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23 of 23 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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2.0 out of 5 stars Unliterary Locke
"The Lies of Locke Lamora" is an excellent idea for a story but one which fails to meet its potential. The story is set in a fantasy city that has more than a passing similarity to Renaissance Venice. The main character is a professional thief and confidence man, a likeable rogue and anti-hero.

Unfortunately the setting is ruined by the insistence of...
Published 8 months ago by Neil Lennon


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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent romp in a wonderfully realised city., 2 Jun 2012
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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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, 31 Dec 2010
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D. R. Cantrell (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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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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8 of 8 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gentlemen thieves get more than they bargained for, 11 Oct 2009
By 
Mr. R. Bhaskar (Glasgow, UK) - See all my reviews
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Locke Lamora is the Thorn of Camorr, leader of the Gentlemen Bastards, a master thief who robs the nobility of that city-state with grand breath-taking plans. He and his gang hide not only from the police but from the leader of the underworld who knows hims as just another 'garrista' of a small, unimportant gang. But a private war that suddenly in the city's underworld has Locke and his band fighting for their lives.

This book has a wonderful setting, crossing an Italian renaissance city with aspects of The Godfather and the grimier scenes from Dickens. Locke and his Gentlemen Bastards are great characters, carrying out their schemes with wonderful flair, and when the excrement starts hitting the rotating ceiling-mounted air-circulation device, you really care about them. Especially when the 'bondsmage', the Falconer starts to get his hands on them.

Lynch dropped several hints about the background to the city-state of Camorr and the long-vanished race that created the towering edifices that mankind has inherited. While curious to find out more about this, I recognise that sometimes backstory is just treated as such and left alone.

A great story, well-told with a wonderfully vivid setting. And although it's the first in a sequence, the story is wrapped up neatly so you aren't left hanging.
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16 of 18 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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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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88 of 103 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
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Assured and entertaining, 11 Oct 2008
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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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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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant story of suspense and intrigue, 13 Sep 2014
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch has mystery, murder and intrigue which I like in a good book. So I thought I would give this book a try. It is the first in The Gentlemen Bastards series and is definitely a book that will get you hooked and reading the books that follow.

Based in a unique world that has similarities to Venice is the city of Camorr where thieves live in their area, the rich live in their area and an agreement is in place among them. Elderglass towers and ancient relics of an old world are part of the new and a Duke’s army as well as the fabled Spider with the Midnighters enforce justice and peace in the city. The descriptions are amazing and Scott conjures up pictures in our minds of light and dark places, scary events such as criminals fighting sea creatures, and pretty places such as gardens of glass roses. His writing style, descriptions and creation of atmosphere and emotion in the story really hook us in as even though a fantasy world we are there as part of the action.

The story follows Locke Lamora, aka Thorn of Camorr, who is a master in ideas and scheming when it comes to leading his band of friends to steal from the rich. He isn’t Robin Hood though as they keep the riches! What I liked about this story is that we follow him and his friends in the present but there are also flashbacks to how they became who they are and grew to be really good at what they do. Chains, a con artist priest took in Locke and other troubled orphans from the Thiefmaker and taught them how to steal, the rules on this including paying the Capa who rules the underworld, and gives them an education as well as being their father figure. He also teaches them life skills such as cooking. Chains gives them a chance in the world and The Gentlemen Bastards as they are known become a strong team. He also teaches them that each have skills they are better at than others, helps them enhance these and how each can draw on their strengths to help the team. For example, Locke is rubbish at fighting while Jean is much better. But for me it shows that not all heros or main characters of books need to be great at everything. Of course stealing from the rich on a long con isn’t allowed but they break the rules, cover themselves cleverly by showing that they are small time rubbish thieves and no threat. Jean Bug, Calo, Galdo and Locke make up this group and they are not only a team but a family too.

The story follows the group on a long con to con a couple out of their riches. But The Grey King is looming and determined to make life difficult for the Capa by killing off his stronger thief crews. The Grey King knows who Locke is and what they do and uses this to set a trap and take control over the Capa’s empire. His Bondsmage adds a bit of magic to the story and also a lot of danger and malice. Locke and his friends are in a lot of danger and we follow them, all the time wondering how the story will develop and if they will live or die in the end.

Overall the story is brilliant, and a real adventure. It is definitely one of danger, murder, intrigue and ruthlessness. But it is also one of friendship, kindness, courage and bravery. Locke and his friends are strong and determined people but it is sad that they have amassed a huge fortune and don’t know what to do with it. However it shows that they are not driven by money and con people for the enjoyment of it. As much as Locke and Jean are a duo, Jean is my favourite character as he has great fighting skills and his ‘wicked sisters’ axes are brilliant. The fight scene with the twins is bloody but captivating. Even though it is emotional in places I loved how Locke and Jean kept going too. There are so many twists and turns in this story too.

If you like adventure, action and imagining being part of the story, this book is for you. I definitely recommend reading this book and even though I was sad it ended I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Unliterary Locke, 28 Mar 2014
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"The Lies of Locke Lamora" is an excellent idea for a story but one which fails to meet its potential. The story is set in a fantasy city that has more than a passing similarity to Renaissance Venice. The main character is a professional thief and confidence man, a likeable rogue and anti-hero.

Unfortunately the setting is ruined by the insistence of the writer in emphasising fantasy elements that detract from the believability of the city. Some aspects are almost Steampunk in style, borrowing from modern real world ideas and trying to make a fantasy equivalent - for example police badges encased in glass. The more these sort of ideas build up the more the book resembles Terry Pratchett rather than say Mervyn Peake.

The tone of the novel also comes across a bit like a poor copy of Terry Pratchett, with the writers voice seeming to find himself much more clever and witty than he actually appears. This seems to be the main problem with Scott Lynch's writing, he seems unable to detach his own voice from the story. All of the characters in "The Lies of Locke Lamora" speak in modern day colloquialisms which jars badly with the semi-historical setting. And they all sound the same, there is no difference in the speech or personality of any of the main characters.

It's dissapointing as I was looking forward to reading this book. It obviously owes a lot to writers like Henry Fielding and the idea of a gentlemen thief as a main character promised to be more interesting than yet another warrior or wizard. Sadly the quality of the writing is just not good enough to support the initial concept, although the author may improve with experience.
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