Scott Lynch’s debut novel, The Lies of Locke Lamora, isn’t so much a straightforward fantasy as a witches’ brew of eclectic literary components: a pinch of Alexandre Dumas’s The Three Musketeers, a dash of Robin Hood mythos, a handful of Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, and a heaping helping of adventure fantasy à la R.A. Salvatore all add to this novel’s boisterous, swashbuckling spirit.
Locke Lamora is just a child when a plague leaves him orphaned on the mean streets of Camorr, a city that “has more gangs than it does foul odors.” Lamora quickly masters the tools of the thieving trade — deception and misdirection — and eventually becomes something of a legend as the leader of the Gentlemen Bastards, a band of misfit orphans known for their intellect and street savvy. But in a city ruled by ruthless crime lords — Capa Barsavi, whose shirt buttons are made of victims’ teeth; the Duke’s mysterious henchman, Spider; a ghostlike executioner named the Gray King, et al. — Lamora soon finds himself a pawn in a much larger and deadlier game.
An action-packed tale of revenge and redemption set in a richly described realm reminiscent of Renaissance-era Venice and peopled by a cast of realistically crafted, Machiavellian characters, The Lies of Locke Lamora is easily one of the most impressive fantasy debuts of 2006. Highly recommended.
This is an engrossing tale that pulls you into the world of thieves (and not just any thieves, but thieves who are conning everyone, even the thieves guild). Lynch has created a Renaissance world that is dripping with excess and corruption. Full of canals and waterways, floating cabled gardens, and plot twists, this is a great read.