The third installment in Lynch’s popular Gentleman Bastard sequence, and the one that took the longest to write (some good five years). This time Jean and Locke find themselves caught in the crunch of Khartani making. Yes, the famous Khartani mages are back, with vengeance!
The novel starts almost exactly where Red Seas Under Red Skies ended, with Locke slowly dying of poison and Jean slowly dying of guilt. And who their final savior could be, if not a Bondsmage, and not just any Bondsmage, but one of the most powerful, brilliant and ruthless of them, who, accidentally, is also Falconer’s mother?
[Should I have put a spoiler alert? Well, I’m sure I have your attention by now :). And I promise no more spoilers (although this one is revealed very early on, so I don’t count it as a real spoiler).]
Because of course, Patience turns out to be not only savior, but also a client of our thieving duo. She has a nice little job for them, a piece of cake compared to what they’ve already been through – they are commissioned to rig an election at Khartain in favor of the magi-backed contenders. There’s only one tiny problem: the magi playing for the other side have their champion already in Khartain – and that champion is Sabetha.
The second installment in Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard sequence, Red Seas Under Red Skies, poses something of a conundrum to me. It’s like Ocean’s Eleven once again – if you saw the movie you know it was made with one thing in mind, and one thing only: fun. Sheer, flamboyant and infectious fun. The movie was illogical, flimsy, with a few really lame jokes, and at times utterly dumb, but if you were in for a ride, you didn’t mind that too much. You just enjoyed it till it lasted.
Lynch’s book is exactly the same. The plot defies logic and treats rational thinking as its greatest enemy. It thrives on old clichés, reusing tropes and ideas from a hundred works of popular culture – from heist movies through Pirates of Caribbean to swashbuckling romances of The Three Musketeers’ provenience. Theft, love and betrayal, numerous fights, confidence games, and ambushes, peppered with a bit of social justice and justification. It written with verve and panache, with enough flair and confidence to almost convince you to its point of view. Almost.
The Lies of Locke Lamora is the first book in the Gentleman Bastard sequence. Not trilogy, not anymore – the plan is for seven books in the series, maybe even more. The book was published in 2006 by Gollancz, and followed a year later by Red Seas Under Red Skies. There was over six-years break between the second and the third installment, and The Republic of Thieves hit the shelves in October 2013, to be followed by The Thorn of Emberlain in 2016. It took some time, as Lynch puts it, to recover his abilities to push the story forward, but recover he did, and the books keep coming. His is one of the rare cases where rights to the first book were purchased when the book was not yet written – Lynch had only sixty pages of it.
But what is the sequence and, more importantly here, the first book about? The title says it all – an individual called Locke Lamora makes a living from cheating everyone and everything. He’s the ultimate Danny Ocean, for he doesn’t need Eleven, or Twelve, or Thirteen. He’s happy with five, and he could do perfectly well with two, himself included.
Making lists is one of the favorite pastimes around the web – and probably not only there. Lists of best books in any given year or month, lists of worst zombie movies ever, etc… It’s as if structuring and prioritizing one’s experience or even group preferences became the best source of available information. Show me your list and I’ll tell you who you really are.
We’ve been mentioning our own lists on the blog at least several times already – the TBR lists, mainly. The problem is, my personal lists are few and far between, and they are not even proper lists with any discernible hierarchy. I have rather sets of items, where each item holds more or less similar position to any other. And even of those I have only two worth mentioning: TBR and TBB.