April 23, 2013

The Lies of Locke Lamora

I am going to try to tell you how amazing this book is, but I will never be able to do it justice.  It's Goodfellas meets The Pirates of the Caribbean meets Ocean's 13 meets Robin Hood/Zorro/Batman.

It's a fantasy but it's also a heist and it's also a revenge tale.  Oh, and the education-of a-thief  tale.  And it has some of the best swearing this side of Shakespeare.

It concerns the education and exploits of the thief Locke Lamora and his crew of Gentleman Bastards.  They are raised an taught the ways of being brilliant con men by a blind, fat priest named Chains who is not blind nor a priest.  He is fat, though.

The main story concerns Lamora and his crew being thwarted by a new bad guy in town who is messing with their big boss.  Some think "The Grey King" is a myth and he certainly seems to do impossible things, but the Gentlemen Bastards know he's all too real.

This tale is intercut with chapters detailing the training of Locke and his brother-in-arms, Jean Tannen.  There are also other brief chapters on relevant background information mostly so you can realize how much trouble Locke is getting himself into.

It's over the top, melodramatic and just plain wonderful.  And while it's the beginning of a series, it's a complete story in itself!  Praise be to Lynch for this!

If you like historical literary fiction, the writings of Charles Dickens, and crime/caper stories, you will have much to enjoy here.  Not great literature, just a whole lot of great fun (with darkness and violence to be sure...)

Some quotes to savor:

“Some day, Locke Lamora,” he said, “some day, you’re going to fuck up so magnificently, so ambitiously, so overwhelmingly that the sky will light up and the moons will spin and the gods themselves will shit comets with glee.  And I just hope that I’m still around to see it.”
“Oh please,” said Locke, “it’ll never happen”.


“... It's perfect! Locke would appreciate it."

"Bug," Calo said, "Locke is our brother and our love for him knows no bounds. But the four most fatal words in the Therin language are 'Locke would appreciate it.'"

"Rivalled only by 'Locke taught me a new trick,'" added Galo.

"The only person who gets away with Locke Lamora games ..."

"... is Locke ..."

"... because we think the gods are saving him up for a really big death. Something with knives and hot irons ..."

"... and fifty thousand cheering spectators.” 


“I cut off his fingers to get him to talk, and when he'd confessed everything I wanted to hear, I had his fucking tongue cut out, and the stump cauterized."

Everyone in the room stared at him.

"I called him an asshole, too," said Locke. "He didn't like that.”