Title: The Lies of Locke Lamora
Author: Scott Lynch
Publication Date: 12th April 2007
Rating: 4/5 stars
The Thorn of Camorr is said to be an unbeatable swordsman, a master thief, a friend to the poor, a ghost that walks through walls.
Slightly built and barely competent with a sword, Locke Lamora is, much to his annoyance, the fabled Thorn. And while Locke does indeed steal from the rich (who else would be worth stealing from?), the poor never see a penny. All of Locke’s gains are strictly for himself and his tight-knit band of thieves: The Gentlemen Bastards.
The capricious, colourful underworld of the ancient city of Camorr is the only home they’ve ever known. But now a clandestine war is threatening to tear it apart. Caught up in a murderous game, Locke and his friends are suddenly struggling just to stay alive…
I started this a while ago, but was in a reading slump and only got 50 pages in…. I didn’t feel like picking it up again until now, but man was I missing out! This is a great fantasy story dealing with the criminal underworld of the fictional city of Camorr, and the characters, particularly Locke Lamora, are brilliant.
There are two story lines – Locke’s current life, as the Thorn of Camorr, a master thief, and his early life, as an apprentice to The Gentlemen Bastards. Both are good fun, though I preferred reading the present story line. The gang warfare in the medieval-sequel underground attracted my interest, far more than Locke’s training.
In the present-day story, there are two main plot lines to follow. There is Locke’s current swindle, an elaborate plan designed to both rob the rich and leave them feeling ridiculously foolish. But he is definitely no Robin Hood figure – the money is not given to the poor; it is kept for The Gentlemen Bastards’ own coffers. They are so rich that they do not need to run these games; the Bastards appear to enjoy the thrill of the game more than the outcome.
The second story line follows the Capa, the leader of the criminal underworld, and his fear of an usurper, the Gray King, who has been killing his most loyal generals. He has become withdrawn and reclusive, which breeds distrust in the community. He relies increasingly on Locke, who is a friend of his daughter, Nazca, a brilliant character. I also really liked that all of the Capa’s children had bad eyesight – it was refreshing to see bad-ass gang members who needed their glasses!
There is a certain female character with whom Locke has some kind of past – she is referenced often, yet we never actually meet her. I got a bit annoyed that Lynch didn’t delve into that particular part of Locke’s backstory with the number of times he raised it! Apparently there is more about this girl in the next book, but I wanted it in this one!
The style is a little bit difficult to reconcile yourself with – it is the reason I gave the book a four, even though I really loved the story. I felt that the story didn’t flow particularly well in some parts and occasionally the jump between past and present was a bit abrupt. It still took me a while to get into – those first fifty pages are a bit of a killer! But the story is worth the perseverance! I am definitely looking forward to reading the next two books in the series!