is strictly for him and his band of fellow con-artists and thieves: the Gentleman Bastards.

Together their domain is the city of Camorr. Built of Elderglass by a race no-one remembers, it's a city of shifting revels, filthy canals, baroque palaces and crowded cemeteries. Home to Dons, merchants, soldiers, beggars, cripples, and feral children. And to Capa Barsavi, the criminal mastermind who runs the city.

But there are whispers of a challenge to the Capa's power. A challenge from a man no one has ever seen, a man no blade can touch. The Grey King is coming.

A man would be well advised not to be caught between Capa Barsavi and The Grey King. Even such a master of the sword as the Thorn of Camorr. As for Locke Lamora . . .

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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 the Hardcover edition.

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 the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy's appealing "dark side." Feb. 15 2008
Scott Lynch has a way with words reminiscent of George R.R. Martin; he creates a gritty world full of colorful and multifaceted characters. The plot is centralized in one city, a location fraught with intrigue and enough history to fill volumes with. There's an underbelly to the city, of course, which we are thrust into as we follow the cunning Locke Lamora's rise to infamy and his ultimate quest for revenge.

One of the charms of this book is the way in which Lynch tells the story; this is anything but a straight forward narrative. Throughout the "main plot" we are told intermittently about the history of Locke Lamora, his admittance into the criminal organization known as "The Gentlemen Bastards", and his training in the art of theft. Each of the characters presented is beautifully fleshed out, with their own histories, agendas and motivations, making for a believable and engrossing novel.

If you're a fan of grittier fantasy - gods, thieves, plot and intrigue, and (of course) fantastic story telling - then this is the novel for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story; disappointing ending Sept. 21 2009
Even if his name appears on the front page of this book, I'll try not to mention George R.R. Martin in my review (oops! too late). Associating new authors with well known and established fantasy authors no doubt helps in selling books, but I find that this business practice is usually misleading such as in the present case.

The world created by the author is inspired by Italian city-states of the late Middle-Age. If it was not of the involvement of a mage, this novel could have easily been categorized as a fiction instead of a fantasy novel. This book can be read as a stand alone novel, and its story follows a single storyline.

The main character, Locke Lamora, is a con artist. The story focuses on the cleverness of Lamora and his ability to conceive bold plans and to improvise his way out of trouble. What is really interesting is that the reader is not left in the black with regard to Lamora's plans and motivations. As such, as a reader you feel like you are being part of his plans instead of only being a spectator of their outcome.

I however find that the ending was rather disappointing. This book shines because of the personality of its characters, and the events in the end are triggered by actions that were rather out of character (this is especially true for the mage mentioned above, but also for Lamora). Despite the ending, this novel is an 'absolute must read' for its entertainment value, and as such I give it five stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Lies of Locke Lamora Sept. 8 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For the first quarter of this story, all I kept thinking was "What's wrong with me? Everyone loves this book but I'm bored to death". It was filled with so much description of the town, the people, the clothing, etc that I actually had to put it down several times and force myself to pick it back up. I was so bored my mind started wandering, then I had to re-read what was boring me in case I missed something. I even read two other books during this period just to clear my mind.

I say this to prepare you because after that it becomes amazing. Many other reviews compare it to Ocean's Eleven and The Godfather. I totally agree that there are many similarities but this is so much more than those stories. The intricacies of the plot are incredible. Lynch must have spent a year just planning the story out before he wrote it.

This is the story of Locke Lamora, or at least it's the story of his best scheme so far, except fate throws a few wrenches into the works (which didn't happen in Ocean's Eleven). Locke is a thief with a gang known as the Gentlemen Bastards, in a town full of gangs who are ultimately overseen by the Capa. He doesn't directly control the gangs in what they do but they have to pay a percentage of their take and follow his rules to be able to stay. He's the "Godfather". The story stops in several places to flashback (they are all titled Interlude) to Locke's youth and how he got to where he is now.

It was very entertaining (after the aforementioned first quarter) and I would highly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A splash of objectivity Aug. 2 2010
Before writing my own review, I was compelled to read the others, and I was quite surprised at the different opinions expressed regarding this book. In light of this, I thought it might perhaps be useful to offer some of my own thoughts on this matter. I do agree with one review, a map would have been helpful, strictly for visualization of course; I was not terribly worried about it though. As was noted in other reviews, the geographical area covered by the book is quite small, but more importantly; this was not a story about the city, but about its interesting and varied denizens. I also thought the use of profanity was both cunning and humorous, especially when the author used it to display the contrast between Locke's breed and the noble elite. One thing that was not mentioned in the other reviews that I think deserves some notice was the use of metaphor by the author; they were quite colourful, and I found myself laughing out loud on more than a couple occasions. I only had two problems with this story from beginning to end. The first, somewhere in the middle of the story; the main character made some very silly mistakes that did not suit his demonstrated abilities at other points in the story. At these points, the facade dropped a little, exposing the steel girders holding the story up, a little anticlimactic. My other main problem was that I spent most of my spare moments for two days reading that bloody book when I should have been getting my own work done. Over all it was an excellent story with very little in the way of defects; I would recommend it to anyone who likes good fiction, regardless of the genre.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great characters, uncanny luck
Half-heist, half-fantasy, The lies of Locke Lamora is a fun book that requires a faire dose of suspension of disbelief in its last act. Read more
Published 16 days ago by JP
5.0 out of 5 stars This Is The Book Everybody Else Should Be Reading!
This book combines all the elements of fantastic fantasy, thoughtful, provocative and characters that you really root for. Scott Lynch has many great stories ahead of him.
Published 4 months ago by Ian Beaton
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling
This author had me hooked after only a few pages in. Definitely a new talent worth following. Right up there with Abercrombe, Weeks, Sanderson, Brett and Esslemont.
Published 5 months ago by Laura Passenger
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it tons !
can't wait for more from this guy ! one of the best I have read in years.
couldn't put it down.
Published 7 months ago by donna
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic story.
I absolutely loved this book. Every time I thought the story was starting to wind down a bit there was another plot twist; another major conplication. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best fantasy books ever!!!
Scott Lynch, and therefore his characters, are extremely clever. His plot is intricate but not needlessly difficult to follow or convoluted. Read more
Published on Jan. 24 2011 by lookingforgoodbooks
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy thieves
A welcome addition to the "Rough Fantasy" genre, along with the likes of Esslemont and Erikson, or Martin. Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2010 by Brian Ashe
5.0 out of 5 stars The most exciting fantasy novel I've read for years!
To fans of Charles Dickens' timeless classic "Oliver Twist", at least the opening scenes of Scott Lynch's ground-breaking epic debut novel will seem familiar. Read more
Published on Aug. 29 2009 by Paul Weiss
4.0 out of 5 stars A+ for "Lies of Locke Lamora"
A+ for "Lies of Locke Lamora"

The twists and turns of this story are well thought out, the pacing is great, and the main character is a thoroughly interesting anti-hero. Read more
Published on June 16 2008 by Zafri M.
4.0 out of 5 stars A fantasy series with great potential... but overused and often...
A great fantasy read! (with some reservations)

I must say, overall, that I enjoyed this book very much; the story held my interest the same way that the novels of George... Read more
Published on May 2 2008 by R. Nicholson
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