What is it about heists and cons that we love so much?
Well, we love them in our fiction. Whether it’s a book, a tv show or a movie, we love heists and cons. Especially when the ones doing the job are actually “the good guys”. Like in The Italian Job or Ocean’s Eleven.
Or, the not-so-good-good-guys called the Gentlemen Bastards. This (planned) seven-book series is being written by Scott Lynch. The series, The Gentleman Bastard Sequence starts in The Lies of Locke Lamora (2006).
Locke is kind of an alternate universe Robin Hood. He steals from the rich. To give to himself. And he used to be poor, so you know, it kind of works.
The synopsis for The Lies of Locke Lamora hits all the right notes to promise a snarky, hilarious, and intricate, game-filled story.
The Thorn of Camorr is said to be an unbeatable swordsman, a master thief, a ghost that walks through walls. Half the city believes him to be a legendary champion of the poor. The other half believe him to be a foolish myth. Nobody has it quite right.
Slightly built, unlucky in love, and barely competent with a sword, Locke Lamora is, much to his annoyance, the fabled Thorn. He certainly didn’t invite the rumors that swirl around his exploits, which are actually confidence games of the most intricate sort. And while Locke does indeed steal from the rich (who else, pray tell, would be worth stealing from?), the poor never see a penny of it. All of Locke’s gains are strictly for himself and his tight-knit band of thieves, the Gentlemen Bastards.
Locke and company are con artists in an age where con artistry, as we understand it, is a new and unknown style of crime. The less attention anyone pays to them, the better! But a deadly mystery has begun to haunt the ancient city of Camorr, and a clandestine war is threatening to tear the city’s underworld, the only home the Gentlemen Bastards have ever known, to bloody shreds. Caught up in a murderous game, Locke and his friends will find both their loyalty and their ingenuity tested to the breaking point as they struggle to stay alive…
The Gentleman Bastards
My husband started reading The Gentleman Bastards before we started dating. Once we were married, he loaned me his kobo and made sure I read The Lies of Locke Lamora. He warned me that they were a little uncouth in places, but that that is to be expected from a bunch of street kids turned artist-thieves.
And that’s just what Locke and the Gentlemen Bastards are – artists practicing the art of thievery. Each of their jobs is meticulously planned, intricate, and many layered. And, they are freaking hilarious.
But don’t worry, this book is also an emotional rollercoaster. It sounds cliche, but I really did laugh and cry and scream in anger, and scream in shock. Over and over again. The story is so, so good. The writing is so, so good. Scott Lynch knows how to worldbuild.
This book is so good, George R.R. Martin (Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones) blurbed it.
“This is a fresh, original, and engrossing tale by a bright new voice in the fantasy genre. Locke Lamora makes for an engaging rogue, and Camorr a fascinating and gorgeously realized setting, a city to rival Lankhmar, Amber, and Viriconium. I look forward to returning there for many more visits.”
– George R.R. Martin
I liked book one, The Lies of Locke Lamora, so much, that I immediately started reading book two, Red Seas Under Red Skies (2007). Red Seas continues Locke’s story, his adventures and misadventures. And I liked Locke and his friends even more. So, I started reading book three, The Republic of Thieves (2013). Go ahead, click those links and read the synopses for those two books.
If you’re not sure yet if you want to read this series, don’t fret.
You can try it for free. And no, you don’t have to wait for a hold from your library.
Go to Scott Lynch’s website to download and read the 9,000 word Prologue of The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards 1). You can also download and read the first 40,000 of Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastards 2). (And no, I wasn’t sponsored to write this post. I just really like these books and can’t wait for the new one.)
Cover love…or not.
If you’re usually a YA reader, you might not be a fan of these covers. But, keep in mind, they very much fit into the Fantasy section in your bookstore. Locke is young, so there are some definite YA elements to these books, but they are not YA. They are full-on Fantasy.
Believe me, I’m a totally cover-judgy book picker. But The Lies of Locke Lamora was recommended to me by a trusted source, so I went with it. I probably would never have picked it up on my own. But I’m so glad I did.
The Thorn of Emberlain
In August of that year, Lynch posted on his blog that the book would be delayed until 2016.
Then, at some point the release date was moved to April 2017 (which is what I wrote about in January). But, if you do a bit of googling, you’ll see that it wasn’t published.
Lynch posted on his Tumbler in December 2016 that he still needed to finish the ending and do some revising of certain parts of the book. Then, in February 2017 said to look for a big update at the end of the month. Alas, I couldn’t find that update. All I could find was a note about having seven things to talk about, but wanting to talk about them all at once when he had permission. His tumbler has been quiet since March. His website and Twitter have no update on the publication fate of The Thorn of Emberlain either.
So, what are we to do? Keep waiting for The Thorn of Emberlain.
As much as those of us who have read the first three Gentleman Bastards books hate it, we just have to keep waiting. If you’re a fan of Patrick Rothfuss’ The Kingkiller Chronicle, you’ll be familiar with years and years between books.
Chapters-Indigo states The Thorn of Emberlain is scheduled to be released October 9, 2018. That is three years later than the earliest date I could find online. And we don’t have a real reason why. Based on Lynch’s Twitter feed, I’m going to guess that some of the delay is due to the political situation in the USA.