Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Gentleman Bastard #1

The Lies of Locke Lamora

Rate this book
In this stunning debut, author Scott Lynch delivers the wonderfully thrilling tale of an audacious criminal and his band of confidence tricksters. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part "Robin Hood", one part Ocean's Eleven, and entirely enthralling...

An orphan's life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest.

A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected "family" of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.

Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld's most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful — and more ambitious — than Locke has yet imagined.

Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi's most trusted men — and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr's underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game — or die trying...

499 pages, Hardcover

First published June 1, 2006

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Scott Lynch

56 books24k followers
I was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on April 2, 1978, the first of three brothers. I've lived in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area my entire life; currently, just across the border in Wisconsin, about half an hour east of the Twin Cities.

The Lies of Locke Lamora, my first novel, was bought by Simon Spanton at Orion Books in August, 2004. Prior to that I had just about every job you usually see in this sort of author bio-- dishwasher, busboy, waiter, web designer, office manager, prep cook, and freelance writer. I trained in basic firefighting at Anoka Technical College in 2005, and became a volunteer firefighter in June of that year.

In 2007 The Lies of Locke Lamora was a World Fantasy Award finalist.

In 2008 I received the Sydney J. Bounds Best Newcomer Award from the British Fantasy Society.

In 2010, I lost a marriage but gained a cat, a charming ball of ego and fuzz known as Muse (Musicus Maximus Butthead Rex I).

My partner, the lovely and critically acclaimed SF/F writer Elizabeth Bear, lives in Massachusetts.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
145,670 (52%)
4 stars
87,017 (31%)
3 stars
29,529 (10%)
2 stars
9,086 (3%)
1 star
5,199 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 19,047 reviews
Profile Image for Petrik.
675 reviews43k followers
July 31, 2022
I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRjh...

The Lies of Locke Lamora is a double fuckdamn for me. First, for postponing reading this book for such a long time. Second, Scott Lynch’s capability to successfully craft such an incredible debut exceeded my expectations.

“There’s no freedom quite like the freedom of being constantly underestimated.”

Together with The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and Malice by John Gwynne, The Lies of Locke Lamora—the first book in the Gentleman Bastard sequence—has become one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read so far. This and the other debuts I just mentioned are completely different from each other in terms of content and writing style, but quality-wise they’re all the same: exceptionally stunning.

Picture: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Edward Miller

In The Lies of Locke Lamora, we follow a group of elite con artists called the Gentleman Bastards. Led by their leader, Locke Lamora (the infamous Thorn of Camorr), the story begins with the gang trying to pull off the biggest heist they ever attempted. This heist, as you can probably predict, eventually lead them into something much bigger and dangerous than what they’ve signed up for. There was no shortage of dark humor and profane langue thrown around, and at first, this might cause you into thinking that this is a light-hearted book. But as the story progressed, the tone of the story increasingly turned darker, and the complexity of the storyline improved; the intensity of the plot grew gradually towards reaching a marvelous climax sequence. Equally plot and character-driven, Lynch has created a multi-layered narrative within his unforgettable debut, and every recipe required for a compelling heist fantasy was fulfilled. I personally think that The Lies of Locke Lamora could, and would’ve, worked magnificently as one standalone novel. If Lynch had decided to not continue the series after this, I honestly would’ve been satisfied with what I’ve read here, and I also would’ve called this one of the greatest standalone novels—with no sequels—of all time. However, knowing that the Gentleman Bastard sequence is planned to be a seven-book series, I will rejoice and cheers to that fucking grand menu. We’re only at the appetizer here, we still have a full course to look forward to, and the taste has been spectacularly delicious already.

“You're one third bad intentions, one third pure avarice, and one eighth sawdust. What's left, I'll credit, must be brains.”

The storytelling structure is arranged in a slightly similar fashion to The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss. This doesn’t mean there’s a chronicler in the present timeline writing Locke Lamora’s life here, but the narrative did shifts between the present and the past timeline. However, contrary to The Kingkiller Chronicle, the jumping back and forth between two timelines definitely happened more frequently within The Lies of Locke Lamora. The Interludes sections function as the past timelines, and these Interludes occurred at the end of almost every chapter. I loved the Interludes chapters; Lynch used the Interludes sections to terrifically cultivate the character’s background, personality, and developments. And, to sweeten things even further, several aspects of the world-building were also explored within these chapters. The juxtaposition of these two timelines created a superlative result in bringing a superbly-written story enhanced by incredibly addictive pacing. Seriously, the relatively slow start to the novel signified the calm before the storm; after one hundred pages, it was pretty much impossible for me to stop reading as the plot thickens. I actually read three hundred pages of the book within a day right after I got back from work. Sleeping hours were sacrificed, and did I regret it? No, I’ll gladly do it again on my future reread of this book.

Picture: The Lies of Locke Lamora (French edition cover art)

The Gentleman Bastards is one of the most lovable gangs I ever had the pleasure of knowing out of every storytelling medium. The six individuals trained by Father Chains that formed this group consists of Locke Lamora (the garrista/leader of the group,) Jean Tannen (the brute,) Calo and Galdo Sanza (the jack-of-all-trades identical twins,) Bug (the overlooked young apprentice,) and Sabetha (she didn’t make an appearance in this book) were characters that made me feel invested in their journey. Their genius scheming, their engaging interactions, and the wholesome brotherhood they have with each other was immensely entertaining. Just within the first one hundred pages, I was already head over heels with these characters. Laughing while reading a high fantasy novel can be considered a rare occasion for me, and these characters managed to pull that off several times throughout the whole book with their amazingly humorous banter. I was going to put a quote here, but I think it would be better for you to read and find out by yourself; they’re all golden.

Picture: The Lies of Locke Lamora (Japanese edition cover art)

One brilliant thing to note—among many—about Lynch’s prose is the creativity in profanity. There’s a myriad of swearing, cursed words, and mockery I never even had the imagination to ever think of; this book is pretty much filled with them. I personally loved them; they were eloquent, full of sass, and highly appropriate for the overall story and setting of the book. Profanity included, I found Lynch’s prose in every factor of the book to be intricate and well-delivered; the heists, the brutal actions, the dialogues, the politics, and the settings were all vivid in my mind’s eye.

“We’re a different sort of thief here, Lamora. Deception and misdirection are our tools. We don’t believe in hard work when a false face and a good line of bullshit can do so much more.”

I can’t stress this highly enough, the world-building was brilliantly detailed. The setting in The Lies of Locke Lamora takes place in the city of Camorr, a city inspired by medieval Venice with its canals and Falselight—lights that illuminate the city during a period of the night. The setting, mixed with elements of high fantasy, was gorgeous and breathtaking. With the addition of the bloody history of Camorr, the stylish fashions plus the intricate description of food, liquors, appearances, and tastes, Lynch did a fantastic job in bringing the world-building and the city of Camorr to life. Being in Camorr with these characters played a huge factor in why I’m enamored with this book, and I will definitely revisit this place again in the future.

Picture: The Lies of Locke Lamora (Chinese edition cover art)

I could probably end this review by telling you that this book is overrated, or maybe I could tell you that it didn’t meet my expectation, but these statements would belong in a gallery of blasphemy called The Lies of Petrik Leo. Truthfully speaking, this cleverly crafted book deserves all the fame and praise it has received, and more. The Lies of Locke Lamora is effortlessly one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read, simple as that. It will be difficult for the rest of the series to top this one, but I'm definitely eager to find out. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the rest of the series will continue to awe me with the same quality of ingenious content that never fails to steal my attention from cover to cover here. I absolutely recommend The Lies of Locke Lamora to every reader of adult high fantasy. Original, engrossing, emotional, and devastatingly impactful; this extremely well-written tale of avarice and brotherhood is a treasure of gold, and you will want your share of it.

“To us — richer and cleverer than everyone else!”

You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping) | Bookshop (Support Local Bookstores!)

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions

Special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewing!

My Patrons: Alfred, Alya, Annabeth, Devin, Diana, Hamad, Jimmy Nutts, Joie, Michelle, Mike, Miracle, Nicholas, Zoe.
Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews153k followers
August 15, 2022
My legs are so toned from climbing the stairs back to a higher moral ground after reading this novel, because phew... these morally empty heist stories are really raising some uncomfortable questions about my sense of morality.

The Lies of Locke Lamora, not-so-delicately traces the path back to the past of Locke Lamora, beginning with The Thiefmaker who—after waking up to the realization that the Lamora orphan could be underestimated only at great peril to one’s health—sells him to Chains, the faking Eyeless Priest. Chains takes Locke under his criminal wing in what could only be considered a spectacular act of deathbed vengeance, and for years, he represses Locke’s unrelenting capacity for conniving and guides him into cultivating a keenly honed ability to bullshit, wide-eyed and plausibly and at the drop of a hat. The novel then travels back to the present day where Locke and his band of bonkers and bitingly likeable thieves are in the midst of their latest, and biggest, con of the nobility of the land of Camorr.

With each successful con, however, fate’s bowstring seems to be drawing taut and Locke (also the reader) is waiting for the moment when all hell breaks loose. For many pages, hell seems content to stay bound…. until Camorr’s long, dark time tracks Locke down. The newly-arrived Gray King is assassinating gang leaders and the secret police of Camorr's legendary Spider is hunting down Locke. The city of Camorr has upended the board, and Locke Lamora is one of the scattered pieces. One, it seems, can only get so far on their aptitude to bullshit.

“Someday, Locke Lamora,” he said, “someday, 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 I’m still around to see it.”
“Oh please,” said Locke. “It’ll never happen.”

Having recently read (and enjoyed the heck out of) Six of Crows, The Lies of Locke Lamora strikes me as the grown-up version of the former novel, with a darker mad cap humor fun, a bigger torrent of polysyllabic profanity, though (to my eternal dismay) less women. And while Kaz Brekker comes off as a grizzled, hard-bitten, 40-year-old black-and-white film noir anti-hero crammed into the body of a teenager, Locke Lamora is the chill dude-bro who actually knows how to have fun.

There's a great deal to enjoy in The Lies of Locke Lamora. The world of Camorr is solidly-crafted and bursting with detail and the vivid, oftentimes violent, action unfolds slowly, propelled by political machinations and anchored in complex character development. It's heavy stuff, full of blood and murder and a terrible clear-eyed certainty that Locke’s reckoning had finally come, but it's leavened by the snarking banter between the leads. (Seriously, this book is hilarious.)

The Lies of Locke Lamora also has magic in bounds and mysteries by the minute and the best part is that just when you think you've seen the explosion and let your guard down a little, another one happens. There were moments of victory where I whooped with joy, and there were moments of absolute terror, where everything seems as though it will fall apart. And I think this book works because Locke is such an interesting character, and the author constantly keeps you off guard as to his truths and intent.

I also loved how the author never takes the easy way out. He puts many obstacles both physical and emotional in the characters’ path, tortures the hell out of them and makes them better characters for it. Locke is one brilliant son of a bitch—he seems unthreatening and eccentric, until one understood what deep power lay behind his frail facade. However, he’s not beyond going under, pulled along by currents he can’t control and does not understand. The world did not always bend to Locke Lamora, it did not always fit into his order of things, and that felt a lot more realistic.

All in all, I really enjoyed this novel. I never know where Lynch was going to take us, in this world of thieves and blood and revenge, but I am more than happy to continue along the journey with him.
Profile Image for Patrick.
Author 62 books232k followers
October 10, 2013
Back when I was first published, people made a lot of comparisons between me and Scott Lynch.

The sentiment was mostly along the lines of "Pat Rothfuss is the next Scott Lynch!"

Here's the thing, Lies of Lock Lamora had come out almost exactly a year before my first book, The Name of the Wind. It was Scott's first book, the first in a fantasy series. The world was gritty and real, and it had knocked everyone over with how good it was.

So I knew it was a flattering comparison, but at the time, I was kinda irked by it. I remember thinking, "Why do I have to be the next Scott Lynch? Why can't I just be the first Pat Rothfuss? I'll probably be a lot better at that, I've got way more experience at it if nothing else...."

Years later I finally got around to reading Lies and enjoyed it. I saw that it was a clever book, and gritty, with a cool world. And there was an orphan boy in it who was a witty, mouthy thief. A while after that, I met Scott and really liked him as well. So I let go of what little residual irritation I had, not that there was very much...

Fast forward to now. This last week I started re-reading Lies, and I was absolutely fucking *stunned* by how good it is. The construction of it. The language. The world. The cleverness. The wit.

There is nothing I don't like in this book. Seriously. Okay. Fine. One tiny *tiny* quibble.

Even so, do you know how rare it is for me to say that? Right now, in the full flush of this second reading, I think Lies is probably in e in my top ten favorite books ever. Maybe my top five.

It's not really fair to compare the two books. They're different styles. Different subjects. Different worlds.

That said, here's the things that The Lies of Locke Lamora does better than The Name of the Wind.

1. The beginning of his book is stronger than mine.

Seriously. 50 pages into my book, you'll have reached the point where someone is starting to actually tell a story.

50 pages into Lies, you know the main character and are halfway into a fucking heist.

2. His title is better than mine.

Don't get me wrong. The Name of the Wind is a good title, it's the *right* title for my book. But "The Lies of Lock Lamora" that's a faboo title right there.

And his series title is better than mine too. "Gentleman Bastard" beats "Kingkiller Chronicles" hands-down.

3. His cussing is better than mine.

Not in real life. In real life I cuss like a sailor. But the language in my books is pretty genteel and tame.

In Lies, Lynch's low-life street thugs are vulgarian virtuosos. This might seem like a little thing, but it's not. It builds the world. It shows character. It helps make the story feel truly, perfectly grubby and real.

Here it is in a nutshell: When I was first published, I was irritated when people compared me to Scott Lynch. Only now do I realize how huge a compliment I was being given.

If you haven't read it, you should. If you have read it, you should probably read it again....
Profile Image for Mark Lawrence.
Author 72 books51k followers
July 4, 2022
So, I was surprised to discover we owned this book, since it's a very well known book but nobody in my house had ever mentioned it to me.

Turns out my wife bought it, tried it, found it too slow, and gave up. I've convinced her to give it another go.

I enjoyed Locke Lamora and his lies quite a bit. Immediately I liked the writing, which combines wit with solid prose. Like my wife I hit a bit of a soft patch early on, though for me it was that I was finding the point of view very 'surface' sharing almost nothing of Locke's thoughts or desires, leaving him a bit of a blank. Lots of fantasy fans quite like a blank to project themselves onto - but I'm not one of them. Fortunately Locke's personality continued to develop and the point of view seemed to settle a little deeper into him as things progressed.

The real strengths of the book are the plotting, the dialogue, and the atmosphere. The dialogue (banter) brings the Gentlemen Bastards to life, the plotting keeps the reader on their toes, and the city is very well imagined.

I was surprised to find that the light-hearted tone (set primarily by the banter between Locke's gang) actually allows a slew of quite dark themes/scenes to slide past with less impact than they might have. The child prostitution, the gruesome torture scenes, and the mutilation dealt out by our hero are all absent in my own début which is often called out for being very dark.

In any event, I found it to be a rewarding read, well written, and entertaining. I'd recommend any fantasy fan to give it a try.

Join my Patreon
Join my 3-emails-a-year newsletter #prizes

Profile Image for Regan.
366 reviews109k followers
October 9, 2019

I dunno maybe I'll try again at a later date. This is strange because it wasn't because I didn't like this book but more that I didn't have any drive to finish it. I had no connection with any of the characters and I found myself not caring about the story either.

5 Years later...

Past Regan was so wrong this book was SO GOOD
Profile Image for Michael.
274 reviews764 followers
January 26, 2010
Ocean's Eleven was great and everything, but know what would've made it cooler? If the setting had been during the late middle ages, possibly the Renaissance. Better yet, a fantasy world version of the Renaissance with an intricate system of magic and a complex set of political conspiracies to add some flair. And what if the city was built upon the ruins of an earlier city, and the earlier city was built by some enigmatic science fiction creatures that have since disappeared?

And if instead of a handsome, tepid and understated George Clooney in the lead, we had a short guy who can't swordfight a whit, and has a bit of an anger management issue? And he drops unexpected one-liners that make you literally laugh out loud while you're in the breakroom at work and suddenly everyone is looking at you like you're psycho? What if the character went to the Mel Gibson school of Masochism, requiring he gets beat to a bloody pulp and stabbed and drowned in horse urine...oh, I don't know....several times per story arc? How about this character (we'll call him Locke) is absolutely fallible and occasionally screws up on a cosmic level? The kind of screw-up that would get someone less clever killed in mere seconds? And what if, improbably, this protagonist somehow escapes and still--in a manner of speaking--wins?

That sounds like fun. But, it COULD end up a little predictable. So, the author should be a recent graduate of the George R R Martin School of Bumping Off Prominent Characters (Yes, these schools do exist). And the con game Locke is building should hit tons of snags that continue raising the stakes and drawing in new, more dangerous characters, increasing the risk until you just can't stop reading even to put out house fires for the last couple hundred pages. And then, when somehow the Gentlemen Bastards emerge on the other side, coated in their own blood and the blood of others, triumphant, you put the book down and say "Wow."

Furthermore! How about, even though the book is the first book in a ridiculously long series, this hypothetical book is a complete story! (For those of you who read a lot of Very Long Fantasy Serieses, this may be a foreign concept. It may help to wiki the words "climax" and "resolution.") When you finish this one, you aren't forced to keep reading in order to find out how the conflict is resolved. You actually know. That sounds pretty cool.

Well, it is cool. It is witty, profane, violent, over the top, and frequently hilarious. I can't believe this is Scott Lynch's first novel, and I can't wait to read more. This is an incredibly fun adventure novel. Find yourself a copy and read it.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,922 reviews69.3k followers
May 7, 2022
2.5 stars...maybe a full 3?

I'm having such a hard time with how I feel about this book!
I was looking for another fantasy/heist book like The Palace Job, and The Lies of Locke Lamora has so many great reviews that I thought it would be an easy win for me.
Ehhh. Yes and no. But mostly no.


Let me be the first to admit that the problems I had with this one?
Well, they might be exactly why every other reader loved it.


It took me forever to get through this. It felt like years went by while I tried to get to The Good Stuff.
I know that a lot of you love books that give detailed descriptions of the character's surroundings. I know, I know, I know!
Please, for the love of God, don't spam my review thread with your comments on how I just don't understand the beauty of the lush world Lynch built.
I most certainly do understand, but I don't enjoy reading about what material a character's coat is made out of unless it will somehow be relevant later on in the story.
Here's my rule on this sort of thing:
Unless the fact that the gently swaying purple flower's fragrance made WhoTheFuckEver do/say/remember something important that will move the plot forward?
Well, then I don't even need to know that there was a fucking purple flower!
And, yes, I do like the world I'm reading about to feel complete and real, but there's only so much I can (personally) take.
This book tested my patience.
There was so much...just irrelevant crap on every page that I started skimming in earnest by the 50% mark. I hate skimming because I always think I'm going to miss something, but I had to do it, or I would never have finished.


Another thing that bothered me were all the fucking flashbacks.
Because EVERY TIME shit would start to get interesting, you'd have to go back and read about their childhoods. That would have been fine, if all of these flashbacks were interesting.
They weren't.
It was a 50/50 split between relevant stories of their past and boring bullshit filler that had a speck of pertinent information.


The core of the story is clever, funny, charming, heart-wrenching, and fun...once you scrape away about half of the words.
I mean, the plot would easily have made this a 5 star book for me. EASILY!
It's well-written, it's lovely, it made me feel things!
But when I went to request the next book, I found myself sort of shuddering at the thought of slogging through any more of these guys' adventures.


I'm not the kind of reader who can truly enjoy this kind of book, but maybe you are? There are lots of glowing reviews for this one, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,535 reviews32.6k followers
February 18, 2020
locke lamora could rob me of all im worth and i would literally get down on my knees and thank him for the honour. he is the most deceptively clever, enticingly cunning, and gentlemanly bastard i have ever read and i cant get enough of him or his crew.

you guys, this story is unreal. its so morally wrong that you dont even want it to be right. its that luring, that gritty, that bold.

its masterfully chaotic - so many subplots, so many characters, so much world-building. theres never a dull moment.

its intricately woven - no movement, no scene, no word is insignificant. everything is so interconnected on so many levels. i straight up got chills in some parts.

its darkly humorous - oh my gosh. the banter! the jokes! the quips! the characters are so well-written and their interactions are always memorable.

my only minor critique would be the lack of central female characters. this is a bunch of lads, lads, lads. and thats fine. but it would have been nice to have a constant womanly presence (one is alluded to frequently, so i hope she comes into play in the sequel).

but other than that, this story is practically brilliant in every way possible.

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Nataliya.
745 reviews11.9k followers
April 25, 2023
The Lies of Locke Lamora is a love child of Ocean's Eleven and The Godfather. With blood, deaths, betrayals, money, and drowning in horse urine. With a sh*tload of non-PG humor. All for the price of one. And it's SO. GOOD.

“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.”
Warning: If you are not a fan of strong language, you should back away slowly from this book. It gleefully takes the f-bombs and casually throws them around. But, as the author has mentioned before, foul language is the least issue of this book full of violence, blood, and drowning in horse piss. Regardless, consider yourselves warned.

Add the above together, and you have Camorr. A lovely place to raise children.

Locke Lamora, our lovable antihero, would like you to believe he's nothing more than a petty thief. Well, not so much. He is the Thorn of Camorr, puling one heist after another on the unsuspecting, secure in their birth nobles of his medieval Venice-like city. Until one day he gets in way over his head. There are plenty of people who would love to see him dead - if they could ever figure out who the hell he is.
"There’s no freedom quite like the freedom of being constantly underestimated."
Locke Lamora is a Gentleman Bastard who doesn't care much about becoming rich. So why does he steal on a truly grandiose scale? Of course, "because it's heaps of fucking fun." And because he is not a fan of nobles feeling invincible just because they are nobles. He loves being a Thorn in their side and giving them the taste of their own medicine.
"Sometimes I think this whole city was put here simply because the gods must adore crime. Pickpockets rob the common folk, merchants rob anyone they can dupe, Capa Barsavi robs the robbers and the common folk, the lesser nobles rob nearly everyone, and Duke Nicovante occasionally runs off with his army and robs the shit out of Tal Verarr or Jerem, not to mention what he does to his own nobles and his common folk.”
Locke is a proverbial smartass. He is stubborn, clever, and disrespectful. Basically, he has a knack for attracting trouble. After all, someone has already paid for his death before Locke even turned eight. He is not so great with weapons - unless you count wits, sheer tenacity, and enormous disrespect for authority. What he IS great with is friendship. He gets by with a little help from his friends, so to say.
“I don't have to beat you. I don't have to beat you, motherfucker. I just have to keep you here... until Jean shows up.”
Locke Lamora has only one BERSERK BUTTON (unless you also count a certain redhead) - DO.NOT.MESS.WITH.HIS.FRIENDS. Seriously, you don't want Locke Lamora pissed at you. And that's what I really adored about this book - the depiction of honest, strong friendships between Locke and his gang. Formerly a bunch of misfits, they have formed strong bonds of friendship that will only be broken by death. They always have each other's back, no matter what the situation is. Locke and Jean Tannen have the best bromance ever since Joey and Chandler or Turk and JD.

I loved this book - so much I want to have grandbabies with it. It's a fun, fast-paced, skillfully written, smart and snarky but surprisingly touching read that had me laughing and shaking my fist in anger within a few pages. Easy 5 stars for the enjoyable ride.
“I can't wait to have words with the Gray King when this shit is all finished," Locke whispered. "There's a few things I want to ask him. Philosophical questions. Like, 'How does it feel to be dangled out a window by a rope tied around your balls, motherfucker?”
Profile Image for Pierce Brown.
Author 51 books32.7k followers
December 11, 2013
It's not often I read a book that makes me forget I'm a writer too. This one succeeded, madly. It stole hours of sleep. It wrapped me in cozy myth. It gave me the blessing of feeling like a kid again, snuggled up with a book, wondering how the hell 10pm became 4am.

Find. Buy. Consume.
Profile Image for Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews.
236 reviews3,125 followers
July 22, 2022
Check out my YouTube channel where I show my instant reactions upon finishing reading fantasy books.

This is a fantastic fantasy novel that I happily can say is in my "top 10".

I loved everything about this book. The characters are wonderfully written, the world is thoroughly enjoyable (even though it's on a very small scale), the plot is extremely engaging, the twists are exciting and shocking, and the ending is fantastic.

This is also one of the rare books where the audiobook version is just as good, if not better than the physical book. The narrator does an absolutely perfect job at voicing these characters.

This is a must-read for any fantasy fan.

Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
532 reviews34.5k followers
March 31, 2019
”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 I’m still around to see it.”
“Oh please,” said Locke. “It’ll never happen.”

Haha! You gotta love Father Chains for his vivid imagination and if you actually read the entire book you might find yourself at a place where you have to agree with him. XD
But I’m getting ahead of myself here so I’ll just start with my general opinion and will try to take it from there. ;-)

This book was amazing! I’m the first to admit that it had a rather slow start and that Scott Lynch put a lot of effort into his world building, the more I read on the more I could understand why he was so thorough with his descriptions though. He set the stage, let us see how Locke’s crew operated, gave us a good understanding about their close bond and offered us a brief glimpse at the machinations behind all their elaborate heists. In short: Lynch wrote a brilliant opening to an intriguing series and I can’t wait to read book two.

If there are at least half as many twists and unexpected turns as there were in “The Lies of Locke Lamora” I’ll be a more than just happy camper. *lol* I mean seriously, I loved all those characters and their cunning and deceiving ways. XD Throughout the entire book I never knew what to expect and there were about a ton of “Oh, shit!” moments that were shortly followed by “Jeez! NO!” and “What happened now?” exclamations. I confess that some of the happenings and casual revelations actually left me reeling and I found myself saying: “That’s it! That’s exactly what I want to read!” more often than I can count. And boy did the shit hit the fan at the middle of the book. I barely got a second to breathe and I continued to be breathless until the crescendo ended in a grande finale and the curtain eventually fell.
Yes, the second half of the book was THAT intense. *lol*

Anyway, enough of musical terms! Let’s go right to the characters! ;-)

The Characters:

Welcome to Camorr, the city that harbours questionable characters, morally grey individuals and a wide selection of rich nobles that quite literally beg to be robbed and spoiled. If you’re an innocent and clueless noble you better don’t dwell all too long. You might either end up relieved of the weight of your purse or even worse, you might end up being spoiled for the book! This was a fair warning; the rest is up to you. ;-P

Father Chains:

”There are only three people in life you can never fool – pawnbrokers, whores, and your mother. Since your mother’s dead, I’ve taken her place. Hence, I’m bullshit-proof.”

I really loved that guy! His observations and statements were so funny and accurate and boy was he a clever man. I mean he basically invented “The Gentleman Bastards” and made them the crew they are when we first set eyes on them. He might have been harsh to his boys but it was obvious that he only wanted the best for them and I guess in his own way he really cared about them too. I can’t help but wonder what happened to him though. We only read about him in flashbacks and memories so it’s kind of self-explanatory that he’s dead. How exactly he died was never mentioned though. Maybe this mystery will be solved in book two and we’ll find out more about Sabetha too?? She’s still such a mystery. XD

Locke Lamora:

”You’re one third bad intentions, one third pure avarice, and one eight sawdust. What’s left, I’ll credit, must be brains.” J

That’s Jean’s description of Locke and to some degree I have to agree with his words. *lol* I think Locke is definitely a whole lot more brains than he gave him credit for though. I really loved this character! He might be a thief but he was a gentleman too and he had his heart at the right place which is the most important thing. For Locke it never was about the money, it was all about the fun he had with his heists and brothers. You might say it was the scheming and plotting that made him happy. To create a plan and to actually execute it in the end. The money they gained from it was just secondary. Locke’s character arc was really intriguing because at the beginning it’s all about the heist and the fun, but the moment the Grey King appears everything changes and gets dark. Well, and after the Grey King took away the only thing he ever cared about his heart and mind are set on vengeance and vengeance alone. I’ve to admit that I loved that angry Locke too and the more I read about his complex character the more I loved him.

”If he was going to save them, he had to play the Grey King until the Capa was finished with him, and then he would pray for a quick and easy death. Let Locke Lamora just vanish one night; let his friends slip away to whatever better fate awaited them.”

”I will have the Grey King, and if all the powers of Camorr and Karthain and Hell itself oppose me, it will be nothing – nothing but a longer trail of corpses between me and your master.”

Jean Tannen:

”Hell yes,” cried Bug. “I knew there was a reason I let you lead this gang!”
“Well, I can’t argue with the manifest wisdom of the boy that jumps off temple roofs. But I trust my points are noted,” said Jean.
“Very noted,” said Locke. “Received, recognised, and duly considered with the utmost gravity. Sealed, notarised, and firmly imprinted upon my rational essence.”

I loved the bond between Jean and Locke! I don’t know how it happened that they got so close but it was obvious that they are like family to each other. After reading the entire book I have the feeling that I still don’t know Jean all too well but I’m pretty sure Scott Lynch had his reasons to keep his character vague. Maybe we’ll read more about him in the next book and I’d be totally fine with this. Alone the fact that he’s quite literally Locke’s “hatchet man” was enough to make me curious and I truly hope my curiosity will be sated in the next book. =)

”I don’t have to fight or run,” he crackled. “I changed the rules of the game. I just have to keep you here … asshole. Here … until … Jean gets back.”

The Sanza Twins:

”If you do end up in danger, Locke,” said Calo, “you must understand that we will ignore the orders of our garrista, and we’ll bludgeon our friend on the back of his thick skull and smuggle him out of Camorr in a box. I have just the bludgeon for the job.”
“And I have a box,” said Galdo. “Been hoping for an excuse to use it for years, really.”

Those two were so amazing! They grew on me so fast and then the ending happened and I was like NOOOOOOO!!! It’s so rare to read about twins in books and I really would have loved to see more of them. Unfortunately it seems like Scott Lynch had other plans and the funny Sanza twins had to disappear. T_T I loved that they would have done everything in order to save Locke and I know he loved them very much. =( I swear I cried real tears when he found them dead at the temple. It broke my heart… They would have deserved so much better than that. Locke was true to his word though, he really made them and Bug the biggest death offering Camorr ever saw and I love him even more for it! <3

”And I had to get rid of the moustache in a hurry,” said Locke.
“And damned if he didn’t scream when Jean did the honours,” said Calo.
“Like a Sanza brother in an empty whorehouse!” Locke made a rude gesture at Calo; Calo mimed aiming and loosing a crossbow at him in return.

The Grey King:

”But you could have settled for simple theft,” said Locke. “I would have given it all to keep Calo and Galdo and Bug alive. I would have given it all, had you put it to me like that.”
“What thief does not fight to hold what he has?”
“One that has something better,” said Locke.

I really disliked the Grey King and the Bondsmage made my blood boil with anger! They were both such arrogant and self-righteous numpties! I swear when Locke decided to take them down I cheered for him and even though he had to pay a high price for his actions I still think it was worth it. Bug, Calo and Galdo were worth it. I think what shook me the most about the Grey King and his lackey was the simple fact that they just did it because they could. I mean Locke never did them any harm, yet they destroyed his entire life and killed the people he cared about. It was so senseless. The Bondsmage obviously enjoyed to have the power over other people and relished to torture on behalf of the Grey King, so I have absolutely no pity for him. Was it drastic what Locke and Jean did? Yes! Was it wrong? Yes, definitely. Did the Grey King and the Bondsmage deserve it? I’m inclined to say yes, because let’s face it if Locke and Jean wouldn’t have done what they did their lives would have been forfeit the moment the Bondsmage got rid of his shackles. I think they actually didn’t have any other choice if they wanted to survive. >_<

The Spider:

”I have always found the presumptions of others to be the best possible disguise – haven’t you?”

Ha! I knew who the spider was the moment she appeared! It was a clever disguise but not clever enough to fool me. XD I’m just glad that she believed Locke and listened to him and I think they made an interesting pair. What I loved the most about their interactions was their mutual respect though. They could appreciate the skill of each other even though they lived in totally different worlds and were enemies. It was nice to see that Locke’s opponent was as cunning and artful as he was and it gave the story a really nice touch. Whilst the Grey King was all brutality and cruel force in the end, the spider remained conniving and prudent and I really liked that about her.


This plane might have taken quite a while until it took off, but boy, did it take off in the end! The more I think about it the more I have to admit that this story was brilliantly executed and I can only take a bow and congratulate Scott Lynch for writing such a complex, detailed and elaborate book! =)


It’s another month and since March just started I’m once again trying to reduce my TBR with my own blog meme “Hugs’n’kisses OR Dismissed by the Missus/Messrs” .

This time around I chose “The Lies of Locke Lamora” and I’m so happy I’m finally going to read this book.
I wanted to read it for ages but never had the time and now that I did my monthly blog meme I have no other choice than to go through with it – Which, truth be told, is awesome! *lol*

An infamous thief, his morally gray gang and a dangerous and bloody coup?

Say no more, because I’m so here for this! ;-P
Profile Image for Rick Riordan.
Author 508 books403k followers
February 19, 2014
Another great fantasy, this novel follows a talented rogue and conman, Locke Lamora, through his adventures in Camorr, a city loosely patterned after Venice, but set in a world where humans have built their society over the ruins of a much older race called the Eldren. Locke rises from an orphaned beggar to become one of the most wanted thieves in the city, and along the way makes some enemies in very high places – the Duke’s head of secret police, ‘the Spider,’ the capa of the city’s underworld (who doesn’t approve of targeting the city’s nobles) and a new player in town, the Gray King, who has his own deadly agenda, along with some unbeatable magic backup. Lynch’s world is so vivid and fully formed that the reader feels as if he’s been dropped into the crowded bazaar in an exotic city and left to find his way out. At first, this can be overwhelming. Everything is different: the days of the week, the gods, the geography, the slang. On top of this, Lynch jumps back and forth in time from Locke Lamora’s past to his present. I confess I got bogged down at the beginning and had to come back to this book several months later. But if you keep going, the payoff is well worth the effort. Give it a hundred pages, and you’ll be hooked. If you like intelligent funny dialogue, clever protagonists facing equally clever antagonists, and vivid original world building, Scott Lynch is your guy. When I got to the end, I immediately ordered the next two books in this series.
Profile Image for Dana Ilie.
404 reviews347 followers
June 6, 2018
I'll be blunt up front and share that The Lies of Locke Lamora is one of my favorite books this year.
I loved it. Ever freaking word of every line.
While the main plot of the book features heist, treachery and more mutinies than you could shake a stick at – the heart of the novel lies in the epic bromance that is the Gentlemen Bastards. I am a huge fan of the ‘family that you choose yourself’ trope, so Locke and his gang of misfits tickled at my heartstrings. Make no mistake, they’re neither gentle or loving to one another – preferring to trade insults to niceties. Yet, through flashbacks and banter, the reader could feel the camaraderie between Locke and each of the member in his team. Morally ambiguous characters who look out for their own? Basically a set up after my own heart.
The world-building laid the foundation to a much richer world which I am excited to explore in future books. The city of Camorr is loosely based on a medieval Venice, with once charming waterways turned sinister by presence of vicious sharks and the shadow of the criminal underworld. The city was another character unto itself, treacherous and filled with secrets. I also loved seeing the rise and fall of rival gangs, and how Locke navigated the bureaucracy of criminal societies with poise.
Although most of the book was wildly entertaining, I appreciated that The Lies of Locke Lamora dared to go to dark places and take difficult roads. It would have been so easy to make Locke and the Gentlemen Bastards own all their exploits and emerge grinning. Yet, the plot throws many wrenches in Locke’s best laid plans, and the death toll is shockingly high for a book that started all banter and petty tricks. I liked that our protagonists were in true danger at some point, and they definitely did not emerge unscathed.

In all, this is the type of book that any author should strive to write. And it Lynch's first.
Profile Image for James Tivendale.
311 reviews1,330 followers
February 10, 2017
Lynch introduces us to a gang of intelligent, flamboyant and charismatic thieves called the Gentleman Bastards around whom this book (and I assume the entire series) revolves. Locke - the infamous Thorn of Camorr, Jean and Bug were my personal favourites within the group but the camaraderie presented surrounding the gang was amazing - almost making us as the reader feel part of the ensemble - as we were privy to the cons, the secrets and also the stories revolving the characters youths.

Lynch presents his chapters in a way that shows two timelines. Typically a chronologic present day portrayal of what the Gentleman Bastards are doing in Camorr's underworld and then various origin stories such as Locke's induction to the group and Jean's training at weaponry. The origin stories usually feed quite nicely into what then takes place in the current day or explain part of the world/ cultural references. It is majorly written third person focusing on Locke but it does flip and switch between following a handful of other characters too.

It took me a while to get in to initially as we are thrown straight into the world which has numerous races, religions and underworld hierarchy but after about 30-40 I was under the spell. Some of the cons are mesmerising. I remember numerous times when I thought that the con couldn't get any more complex or multi-layered it did and I was left in awe.

It consists of a colourful supporting cast including some of the Capa's (gang leaders), Father Chains and the Grey King. It has quite a few shocking moments where some characters are killed off. It is a pretty gruesome world and a few deaths and scenes of torture made me go wow - pretty grim.

The ending was very rewarding and I cannot wait to start reading Red Seas Under Red Skies. I think most of my friends on Goodreads have read this but if you haven't then I truly recommend it.

James x
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
531 reviews58.7k followers
January 31, 2021
(3.5) To be honest the first half of this book was pretty painful and I struggled to push through.
The long descriptions made my eyes wandered but the flashbacks made me hopeful.

The second half was much better and the twists definitely kept me on my toes.

Overall I enjoyed most of the characters and the story. I did think some characters were... very lucky and the ending was so-so.

Can be read as a standalone but I will most likely read the second book.
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,478 reviews19.3k followers
March 28, 2019
EXCUSE ME I JUST FINISHED READING A 700 PAGE ADULT FANTASY BOOK WHERE IS MY MEDAL???????? For real though, this was really fun! I might be leaning more towards a 3.5 because things reeeaaally started to drag for me right before the big hurrah at the end, but I still enjoyed it a heckin' ton overall. I may even consider carrying on with the series someday! Who am I?!
November 2, 2020

💀 DNF at 31% 💀

Warning: I pretty much have nothing to say about this book. Does it mean my review will be short? Now now, people, don't be so naïve.

Okay, let's do some quick maths here. I read the first 31% of this book. This book is 752 pages long (it feels like it's 2,500 pages long, but don't tell anyone I said that). Which means I read about 230 pages of this Delightful Piece of Fast-Paced Awesomeness (DPFPA™). Which means I should have something to tell you about it. But I don't. Because nothing happened. Apart from a bunch of thieves planning some kind of con-type thing. Is that vague enough for you? Good. Now don't ask me what kind of con-type thing it was, because after 230 pages, I still freaking haven't a freaking clue. It's got to do something with some fascinating noble guy named Don Lorenzo Salvara. And that's pretty much all I know about it. Why? Because the author was so busy drowning his main plot in irrelevant crap that he forgot he had an actual story to tell. But I wouldn't want to be completely unfair here (and as you all know, I am fairness incarnate), so I will admit that yes, one thing did happen. I know you don't believe me, but I swear it's the truth. Want to know what happened? Lamora got on a boat. Yep, that's right. I know it's a lot to take, but please try and refrain from fainting.

Have you recovered? I hope so, because I just remembered something else happened. No no no, don't pass out again! Stay with me! Just take a few deep breaths and it will be alright. Feel better? Phew, that was close. So, "what else happened," you ask? Some gladiator-type chick got eaten by some sharks. Yeah, that was pretty cool. I enjoyed every single second of that scene. That scene was amazing. Think of it as 5 glorious seconds of utter awesomeness. Scott Lynch, you overachiever. 5 whole seconds! This is just too much. You shouldn't overexert yourself like this, I'm pretty sure it's hazardous to your health. Come to think of it, I shouldn't worry about you. I mean, 98% of this book 31% of this book is filler BS, adorned with Agonizingly Interminable Descriptions from Inferno (AIDI™) and enhanced with Excruciatingly Detailed Prose from Hell (EDPH™).

Yep, that's right, excitement is mesarcasm alert ☢ And that is all. I have nothing else to say about this book. BUT. I'd hate to see you go so soon, so I shall (very generously, I might add) share my Delightful Lamora Reading Experience (DLRE™) with you. I suffered through 31% of this, there's no reason why you shouldn't suffer through this review as well. Please don't thank me, I'm generous like that.

» So. When I first read the blurb for this book, I was all:

Which loosely translates to: OMG this sounds so cool, I should buddy read it with my Silly Friends of Despicable Book Taste !!!!

» Then I very happily and very naively started reading. And this happened: blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim.

Blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim.

Blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim.

» Oops, sorry, it looks like the Fairness Police just caught me in the act again (see how they stop me the slow-mo way? That just goes to show how faithful they are to the author's style).

Okay, so I have to admit that in the middle of all this blah-blah-blah-ing and skim-skim-skimming, this sometimes happened: ha ha ha ha ha, great dialogue, ha ha ha ha ha, great dialogue, ha ha ha ha ha, great dialogue, ha ha ha ha ha, great dialogue, ha ha ha ha ha, great dialogue. But I'm afraid Lynch's 5-second rule applies here as well. So we were back in blah blah blah, skim skim skim land in less time than it takes to blink.

Oh, no need to remind Mr Lynch about that. Believe me, HE KNOWS.

Blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim, blah blah blah, skim skim skim.


» And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I ended up DNFing this thrilling piece of captivating literature. Oh believe me, I know I read it all wrong, blah blah blah, skim skim skim and all that crap. Well let me tell you something: if some of my dear friends hadn't waited for me to DNF this to tell me the first half of the book was boring as hell (you don't say?!) but that the second half was awesome, maybe I would have kept on reading. And maybe, just maybe, I would be ooh-ing and aah-ing about this right now ← you don't really believe any of this, do you? Oh good, you scared me there for a second. I mean boring crap is boring crap, no matter how you look at it.

►► And the moral of this non-review is: hey, I think I've just achieved something here! I think I just wrote a blah blah blah, skim skim skim review! Damn, I can be so gifted sometimes. You better watch out, Mr Lynch, your glorious days as Ruthless Ruler of Blah Blah Blah Skim Skim Skim Land are over. I'm out to get you.
Profile Image for Dorreh.
63 reviews199 followers
November 4, 2016
Hello my dears, is it a mentally decapitating book you wish to read? (Pun intended)
Come, come right this way.............

This book is exactly what you're looking for, IF you're looking for a fantasy riddled, ruthless, enigmatic piece of art. This book was that, and so much more.

This book is around 700 pages with apt descriptions and precise detailing. It revolves around an orphan thief (because that's the best kind), whose world is changed when a plague riddled village is left with its only unaffected survivors. Based on the synopsis and the limited knowledge I had of this book before I picked it up, I assumed locke's thieving life will begin after he is taken into the custody of the thief lord, but boy was I mistaken. Locke is the story of a boy who has long before the story begins, been selected or better yet said; chosen for a life as a thief. Ironically a decent thief.

You see the reason this book deserves praise isn't the fastidious writing or plotting, it's the way the author has taken a heinous act such as stealing and transformed it into an art, and better yet made us absolutely love the so called artist. Its a mixture of tragic circumstances and incredible wit, with a touch of unbidden morality that makes his protagonist who he is. I guess it's always the way one person stands out as extraordinary that makes heads turn their way, and emotions ebb and flow. But perhaps my favorite thing was the fact that he wasn't invincible, he was smart, but not impossibly so. I guess I just fell in love with Locke from the beginning, he was just so imperfectly perfect. There is a renown sense of honesty to him, making him lovable.

The book moves back and forth, between different events in different settings and time spans. Keeping up with the flow proved to be a little difficult at first, because of all the names and places and people, and this jumping from here to there didn't help much either. But truly once you get into the flow of the book, which takes about 50 or so pages, you just sink, and keep going deeper and deeper. I personally adored the touches from locke's childhood and his learning, but it wasn't just about him. The book has a way of keeping you guessing, not just about what happens next, but also about who plays what role, and who truly matters. Although I give fair warning, this books is no happily ever after, and definitely not romance riddled. There are characters mentioned all through out, but have yet to be introduced, I personally want to meet locke's lost love sooner rather than later, but that has yet to happen.

Like I said before, the book doesn't revolve solely around one person, regardless of the fact that he is the main protagonist. Some parts shocked me to the core, and way too many characters were lost is a short span. Nascza was my first stab to the gut, then came bug, the twin priests, and all the others that just kept adding to the pile. I particularly mourned Bug. That was so not okay Mr.lynch, so not okay!

But regardless of the gut stabbing pain, the book was a thrill, and excellently written. It was my first time reading anything of lynchs work, and I dare say I was impressed. Although his vividly descriptive writing takes some getting used to. Can wait to read the second book!!!
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,113 reviews44.4k followers
November 6, 2016
Some books evoke a distinctive feeling, or atmosphere, that can only be associated with that said book. This is no less true for The Lies of Lock Lamora by Scott Lynch. From the very early on I knew what kind of stuff this would be about, and how gritty it was going to become. Indeed, this book turns into a violent mess.

That’s because the ancient city of Camorr is infested with thieves, pickpockets, schemers and violent gang leaders. But, the worse of the bunch is the priests. Father Chains is a priest and his money making scheme is as brilliant as it is conniving. He hides behind a false religion and has created a fake temple to its worship. He pretends to be a prophet; thus, he rakes in a considerable income in tithes. He keeps the money for himself, and lives in luxury. To add insult to injury he also pretends to be blind, which further increases sympathy for himself and weighs down his pockets more so. Chains becomes Locke’s mentor. Suffice to say, he has learnt from the best thief of the age.

He was raised to be a thief


Locke Lamora (sounds good to say doesn’t it) is a young prodigy out to steal the world; he is ambitious and clever, strong and resourceful, and he has set his mind to a heist that will topple all those that came before it. He is the leader of Chain’s Gentleman Bastards, which is a thief syndicate that uses every tool available. These include things from a simple cutpurse job to blending in with the nobility. They were all raised by Chains; they are all master thieves, and the heist they attempt is bigger than the dreams any common thief.

Well, you know what they say about those that fly too high: they end up in a sticky mess. The Gentleman Bastards certainly achieved that. During their scheming they crossed paths with someone rather ominous, someone who wishes to use them in his revenge field mission against the entire city of Camoor. He has discovered the plans of Locke and friends and is using it to manipulate them to help in his blood soaked quest. Woe to Locke Lamora for this man has hired the help of someone rather dangerous: a feared bondsmage.

Some great action

The result is one big bloody mess that the author has thoughtfully devised. He has written in very well too, for the most part, although there are a few moments when his prose goes overboard. Don’t get me wrong, he describes some things with real eloquent detail, but others are just in too much depth. I remember reading a paragraph long description of a barrel of ale at one point. This was completely unnecessary. However, when these in depth description are applied to a combat scene the result is fantastic. This is my only criticism for the novel, and if they were toned a little I would have enjoyed the book a little more.

Overall, this is a great fantasy novel that is unlike any others I’ve read. This is always good because the genre can be littered with books that simply follow the standard fantasy archetype, which results in repetitive story telling. This isn’t necessarily bad, but can become boring after a while. Therefore, the plot of this is fresh, exciting and completely new.

A good solid 3.5 stars.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,540 reviews9,835 followers
June 22, 2022
The Lies of Locke Lamora was bloody fantastic. I fell in love with these characters and the entire tone of the world!

Consider swooning to be my review. There are no words to describe what a great reading experience this was for me.

Just good ole' fashioned storytelling, well-constructed and captivating from beginning to end!!

Lynch is a talented man and I cannot wait to continue on with the Gentleman Bastard series.

Profile Image for Luna. ✨.
92 reviews1,215 followers
February 10, 2017
5 Holy shit what did I just read Stars.★★★★★

❝I only steal because it’s heaps of fucking fun!❞


"You can’t be serious. This crap is as welcome as a pile of severed dog cocks.”

Firstly this book was incredible, seriously i can't even think of words to describe how good it was. This was my first time reading anything by Scott Lynch and I'm really impressed, he is a fantastic author and extremely talented. I'm so glad I picked up this book. I enjoyed it from page one, although I must admit it took me over 100 pages to understand what was going on, this story is written in past & present, so the chapters can be really confusing at the beginning. After getting used to Scotts writing style I was blown away, I feel like it's nearly impossible to pull off a book with past & present chapters especially when it jumps around a lot, but Scott Lynch managed pulled it off. The plot is slow paced but builds up to a massive story, normally not my cup of tea because it doesn't have much violence or magic in the plot but still the definition of badassery! Oceans Eleven meets The Bank Job meets Mistborn. Seriously this book was so much fun to read. I love gangsters and I love criminals so with the complex plot, this book was a 10/10.

“Hard lessons were handed out. As many men learned to their sorrow, it’s impossible to be intimidating when one angry woman has your cock between her teeth and another is holding a stiletto to your kidneys.”

This book is on my favourite shelf and in my top five favourite books ever. I literally loved reading it. I was so captivated by the plot & the characters. I read some of the reviews for this book and saw a lot of people complaining about the amount of swearing.... The swearing made it hilarious and I loved it so much. Scott Lynch literally swears in every sentence (just like me haha). I can't remember ever laughing so much in a fantasy book. Only had one issue it felt really long, like some description went on and on, some also weren't necessary at all. Yes Scott Lynch is a beautiful and interesting world builder, however some parts just went over the top, I did skim a lot of descriptions, except characters and important scenes.


“Haven’t you ever heard that one before? Your Capa Barsavi, he’s not from Camorr, originally. Taught at the Therin Collegium. So, when he drags someone in for a talking-to, that’s ‘etiquette lessons.’ And when he ties them up and makes them talk, that’s ‘singing lessons.’ And when he cuts their throats and throws them in the bay for the sharks…”
“Oh,” said Jean, “I guess that’d be teeth lessons. I get it.”

So basically this book is about gangs, there are all different gangs and they are all under one leader the Capa, the gangs each have a leader but the leaders work under the Capa and must pay him to keep their gangs running. The story follows a gang called the gentlemans bastards, all members are orphans and are all trained to be gentleman & the best theifs around. Our main character Locke is a professional liar & the story follows him and his childhood. I absolutely adore Locke, he is everything I look for in a character he is badass, a liar, a criminal & a thief but he is also such a gentleman (swoon worthy). So basically Locke and his gang try to pull off one of the biggest thievery jobs ever, however it doesn't go to plan and their is a new gang boss on the scene thirsty for revenge.

“A manifestation straight from the ass of a magnificent liar,”

I literally adored all characters in this book and cried a few times at the brutality they go through. The Bromance between Locke and Jean had me. It was so genuine. I think most of my favourite parts where from Jeans POV I loved his training, I loved when he chose his weapons (the sisters) and I loved a certain battle towards the end with him vs two people. It was so badass and Jean is my precious.


“… and this is the card you picked. The six of spires,” said Calo, holding up a card and displaying it for the entrance-hall guards.
“Fuck me,” said one of them, “that’s sorcery.” “Nah, it’s just the old Sanza touch.”

I recommend this book to all fantasy lovers and also people who like Mafia books with a twist. I think this book would be a great introduction for anyone wanting to start reading fantasy.

P.S. When I grow up I want to be in the gentlemen's bastards.


“Chains used to claim that there’s no freedom quite like the freedom of being constantly underestimated,” said Locke.
“Gods, yes.” Calo rolled his eyes and stuck out his tongue. “If we were any freer we’d float away into the sky and fly like the birds.”
Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,199 followers
Want to read
June 26, 2020
PeruseProject is crazy about this book so it must be good
Profile Image for Julio Genao.
Author 9 books1,989 followers
January 15, 2016
what to say that hasn't been said already?

nothing! so i'll say it all over again.

fun dialogue. great setting—but the author's way more in love with it than i ever got to be, so his endless digressions were frustrating. some of them had a satisfying impact on the story, but some were just random, and frequently set in the past, in a series of irritating interludes right when something exciting was about to happen.

some characters wander off, never to be seen again; some are brutally murdered; one is hilariously never seen at all, apparently only existing so nobody thinks locke lamora is a homo.

and speaking of women and queers:

what's the point of mentioning women if the only ones you care to give any lines are either gruesomely murdered, whores, gruesomely murdered whores, or a—

well. maybe that's a teensy bit unfair. the dowager was wildly entertaining. but everyone else? i can think of only one who is not the dowager, invisible, murdered, a whore, or of no real utility whatsoever until someone needs an alchemist at a party.

and noooooooo queeeeeeeeeeers.

everyone is mediterranean-looking, or blonde as fuck, which—sure, ok, whatever. people have been creating fantasy worlds lacking any sensible distribution of genetic characteristics for hundreds of years, so why stop now?

but mostly—mostly—it's the structure that got on my nerves.

lynch can write. seriously! the man's got chops. but he chopped his story up, so that every time any dramatic tension or rising capery pleasure developed, it was chop! time for another fucking interlude about the ceremonial vestments of the priesthood of chekthelionassus and why they only wear breechclouts on the third day of grrbhlstnwyrsheddin.

no, it's fine—go ahead. i'll wait.

it's more fun when you say it out loud anyway.

i liked the arc, but would have liked it more if lynch hadn't been messing with it the entire time.

for these reasons, and despite a more or less rousing finish only a leeeeetle bit diminished by firstbookitis, i find i can rate this no higher than a two.

i thought it was pretty okay—but still just okay.
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
November 9, 2020
Loved the complex fantasy world and great worldbuilding; not so much the brutality and grimness. In many ways, The Lies of Locke Lamora is one of the better adult fantasies I've read in quite a while.

Locke Lamora is a con artist, with the emphasis on both "con" and "artist." He's the leader of a close-knit gang of five con men.
"Locke is like a brother to us, and our love for him has no bounds. But the four most fatal words in the Therin language are 'Locke would appreciate it.' "
"Rivaled only by 'Locke taught me a new trick,' " added Galdo.
"The only person who gets away with Locke Lamora games—"
"—is Locke Lamora—"
"—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."
The brothers cleared their throats in unison.
Locke and his gang gleefully plan and execute elaborate cons to swindle the rich nobility in their city of their gold, for no real reason other than their love of putting one over on other people (the money they get mostly sits around their hideout unused) and because this is what their mentor raised them to do.

Locke and his friends are in the middle of an excellent con, when their lives — and the lives of everyone in the underworld in the city of Camorr — are complicated by the arrival of a deadly foe known only as the Gray King, who has a seemingly unbeatable sorcerer, the Falconer, assisting him. The Gray King is insistent on Locke playing a role in his plans, and as those plans slowly unfold over the course of the novel, the stakes keep rising and the body count goes higher.

Locke Lamora is set in a fantasy world where some people (mostly ruthless ones) have magical powers, the wealthy live in lovely, glowing, indestructible towers built by some mysterious alien race before their time, and deadly animals like wolf sharks and salt devils (dog-sized spiders) are anxious to kill you. The world-building in this novel is outstanding.


The narrative jumps back and forth between Locke's boyhood days as an orphan and his adult adventures. It was a bit confusing at first, but once I got into the flow of it I really appreciated the insights into the growing-up years of Locke and his friends, and how the past informs the present. In the end the two timelines tie together in some very soul-satisfying ways.

This is an imaginative, well-written and well-plotted novel, but it gets truly grim and bloody in some scenes, and countless F-bombs litter the pages like confetti. It's a bit too much for me personally to totally love this book or to continue with the series, but if you like hard-hitting fantasies, this is a very good one.

Content notes: Hard R-rated book: Lots of gore; lots of swearing. Not for kids or clean-reads-only readers.
Profile Image for Adina ( A lot of catching up to do) .
826 reviews3,248 followers
July 10, 2018
10.07.18: Kindle offer for 1.99$.

I loved this book although it is not perfect and there were some things about it that annoyed me a tiny bit. But well.. love is not a logical thing so...

As other reviewers said it is combination of Ocean 11 (with a younger and more cheekier main character) and the Godfather. I would also add the bloodiness of Game of Thrones () and some Jaws.

The main character Locke Lamora is an antihero, he has as many flaws as talents and maybe this is why he is so likable. His main quality and doom is his devotion to his friends. I loved the humor, the cursing (a lot of f-words), the characters, the writing, the pace. The fantasy world is described in painstaking detail which was a bit too much for me at some point. The author introduces long descriptions just when the action is at its peak. It made me fast read a couple of them. This was my only problem but I saw that it was exactly what some other reviewers loved about the book.

I can't wait to read the sequel. I hope is just as good.
Profile Image for Kelly.
878 reviews4,025 followers
February 18, 2009
From the first threat to use someone's balls as fish bait to the last attempt to drown someone in horse piss, I absolutely adored this book. It is absolutely everything it should be, and then some. Emphasis on the and then some because it completely defied my expectations on many levels, both genre-wise and quality wise.

Set in a freaky, mystical alternate Renaissance Venice, the story takes place amongst the underworld thieves and gangs of the city. Our protagonist (I definitely won't call him a hero), Locke Lamora, and his title implied lies, guide us through a twisted, involved, and incredibly fucking fun (as they would say themselves) plotline that bounces all over the place back and forth and winds to its improbable and yet not unbelievable conclusion. There's thieving, impersonating identities, lots and lots of lies (some well done, others less so), very creative swearing that often made me laugh out loud, gang fights, plenty of gore, and all the intrigue, politics and sweet sweet revenge you could possibly want. And even amongst all this filth and twisted dirtiness, it still manages to be about love and revenge and wonderful, awesome friendship.

I loved how this book went right through and around genre expectations. Our protagonist Locke Lamora is not good looking, he isn't at all good in a fight, and we get to watch him be impotent in bed, an arrogant little snit who gets slapped down several times, and taking very very petty, not noble revenge on a bunch of people. He's just really smart. But realistically so. Sometimes even his spectacular ability to lie fails, and he has to go to Plan B. Sometimes Plan C. Sometimes Plan Z, until he's at the end of his tether, before he finally catches a break- and by that point he might be black and blue and humiliated and mutilated in a lot of nasty ways that don't usually get to happen to a hero. They also make no bones about the fact that he is a thief, and not in any Robin Hood sense at all, and no, there is no secret noble quest underneath that. Just deal with it.

Scott Lynch is also not afraid to kill people. Nobody is safe in this book, and you geniunely believe that anyone left alive could die on the next page by a random unlucky strike to the back of the head from a penny dropped from a height. He also is not close minded in his plots. He has created an incredible world, and he involves that world in the plot. Sometimes things go awry just... 'cause. Not everyone in the city is part of their plot. Stuff happens. I love that as well. His world creation is absolutely incredible, by the way. No, not by the way. That's a main point. He's meticulous in detail, and yet not boring with it. He spent five pages describing an alien glass garden of roses and I was riveted- I thought it was some of the best pages of the book. He's a skilled storyteller, and his descriptions are just a part of that. He's able to keep things at a very brisk pace and indulge us all the while building his plot and enriching the background.

I read this in four days. I give this book four stars just 'cause I'm stingy with the five stars, but it is really a five star book for the fantasy genre, it absolutely is.
Profile Image for John Mauro.
Author 5 books412 followers
January 6, 2023
My full review is published at Before We Go Blog.

“There’s no freedom quite like the freedom of being constantly underestimated.”

The Lies of Locke Lamora
is Scott Lynch’s imaginative blend of Oliver Twist (orphans), The Godfather (the mafia), and The Italian Job (con artists in Venice). The setting is basically a fantasy version of Venice, replete with a sprinkling of made-up Italian-sounding words.

The Lies of Locke Lamora has a reputation for being lighthearted fun, but this is actually a very dark read. I read this immediately following Joe Abercrombie’s grimdark classic, The Blade Itself, and The Lies of Locke Lamora is easily the darker of the two. Both books have detailed torture scenes, but The Lies of Locke Lamora tips the grimdark scales with barrels of horse urine and even child slavery and prostitution. The book is full of witty dialogue that lightens the mood, but at its core this is grimdark fantasy. Very, very good grimdark fantasy.

The hero of our story, Locke Lamora, is orphaned as a young boy and is purchased by the Thiefmaker of Shades Hill to be trained in thievery. Locke proves to be a little too good at filchery and deception for the Thiefmaker, who then sells him to Father Chains, a garrista (gang leader) who serves the god of thieves. There, Locke meets and forms bonds with the other members of the Gentleman Bastards gang.

The Lies of Locke LamoraM has it all: excellent character development, a great story, and immersive worldbuilding. Locke is an outstanding actor and thief, but beyond that he doesn’t really have any special skills. He is not a good fighter. He does not have any magical powers. This makes him vulnerable to the many dangers that he must face throughout the novel, often against overwhelming odds.

The plots itself jumps back-and-forth between Locke as a young apprentice with Father Chains and adult Locke as he leads the Gentleman Bastards in elaborate schemes against the rich nobility. The central conflict in the novel concerns mafia-style powerplays among rival gang leaders. The stakes keep getting raised throughout the novel to the point where it’s hard to put the book down.

I greatly enjoyed reading The Lies of Locke Lamora and recommend this for fans of character-driven grimdark fantasy who also appreciate a great story with witty dialogue and creative worldbuilding.
Profile Image for Sofia.
258 reviews6,499 followers
July 11, 2022
The Lies of Locke Lamora is perfect. Perfect is a strong word to be throwing around, but I will be doing more than just that. I will be hurling it at high speeds. I will be catapulting it across the interwebs.

The list of things I love about this book is unreasonably long. The biting humor, the grim irony, the poetic use of profanity. The way the Venetian setting builds a vivid atmosphere of intrigue, adrenaline, and exhilaration. Then there’s my beloved found family of rascals and the immense, addictive satisfaction I felt after finishing every chapter. This book has the best heist I’ve ever read and also some of the best characters I’ve ever met. The Lies of Locke Lamora gave me full-body chills on multiple occasions. And if I so much as think about this book for long enough, I will literally start to shake again. I looked at the cover this morning and nearly cried. My emotions range from I will never read another book again to pay for my therapy. My camera roll is just fanart.

You’re probably thinking, Isn’t this just a book about thieves? Why are you so emotionally attached?

It must be the Thorn of Camorr who could pull off the heist of stealing my heart so effectively. Locke Lamora, who is wickedly funny and self-destructive and has an ego big enough for at least three people. Vengeful and anguished and eloquent Locke, who will kill anyone who touches his friends without blinking but would never raise a finger to hurt the people he loves. He’s so full of devastating rage and bitter grief, but he still retains his keen wit and his ability to turn into anyone he wishes with hardly any effort at all. He is a melodramatic thespian and an insufferable but oddly lovable liar. He gets into deep trouble and talks his way out of it with a touch of flair and an adopted accent. His lies will always run deeper.

But here is something that is not a lie:

5 stars
Displaying 1 - 30 of 19,047 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.