THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA by Scott Lynch is an original, fun, and detailed fantasy caper-adventure.
As you’d guess given the title, this is the tale of Locke Lamora, the young orphan who rose to become the leader of the Gentlemen Bastards, the smallest, cleverest, and most successful group of con artists in Camorr (a Venice-like city on a secondary world), going so far as to run a con against local nobles and the crime boss himself.
Unfortunately, the Gray King has come to Camorr and is picking off leaders of the Camorri gangs. And next on his list? Locke Lamora. And from there, the Gray King has his sites on taking over the Camorri criminal underworld. Unless the Gentlemen Bastards can stop the Gray King, that is.
Lynch weaves interludes into this main story: tales of Camorr, Locke’s youth, and the training of the Gentlemen Bastards. These are largely entertaining, but sometimes they border on infodumps (albeit highly colorful and entertaining infodumps). And I did have an issue with the overall pacing. As this is a caper story, something has to go wrong and screw up Locke’s con game. I was nearly 1/3 of the way through the book before the Gray King plot became a big issue for the Bastards.
Of course, I had raced through that 1/3 because I enjoyed this world and the story. The characters are amusing, and the team dynamic is well crafted. Additionally, I loved Camorr. It’s a vicious, romantic, and cinematic locale that leads itself to an over the top adventure tale.
THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA is not without its faults, but the positive qualities of the characterization, world building, and the story telling. I read this story on the beach, and I couldn’t have asked for a more entertaining tale.