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The Lies of Locke Lamora

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The Lies of Locke Lamora Cover

ISBN13: 9780553804676
ISBN10: 0553804677
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Author Q & A

Scott Lynch on The Lies of Locke Lamora

Beautiful whenever possible. Cruel whenever necessary.

I suppose that's the easiest way of describing the sort of fantasy I most enjoy, and the sort I very much wanted The Lies of Locke Lamora to be. Beautiful, because there are few things more boring than an alternate world without a spark of passion and inventiveness in its descriptions. And cruel, because it feels less self-indulgent that way, and much more like a real life for the characters on the page. Is it any wonder I appreciate George R.R. Martin's recent work so much? Heh.

There's beauty to be found in Camorr, a city of eighty-eight thousand souls on the shore of the Iron Sea. Camorr is an old place, originally built by a vanished race with frightening powers, and the city has yet to surrender all of its secrets to the human beings who claim it now. While Camorr has become a place of stone and wood and squalor, its founders left gardens, towers, artifacts, bridges, and labyrinths, all forged from ageless and unbreakable glass, for humanity to puzzle over. Alien glass knits the city together, forming its bones and sinews, allowing me to sprinkle in a variety of wonders far beyond the ability of Locke's people to build for themselves.

As for cruelty, well, you need look no further than the city's underworld—the thieves and hijackers, muggers and murderers, beggars and bosses who collectively refer to themselves as the Right People. Organized crime can be a colorful thing to write about, and I wanted that color, that pageantry, that surface atmosphere of camaraderie and slick charm. But I also wanted it to be little deeper than a film of oil on water... when you're part of a mob, your continued existence is only tolerated as long as you make money for the people above you in the hierarchy. You're only "part of the family" as long as you pay your tribute on time, every time. That's how things work under the reign of Vencarlo Barsavi, undisputed capa of Camorr, bloody-handed ruler of three thousand Right People. Barsavi is the quintessential mob boss, stately and charming at will yet capable of vicious murder for the most petty reasons. Barsavi doesn't chuckle amusedly at those who defy his rules; he feeds them to his pet sharks.

Naturally, our story revolves around a small group of people who live to defy Barsavi's rules.

Enter Locke Lamora and his gang of fellow miscreants, the Gentlemen Bastards. Locke and his friends are one of Barsavi's smaller, quieter, more trustworthy gangs. They pay their tribute on time, every time, supposedly financed by their night jobs as perfectly respectable sneak thieves. In reality, Locke and company are con artists... young geniuses of the art in a world where "con artistry" as we understand it is not yet generally known. In direct contravention of Capa Barsavi's wishes, they secretly fleece Camorr's wealthy aristocrats with convoluted scheme after convoluted scheme, be it posing as mediums capable of contacting dead loved ones, or sellers of titles to imaginary lands, or transporters of vast quantities of imaginary liquor. If discovered by the authorities, they would be sought by the Spider, the Duke of Camorr's mysterious spymaster. If discovered by their fellow criminals, they would be butchered without mercy on Capa Barsavi's orders.

It's a complicated life, with a razor-thin margin for error. The last thing it needs is an all-new, bigger, deadlier complication to mess things up... a murderous antagonist with unpleasant plans for Locke and his friends.

But what sort of author would I be if I didn't provide one?

Poor Locke. His life is beautiful whenever possible, cruel whenever necessary.

The Lies of Locke Lamora is, I suppose, not what you might call an easy book for everyone. It's got its fair share of blood and grue when things start to go wrong, and the story of a confidence game begins to mix with the story of a long-planned revenge. It's also got a degree of colorful language beyond what you might expect from most fantasy... Locke and his associates are gangsters, and on many occasions they speak as gangsters should. Inasmuch as it's a book about crime and violence, it's also a book about the consequences of both. But past the clatter of steel on steel, past the blood and betrayal, I hope you'll find a portrait of a city to remember, and a portrait of a tight-knit band of friends worth remembering, and a portrait of a flawed but brilliant criminal worth following as his life unfolds.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

SpoonFIsh, January 20, 2013 (view all comments by SpoonFIsh)
A Fantastic read
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dthewriter, June 29, 2006 (view all comments by dthewriter)
Sincererly, one of the best books I have ever read. I don't read much fantasy or science fiction, but this had the perfect blend of adventure, emotion and theivery along with some twists and turns I wasn't expecting. The old-venice like landscape of Camorr is exciting and dangerous and as I read it, I felt I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Harry Potter was imaginative and fun, but this...this has blood and grit, and a true story as opposed to a simple "who-dunnit" type mystery. Hope this review sheds some light and sorry if I sounded like a Locke Lamora geek...this book series is turning me into one.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780553804676
Publisher:
Spectra
Subject:
Fantasy - General
Author:
Scott Lynch
Subject:
Robbers and outlaws
Subject:
Orphans
Subject:
Fantasy - Epic
Subject:
Brigands and robbers
Subject:
Gangsters
Publication Date:
20060627
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
512
Dimensions:
9.3 x 6.2 x 1.5 in 1.8 lb

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z

The Lies of Locke Lamora
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 512 pages Bantam Books - English 9780553804676 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser would have felt right at home with the Gentleman Bastards. They're not out to save the world, just their own skins...oh, and to relieve some nobles of their gold, jewels, and silks along the way. This is a fresh, original, and engrossing tale by a bright new voice in the fantasy genre....Locke Lamora makes for an engaging rogue, and Camorr a fascinating and gorgeously realized setting, a city to rival Lankhmar, Amber, and Viriconium....look forward to returning there for many more visits."
"Review" by , "Lynch's first novel...calls forth a highly motivated, determined, and sympathetic hero whose antics and knack for derring-do should appeal to fans of Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos novels."
"Review" by , "Scott Lynch is a con man, a conjuror, a wickedly entertaining juggler of words with knives up his sleeves and hatchets down his back. By the time you realize he's dangerous, you're already bleeding. The Lies of Locke Lamora is a ticket inside the astonishing city-state Camorr, and a free pass into the company of the entirely extraordinary Gentleman Bastards, and a match for any fantasy adventure I've ever read. The best news is: it's Book One. That means there'll be more."
"Review" by , "Among the year's most impressive debuts...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. Fans of lavishly appointed fantasy will be in seventh heaven here, but it will be nearly as popular with readers of literary crime fiction."
"Synopsis" by , Debut author Lynch pens a witty and fast-paced narrative that is nearly as much of a con as the wily schemes of its hero.
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