The Lies of Locke Lamora

The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch

Brilliant fantasy adventure set in a world reminiscent of Venice, the language is strong and fierce, for these ARE Gentleman Bastards in every sense of the word.  Lynch is obviously a fan of historical novels

Cover of the Lies of Locke Lamora
Cover of The Lies of Locke Lamora

this book reads like Oliver Twist, the Count of Monte Cristo and perhaps most of all, the Godfather. Our hero is definitely cast from the same mould as the Gray Mouser, Hanse/Shadowspawn and the artful Dodger  - a rogue of the highest order. He may be useless with a sword (how refreshing is that in fantasy) but he can lie, cheat, steal and swindle with consummate flair. He reminds me of Lestat, so arrogant that you ought to hate him but you can’t help loving him. The rest of the cast are beautifully drawn, in some scenes they feel a little archetypal  but it doesn’t detract at all. By the end of the book  I felt Cliffhanger Fear – I’ve had it before… author fails to tie up all the threads of a novel calling it a cliffhanger so that you have to wait for book two. Lynch, wonderfully doesn’t do that though. It’s a harum scarum dash to the finish with banquet scenes, death defying leaps, plots to destroy the city foiled and deadly duels fought.

I’ve finished a Matthew Reilly recently and it was too high octane, too much rush and no pause, let or rhythm to let the reader recover. I found it frustrating because I wanted to love the book but just couldn’t. Lynch doesn’t make that mistake, he lets the action pause with characters licking their wounds, cuts to other scenes or flashbacks to our Lying Bastard rogue’s childhood. It works because when the action cuts back in you find yourself reeling again. Lynch doesn’t pull his punches, people get hurt here and you find yourself caring.

It’s been a while since a book made me desperate to read book 2, but this one has done it. Roll on  Red Seas under Red Skies….

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