The Lies of Locke Lamora is the first book in the Gentleman Bastard series Scott Lynch. I came across this book at a B&N and purchased it on a whim. I’m glad I did. The book is based in Camorr, a fictional city similar in my mind to Venice–but bigger and much more chaotic and lawless. The hero of the book, Locke Lamora, is an orphan that ends up in the care of a respectable rascal by the name Chains. Chains is a thief who forms a gang of youth and trains them in the fine art of confidence games. His goal is for them to one day destroy Capa Barsavi–the man who brought all the gangs of Camorr under his thumb and rules them with an iron fist. The book is entertaining from the first page. After the characters and the scene have been set, Locke and his fellow Gentleman Bastards Jean Tannen, the twins Calo and Galdo Sanza as well as Bug, their apprentice, go about running a con on one of Camorr’s wealthiest citizens — Don Lorenzo Salvara. Their con has multiple layers to it and begins perfectly. In the middle of the con, they get interrupted by a war that breaks out between Barsavi and the Gray King. Locke owes allegience to Barsavi but is unwillingly co-opted into working with the Gray King through blackmail. Then their con gets even more disrupted by the appearance of the actual Spider of Camorr, who just happens to be one of the people Locke Lamora was pretending to be in the con the Gentleman Bastards are running. I could go on, but I don’t want to ruin the story if you haven’t read it yet.
The plot is incredibly fantastic and the characters are a delight. Don’t read the book if swearing and foul language bother you–swearing must be a fine art in Camorr because the characters swear like sailors. The writing is smooth and fast paced. The main plot is interspersed with flashbacks to the training of the Gentleman Bastards through their youth. This is a great swashbuckling read if you enjoy fantasy and action. I thing the thing I enjoyed most about this book is the structure of the book. Lynch has done an amazing job with this one and I look forward to reading the next few books in the series.