A review of the ‘Gentleman Bastard’ series
By Bridget Ivery, Contributor
I have recently finished reading the first three books of Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard series, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Unfortunately, the fourth book doesn’t come out until October 2018, so I have to satisfy myself with getting all of you hooked on them, too.
The first book in the series, The Lies of Locke Lamora, takes place in the fictional city of Camorr, a fantastical version of Renaissance Venice where gangs of thieves rule the streets and noblemen and women live in high glass towers built by the ancient and mysterious Eldren. The novel follows two storylines, one telling the early development of the titular thief Locke Lamora as he’s introduced to the life of a Gentleman Bastard, while the second follows Locke and his friends, now young adults, as the city’s underground faces peril from the ruthless Grey King. The story picks up speed as Locke races to outwit the Grey King and the Camorri nobility in an effort to save his friends and the city he calls home, and still come out on top as he tries to pull off a con at the same time.
Red Seas Under Red Skies is the second book in the series. Taking place two years after the end of the first book, Locke and his best friend Jean are looking to make the biggest heist of their careers. Their target: The Sinspire of Tal Verrar, an Elderglass tower full of gambling and luxury with a reportedly unbreakable vault. The thieves’ past catches up with them, though, and complications send them out to sea. Part heist movie, part pirate adventure, this one is a tonne of fun. Like the first book, it skips back and forth from the past to the present, showing how they prepare for the heist but never quite revealing the plan. The ending is another mad dash, as all the plot elements come crashing together, and it keeps you guessing right to the finish.
The third book of the Gentleman Bastard is The Republic of Thieves. It picks up almost immediately after Red Seas Under Red Skies, and it follows Locke and Jean as they enter the world of politics in Karthain, the city of the infamous Bondsmagi. Feared for once having destroyed an empire, the Bondsmagi have hired Locke and Jean to fix an election. Much to their surprise, their rival in this contest is another Gentleman Bastard, or I should say Lady: Sabetha, Locke’s childhood love, is introduced in this novel. In similar style to the first two books, the storylines of the present election and the characters’ pasts together run parallel, each coming to a crescendo at about the same time.
The Republic of Thieves, which I originally thought was the end of the trilogy, left me craving more. Locke and Jean, and perhaps Sabetha, will appear in the next novel, The Thorn of Emberlain. War has broken out in the northern kingdoms, and the Gentlemen Bastards hope to run a con but are soon pulled into the fighting—and poor Locke was never very good with a sword!
From the first chapter of The Lies of Locke Lamora I was hooked on these books, and I hope you will find them as page-turningly wonderful as I have.