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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent romp in a wonderfully realised city.
The Thorn of Camorr is a legendary master swordsman, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. He is also a complete fabrication. Locke Lamora is the fabled Thorn and whilst adept at stealing from the rich - after all only they have anything worth stealing, he never really got to grips with the giving to the poor bit. When it comes to swordplay, he's only a danger to...
Published on 2 Jun 2012 by The Hatchet Bunny

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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but tries a bit too hard
"The Lies of Locke Lamora" is the first in a projected series of seven books detailing the adventures of The Gentleman Bastards, a gang of thieves and conmen from the Venice-like city of Camorr. It's a ripping yarn full of larger-than-life characters, something akin to "Moll Flanders" meets "Pulp Fiction"; mostly light-hearted but with moments of savage violence, as...
Published on 12 Mar 2011 by Anne Lyle


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent romp in a wonderfully realised city., 2 Jun 2012
This review is from: The Lies of Locke Lamora (Paperback)
The Thorn of Camorr is a legendary master swordsman, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. He is also a complete fabrication. Locke Lamora is the fabled Thorn and whilst adept at stealing from the rich - after all only they have anything worth stealing, he never really got to grips with the giving to the poor bit. When it comes to swordplay, he's only a danger to himself. He does have enough wit and cunning to make up for his lack of physical prowess and his companion Jean Tannen is more than handy with a blade if trouble comes calling.

Whilst in the middle of an elaborate confidence scam, Locke is dragged into a bloody power struggle within the Camarr underworld. Capa Barsavi wants Locke to accompany him to a meeting in order to kill a shadowy rival, the Grey King. Unfortunately the Grey King has discovered Locke's talent for dissembling and wants Locke to impersonate him for a meeting with the Capa...

The Lies Of Locke Lamora is the debut novel of Scott Lynch, but from the quality of the writing you'd be hard pressed to tell. The opening with the Thieftaker and Chains in masterfully done, brilliantly setting the tone for what follows. The story is told with great economy and skill, fair rattling along at a good pace with a minimum of exposition.

The unfolding plot is interwoven with interludes to Locke's formative years, deftly illustrating his rise from cocky street urchin under the thumb of the thieftaker to become the leader of the Gentleman Bastards. These interludes also lay the foundations for his enduring friendships and flesh out the other members of his gang quite admirably.

If you like the Hustle tv show, don't mind a bucketload of swearing and enjoy a fast-paced action packed romp through a beautifully rendered city, you'll love this. The Lies Of Locke Lamora (*****) is well worth checking out, but probably a bit too sweary for your maiden aunt.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, 31 Dec 2010
By 
D. R. Cantrell (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lies of Locke Lamora (Paperback)
This is a fabulous book. While it's a fantasy, set in a Venice-a-like mediaeval city but with added "alchemy" serving for basic science, a very small amount of very powerful magic, and a Mysterious Elder Race, it is consistent and believable. In this it is helped by there being lots of squalor, filth and fear - mediaeval life was thoroughly squalid and life was awful for almost everyone. The one place where the scene-setting falls down is a very minor one that most people won't notice, that a city of 88,000 can support 3,000 full-time professional criminals. While 3.5% of the population being criminals is believable, having them at it full time is not. But never mind, it's a tiny point, and it is necessary for the drama. This is fiction, not economics, so I'll let it be.

Most of the city's background is filled in in flashbacks, a device that can be intensely irritating, but in this case it works well, because most of the flashbacks are strictly relevant to the part of the main line of the story that immediately precedes them, and they are well-told little stories in themselves. I'd not be surprised if some of them had earlier been published as stand-alone short stories. Almost all of the main characters' development as people happens in these flashbacks too, and they really are people.

The main story has two strands, starting with the eponymous hero plotting and carrying out an outrageous advance fee fraud. Over time, another strand comes in, of the city's capo di capi having a rival, of the tussle between them, and Lamora's involvement in their fight. Both are portrayed realistically and are skilfully woven together to meet at the climax. And while this is the first in a series of planned books, it stands up very well on its own.

I very strongly recommend this book. It is a masterpiece of construction and story-telling, of balance between light and dark and between humour and deadly-seriousness. And most importantly, it's great fun.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars love it, 4 May 2013
I absolutley love this book and have read it several times.It is just the right length and the main characters are rogues but you really warm to them very quickly.A brill read if you like fantasy without any dragons,magic etc.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So good I missed my train stop, 12 April 2007
By 
Mr. G. Cooper (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lies of Locke Lamora (Paperback)
A truly excellent read. The characters are well-defined and above all, enjoyable to spend time with. The complexity of the scams pulled by the Gentlemen Bastards keeps you gripped, and a perfect sense of comic timing (despite the fact that this is certainly not a comedy) had me laughing out loud at points.

The whole book had me itching to continue reading. Not just to see how the whole story panned out, but sheer desperation to see what happens on the next page, in the next chapter. It literally pulls you through this breakneck adventure, and leaves you happily exhausted by the end of it.

The style of writing and attention to detail in terms of setting up this ancient city are superlative, and I can't remember being so engrossed by a new fantasy world since I first stumbled upon China Mieville.

Can't recommend this strongly enough.
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87 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Fantasy Book 2007, 25 April 2007
By 
himilne (North East England, permanent loan from Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Lies of Locke Lamora (Paperback)
I'll keep this simple. Buy this book. This is a fantastic romp that really does make you read it at any opportunity you can get. I could hear it calling me when I was at work. I couldn't sleep until I'd just read one more chapter ... I can't recommend it enough - it's the best book I've read in years (probably since Julian May's The Many Coloured Land). It's not classic fantasy but that really does not matter. Just buy it, take a day or two off work and enjoy. I don't need to go into the plot, the characters or the writing. If you're interested enough to be reading this review then just take my word for it. You really will get to laugh, cry, plot, plan and be amazed by Locke Lamora and the Gentlemen Bastards ...

I always like to know what other authors people read when I am checking a review so to help you, my taste in books runs from SF authors such as Peter Hamilton, Iain Banks, Alastair Reynolds, Richard Morgan, fantasy writers including Raymond Feist, R Scott Bakker, Julian May, Steven Erikson, George RR Martin, Tad Williams, Dan Simmons and other good storytellers such as Christopher Brookmyre, Neil Gaiman, Christopher Fowler, Matthew Reilly, Clive Barker, Michael Crichton.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thundering good read, 7 Sep 2007
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This review is from: The Lies of Locke Lamora (Paperback)
What I enjoyed most about this book - and there are many things to enjoy - was the way the plot suddenly executes a sudden turn in the middle. What begins as an engaging romp through a well-realised fantasy world in the company of a bunch of likable con-artists turns into a gripping and gruesome tale of gang warfare and vengeance. The author handles the transition deftly, keeping up the pace of the plot, and as the narrative grows darker the reader begins to fear for the fate of characters we have been persuaded to care about in the lighter first act.

Lynch has a flair for language; his descriptions are lyrical and vivid, the characters are well-drawn and varied and their language is refreshingly salty. They sound like the villains they are, which makes them convincing and real.

The plotting, too, is neat, and the book has a non-linear structure which hops from the present to flashback. This keeps tension running high and drip-feeds information to the reader.

Overall, the feel of the book was very remeniscent of a trendy film or TV series with its quick cutting, leaps through time and twists and turns. A refreshing antidote to turgid, formulaic quest tales - and book two is on the way!
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Starts slowly, but keep at it, 11 April 2008
By 
Victoria Clare (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lies of Locke Lamora (Paperback)
I suspect a fair number of readers will give up on this in the first few chapters: you can tell this is a debut novel and the writer is sort of settling into his own voice as he goes. The first impression was of a sort of sub-Jack Vance, which is a hard act to follow.

It's worth persisting though - the language becomes less florid and the plot more fascinating: I really liked the setting. At first I didn't warm to the characters, but after a while I started to get attached to them. Be warned though, if you are the kind of reader that finds violence and death to sympathetic characters in fiction hard to read, you may not like this.

Several reviewers have referred to this novel as fantasy: it's set in a renaissance culture in the ruins of an alien culture, which to my mind makes it sci fi, but perhaps sci fi is less in the public eye just now.

I am definitely looking forward to reading the next one.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Assured and entertaining, 11 Oct 2008
This review is from: The Lies of Locke Lamora (Paperback)
An assured debut novel the plot centers around a con that the Gentleman Bastards (Locke, Jean Tannen, Bug and the twins Calo and Galdo) are pulling on a nobleman, involving a rare wine. The con also allows Lynch to introduce Locke's backstory, from joining a gang belonging to the Thiefmaker and his transgressions that lead to his adoption by Father Chains and inauguration into the Gentleman Bastards. It also gives Lynch the opportunity to establish his world credibly and competently and in such a way that you want to find out more about it.

Although the con goes a little too smoothly to be fully believable, Lynch eventually introduces the Grey King, a dangerous man with his own agenda who coerces and blackmails Locke into helping him settle an old score with Barsai, the head of Camorr's crime syndicate. Although the end of the book is never really in doubt, I enjoyed the way in which the Grey King was always one step ahead of Locke. However, the introduction of the Bond Mage felt like a cop-out, particularly because Lynch doesn't really explain how magic works in this world until near the end, when the concept of 'true names' is revealed to cheap effect.

Until the Grey King's introduction about half-way through the text, the pace feels a little slow, although Lynch's writing style is absorbing. Characterisation is well handled - Locke et al aren't evil so much as of a different moral ilk to other folk and Lynch takes the time to set out their own moral code. Lynch's descriptions are evocative and vivid and Camorr has an almost Venetian feel to it.

On the negative side, this book doesn't have feature strong female characters. The women are pretty much on the sidelines in whore/wife roles. The two most interesting women in the novel don't get much page time and the supposed love of Locke's life is nothing but a name. I wanted to see more of the Grey King's motivations and how his plans were set up as it only comes out in the last 150 pages and feels rushed. On the plus side, Lynch surprised me by whacking people you would expect to make it into the sequel and the novel hangs together well, tying up loose ends so as to set up the sequel while providing a satisfying read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishingly good, way beyond any of my expectations, 21 July 2014
Oh this book is fantastic! I bought it as an Audio book and it is just wonderful. The characters and descriptions of the places are so real. Someone has got to make this into a movie but be warned movie makers; we know EXACTLY how things should look and sound so don't go tampering with the story! I cannot put this book down; there is enough murder, mystery, and mayhem to satisfy anyone's need for adventure but there is sadness, shock, and tragedy too. And just occasionally, there is the odd wicked piece of "gallows humour" too that jumps out in the most surprising places. Some have commented that they don't like the 'Interludes' where we go back to Locke's childhood but I think it's wonderful, the story gets to a point where you think "Hang on, who is that?/How did we get to that?/How would he know that?/Where does that fit it and the Interlude kicks in and gives you the "Ah, that makes sense/oh wow so that's how it happened...". Even if you have read the book I strongly recommend the Audio version as the characterisation is astonishing. This book is the best thing I have read in over 20 years. Just brilliant!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars entertaining caper, 19 Oct 2007
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lies of Locke Lamora (Paperback)
This is like the Godfather, Oliver Twist and Ocean's Eleven mixed up and distilled on the page. Fun, witty, violent and entertaining, it keeps you reading and so is the perfect commute read. As other reviewers have said, Lynch dramatises rather than tells - a bit of a lost art for contemporary writers.

Personally I didn't like the flashbacks and back story, and thought it was too much of a device to delay the main plot but that's personal taste. There are places where Lynch overwrites but this is forgiveable, especially in the middle section of the book where the tension really ramps up. Lynch doesn't shy away from making his characters realistically violent as so many writers do out of moral correctness and that adds to the texture of the plot and characterisation.

This isn't by any means great literature, but it is a great romp of a novel that reminded me of how much sheer fun reading as a child used to be.
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The Lies of Locke Lamora
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (Paperback - 1 Feb 2007)
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