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Gentleman Bastard #2

Red Seas Under Red Skies

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Librarian note: An older cover for this edition can be found here: 31-Jul-2007.

After a brutal battle with the underworld that nearly destroyed him, Locke Lamora and his trusted sidekick, Jean, fled the island city of their birth and landed on the exotic shores of Tal Verrar to nurse their wounds. But even at this westernmost edge of civilization, they can't rest for long---and they are soon back doing what they do best: stealing from the undeserving rich and pocketing the proceeds for themselves.

This time, however, they have targeted the grandest prize of all: the Sinspire, the most exclusive and heavily guarded gambling house in the world. Its nine floors attract the wealthiest clientele - and to rise to the top, one must impress with good credit, amusing behavior...and excruciatingly impeccable play. For there is one cardinal rule, enforced by Requin, the house's cold-blooded master: it is death to cheat at any game at the Sinspire.Brazenly undeterred, Locke and Jean have orchestrated an elaborate plan to lie, trick, and swindle their way up the nine floors...straight to Requin's teeming vault. Under the cloak of false identities, they meticulously make their climb - until they are closer to the spoils than ever.

But someone in Tal Verrar has uncovered the duo's secret. Someone from their past who has every intention of making the impudent criminals pay for their sins. Now it will take every ounce of cunning to save their mercenary souls. And even that may not be enough.

578 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 21, 2007

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About the author

Scott Lynch

56 books24.3k 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.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,569 reviews
Profile Image for Patrick.
Author 65 books233k followers
October 27, 2013
I'll be honest, when I first read this book, years ago, my reaction was kinda "meh."

Or rather, I *remember* it being that way. It was a long time back, and I can barely bring to mind what I ate for lunch yesterday. So I'm not terribly reliable that way.

I also vaguely remember that it wasn't as talked-up as Lies of Locke Lamora. There wasn't the same excited buzz about it when it came out, so I remember feeling reasonably justified in my "meh" feeling.

That means reading through it again a second time was an interesting experience. Because now I have passed through the fiery hell that is Publishing The Second Book.

Don't get me wrong: first books are hard, especially in secondary-world fantasy. You have to introduce an entire world. You're constantly walking the knife-edge between boring people by explaining too much, and confusing them by explaining too little.

But on the plus side, in a first book (or movie for that matter) everything has the benefit of being shiny and new. Every revelation is fresh and exciting. Every character is a mystery unfurling.

That's not the case in a second book. In a second book, you still have that problem. PLUS you have the problem that some of your readers read the first book two days ago, and some of them read it two years ago. Some of them haven't read it at *all.*

On top of that, a lot of people want nothing more than for you to write your first book over again… because that's what they know and love. But you *can't* do that, because you only get one beginning.

When you write the second book in a series, the honeymoon is over. Now you're in a whole different type of relationship. And love is harder to maintain than infatuation.

That's why, in my opinion, shifting gears from first book to second book is THE most difficult part of being a new writer.

Given all of this, I can see why people in general and me in specific might have been a little "meh" on this book. We were all butterflies-in-tummy tingly after reading Lies of Locke Lamora. We loved it, and we wanted to see the same thing again.

Which I now realize is silly. I don't think I knew that then.

I mention all of this because this second time through, I found myself wondering what my problem was the first time. Because honestly, the book is good.

We get to explore a cool new piece of the world. There are characters that I know and love, being very true to themselves while still growing and changing and coming into conflict with each other and the world. There is wonderful craft here. And brilliant dialogue, as before. Wit and humor both.

It's true, that this book might be a little less Ocean's Eleven and a little more Grifters. But that's okay. Because sequels *need* to change and grow a bit, otherwise a series stagnates and dies.

And this book made me cry a bit, which the first one didn't. So that's a mark in its favor.

So…yeah. Simply said, I really enjoyed it.

Did I enjoy it as much as Lies? No. But not every book can be on your top-ten list.

Did Seas suffer from a bit of a sophomore slump? Yeah. A bit. But you won't find me bitching, because the only thing I could say was something along the lines of, "O! Woe is me! I was expecting pure untrammeled brilliance and all I got was mere shining excellence! Also, they didn't have any loganberry cream cheese at the café this morning, so I had to have blueberry instead! Alas! I shall now weep and write poetry in my journal!"

Yeah. I don't want to be that person. Nobody wants to be that person.

That said, the ending leaves you hanging. So I'm *really* fucking glad the next book is out.

Speaking of which, I think I'm going to wander over to the bookstore and buy a copy of that right now...
Profile Image for Ridley.
359 reviews328 followers
Shelved as 'to-buy-big-publisher'
December 4, 2013
After reading a Tumblr post Where Lynch responded to a reader's complaints about "political correctness" in this novel, I am intrigued.
Why shouldn’t middle-aged mothers get a wish-fulfillment character, you sad little bigot? Everyone else does. H.L. Mencken once wrote that “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” I can’t think of anyone to whom that applies more than my own mom, and the mothers on my friends list, with the incredible demands on time and spirit they face in their efforts to raise their kids, preserve their families, and save their own identity/sanity into the bargain.

Shit yes, Zamira Drakasha, leaping across the gap between burning ships with twin sabers in hand to kick in some fucking heads and sail off into the sunset with her toddlers in her arms and a hold full of plundered goods, is a wish-fulfillment fantasy from hell. I offer her up on a silver platter with a fucking bow on top; I hope she amuses and delights. In my fictional world, opportunities for butt-kicking do not cease merely because one isn’t a beautiful teenager or a muscle-wrapped font of testosterone. In my fictional universe, the main characters are a fat ugly guy and a skinny forgettable guy, with a supporting cast that includes “SBF, 41, nonsmoker, 2 children, buccaneer of no fixed abode, seeks unescorted merchant for light boarding, heavy plunder.”

You don’t like it? Don’t buy my books. Get your own fictional universe. Your cabbage-water vision of worldbuilding bores me to tears.
/fans self
Profile Image for Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews.
265 reviews3,990 followers
September 13, 2023
On my re-read, I'm convinced this is even better than the first book.

This book is one of, if not the greatest pirate book I've ever read. Which is strange because at heart this is a book about a pair of thieves. The story is rich, and expertly written from start to finish. Unfortunately the ending felt a bit rushed, but it didn't detract from what is an amazing read.

The use of flashbacks in this book were particularly well done, and I say this as someone who usually loathes flashbacks in fantasy books.

I've heard from people who say that people should stop reading after the first book on the series - but if you do this you are missing out on a pretty special book.

Check out my new youtube channel where I show my instant reactions to reading fantasy books seconds after I finish the book.
Profile Image for Petrik.
688 reviews46.2k followers
May 4, 2023
Buddy read with these thieves: Celeste & Sarah

4.5/5 Stars

Contrary to the popular opinion that Red Seas Under Red Skies, the second book in the Gentleman Bastard Sequence series, is weaker than its predecessor, I’m more inclined to say that it’s not inferior nor superior but it’s equally great with The Lies of Locke Lamora in a different way. It retained some elements that made the first book rose to its fame and at the same time, replace some of them with some new factors to the series. I do, however, enjoyed reading the first book more.

“Difficult" and "impossible" are cousins often mistaken for one another, with very little in common.”

Two years after the end of the first book, we continue straight off with The Gentleman Bastard trying to, again, pull off another biggest heist they ever attempted. The plot started with Locke & Jean camouflaging as professional gamblers in an opulent casino named Sinspire executing one of the necessary steps for their heist. However, again, the heist gets so much more complicated than what they planned.

The whole setting of the book took place in a completely different place than its predecessor, this time taking place in the island city of Tal Verrar and the Sea of Brass. Although I miss the city of Camorr for its beauty and resemblance with Venice, I do think that Tal Verrar and Sea of Brass gave the necessary new atmosphere to the book and series as a whole.

Picture: Tal Verrar

The entire narrative is still told in the same storytelling method as the previous book, by shifting between present and past time frame. The past sections this time are called “Reminiscent” and it’s there to bridge the 2 years gap before the beginning of the book. These “past” sections are there only for the first half of the book, it’s different from the previous book where it lasted from the beginning up to the end and honestly speaking, I prefer it to last all the way since it worked so well before. However, the entire “Reminiscent” sections explored how Locke deals with the aftermath of Camorr and how he’ll set up their plan for the biggest heist of their career, which remained captivating as always.

The most enthralling part of the book for me will have to be the questions “How the hell will they get out of this situation?” & “How will they execute their schemes?” that were present through the entire plot line. It’s ingenious how Scott Lynch implemented the lies, heist, all the moving parts and schemes after schemes filled with humorous, crude yet eloquent dialogues which I can’t ever seem to get enough of.

“Any man can fart in a closed room and say that he commands the wind”

Imagine what Kvothe the Arcane would say to that? Locke would probably fart and said he knows The Name of the Wind if they ever met.

All the parts I discussed just now are more or less the same as the greatness we received in The Lies of Locke Lamora and so come up the question: “what makes this book so different from its predecessor?”

Pirates, the last half of the book took on a completely different atmosphere with its seafaring, piracy, and naval warfare. Don’t get me wrong, despite being on a ship most of the time, there are still a lot of lies and schemes going on and I admit, I’m not too fond of being in the sea too long since there’s nothing to look at in the world-building during this duration other than, you know, the sea. However, Scott Lynch managed to make it so fun to read with the never-ending problems that arise the longer the Gentleman Bastards are there. Plus, the amount and quality of the actions piece in this book are superior to the previous book in my opinion. Thrilling actions during the naval warfare and great climax scenes are all there and they, in my opinion, killed the boredom that should’ve been caused by the setting completely.

Picture: Locke Lamora in Red Seas Under Red Skies (Chinese edition cover)

Now, let’s talk about the best part of the book, the characters. With the second book finished, let’s just say Locke and Jean has become one of my favorite book duo/bromance of all time. Their friendship, loyalty, banter is without a doubt the best part of the book or maybe the series itself for me, even more than the schemes and heists. Their banter and interaction completely give life to the book.

Whether it’s the humorous interactions,

“Worst of all, the inner vault is guarded by a live dragon, attended by fifty naked women armed with poisoned spears, each of them sworn to die in Requin's service. All redheads."
"You're just making that up, Jean.”

Or the heartwarming one.

“I want to hug you. And I want to tear your gods-damned head off. Both at once."
"Ah, near as I can tell, that’s the definition of 'family' right there.”

The Gentleman Bastards aside, all the other characters are replaced with a completely new cast of characters. This doesn’t mean that the new characters are poorly written though, Zamira Drakasha and Ezri Delmastro are both a fantastic addition to the story with them being the strong and compelling female characters which the first book don’t really have.

Overall, Red Seas Under Red Skies once again proved Scott Lynch’s capability in writing a great book with unique high fantasy story, compelling main characters, and beautiful settings. It’s another must-have addition to the Gentleman Bastard sequence, and in my opinion, equally great with the first book. I know it’s been almost 10 years since the release of this book but hey, better late than never right? So chop-chop for those of you who haven’t started yet, time to read this series!

I highly recommend this to anyone who’s looking for a unique high fantasy full of swashbuckling, friendship, hilarious and captivating dialogues, heart-wrenching and thrilling moments yet at the same time remaining highly fun and enjoyable to read.
Profile Image for Samantha.
441 reviews16.8k followers
November 17, 2017
4.75 stars! Finally the pirate book I've been craving. This is basically Ocean's 11 meets Pirates of the Caribbean.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.7k followers
July 23, 2020
ive said it once, and i will say it again - locke and jean could rob me of all im worth and i would literally get down on my knees and thank them for the honour. they are the most deceptively clever, enticingly cunning, and gentlemanly bastards i have ever read and i cant get enough of them.

you guys, this story does not suffer from a sophomore slump. its a brand new adventure thats luring, nautical, and full of scoundrels.

its masterfully chaotic - so many subplots, so many characters (yay for more women!), 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.

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

im not going to lie. im a little worried about how things are going to go in the next book. i guess i just have to pick it up and see what happens next!

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Kelly.
889 reviews4,130 followers
April 27, 2009

Although I was prepared to bite my thumb at anyone who had a problem with this book up to about 200 pages in, over the course of the 500 pages after that, I began to slowly, reluctantly and finally in complete exasperation, change my mind.

Scott Lynch begins his novel at the same level of quality as his fabulous first novel, The Lies of Locke Lamora. His characters are dealing with the events of the previous novel, in a mostly believable fashion, in a believable time period- its kept from becoming episodic, or his characters from seeming hollow. I very much enjoyed the first 200 pages as they both try to move on and deal with the past- and the explanation of how they got where they are when the novel opens- two years on from the events of Lies. A+ character development, A+ banter, A+ action sequences, A+ for inventiveness, loved the relationship between Locke and Jean, and it had mostly well done plot development, as Locke and Jean embroil themselves in yet another high flying Oceans Eleven style con.

However. And this is a big however- it felt like Scott Lynch suddenly changed his mind completely about what he wanted to write, and had a big Screw It moment, and decided to be completely self-indulgent. Which I'm sure was a lot of fun for him, but for the reader, it is a very confusing, ridiculous sharp disappointment. Somewhere along the way, he decided he wanted to write Pirates of the Carribean fanfiction, stealing plot details (which kind of sucked even in the movies), settings, near direct quotes, and even little moments of action in battle sequences. His other influences were starkly obvious as well- there were strong, strong nods to The Princess Bride, moments out of the movie they made of Zorro, even. His characters fell victim to the most overdone of fantasy genre stereotypes (the fact that they didn't do this was one of my favorite parts of the first book), his plot was increasingly unlikely, and also became a ridiculous soap opera, and the quality of his writing went from laugh out loud to roll my eyes so loud you can hear me across the room.

I also felt that this book got incredibly preachy at points- which is kind of a killjoy for a novel that has two thieves for heroes. Lynch decided that he needed to push some kind of Robin Hood, working class agenda to make his heroes seem morally superior to everyone else. Nobody is reading this book for justice for the lower classes, Lynch.

It wasn't all bad- I appreciated the Lynch inserts women into professions all throughout his world mostly without preachy comment, I liked the character of the pirate Zamira, I enjoyed that Jean (who is still mostly wonderful) got his own independent storyline, I enjoyed how good his descriptive powers can be, and like I said, I enjoyed the first 200 pages.

But come on, this could have been much better.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
June 7, 2018
Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee, Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly, FitzChivalry Farseer and The Fool, Locke Lamora and Jean Tammen: eight men of fantasy who without their counterpart would be nothing.

Indeed, without Jean at his back Locke Lamora would have no chance of success. Both men provide the other with what he lacks, and together they make a deadly, silver tongued, thieving duo that are best summed up in two words: awesome bastards.

A deadly scheme on the high seas!


It was a big surprise to me that in the prologue Jean betrays Locke. It’s obviously not real, and there’s obviously a reason for the farce; it is, no doubt, a charade for the benefit of their mark. But, either way, it made me storm through the book to discover exactly why it had happened. This was a bit of an underhanded move to those that the trick was played on. It worked quite well and gave me a strong reason to read this book even if I felt a little duped.

The plot of this book is fast and exciting. I’m not quite sure how the duo manages to pull it all off. I mean they juggle a casino heist at the same time as being manipulated by a devious Archon; then to top it off they even find time in the middle for a pirate adventure. It’s quite remarkable really because just when you think their luck has run out they seem to conjure up an incredibly clever, and improvised, plan to save their hides. These two are literally two of the most scheming, ingenious, bastards that ever existed: they are the definition of lovable rogues. They grow on me with each book.

A clever partnership

They know each other so well, and only because of this do they manage to defeat the odds time and time again. They have secret hand gestures and code words so they can tell the others motives in tricky situations. Locke provides the ability to worm himself out of any trap and Jean provides the muscle along with a moral thievish code. Together they are brilliant, apart they are vulnerable. Their history together keeps them alive and allows for the most outlandish of plans to develop into a truly intricate plot.

“When you can't cheat the game, you'd best find a means to cheat the players.”

I do think the author’s writing has improved in this novel. He still uses the same eloquent descriptions, but the superfluous and convoluted information about the scenery are kept to a minimum. In the previous book it felt he’d spent paragraphs describing inanimate objects and irrelevant places; I was glad to see a more concise approach to his writing. I think he has got the balance just right in this novel and I can easily see this developing into a really strong series. I can’t wait to see where the author takes this in the future.

Gentleman Bastard Sequence
1. The Lies of Locke Lamora- A good solid 3.5 stars
2. Red Seas Under Red Skies- A thieving 4 stars
3. The Republic of Thieves - A poisonous 4.5 stars
Profile Image for Luna. ✨.
92 reviews1,236 followers
April 17, 2017

“Who’s the biggest, meanest motherfucker here? Who’s the best bruiser in the Brass Coves?”

Buddy read with my fellow ship mates Petrik & Celeste.


Seriously, it was incredible. I can't even explain how happy I was to be back in this world. I went into this book with lowish expectations because, I heard it was the weakest in the trilogy. However for me that wasn't the case, this book was as good as The Lies of Locke Lamorr, honestly I can't decide if I like this one or the first one better, so I'm going to say they are both equally amazing. I found the writing this time around to be much easier to follow and still love the way the chapters are set, past and present. BUT I still hated the long arse descriptions that go on and on, the world building is wonderful however I found the descriptions to be over kill. The action in this one doesn't stop, its like a horrible roller coaster that your not allowed to get off, instead of vomiting, I came close to having a heart attack..
On more then one occasion, I found myself talking to the book, begging for my favourite bromance ever to stay safe & friends, I even cried. Like there was some really heartbreaking parts in this book. The pain Locke & Jean felt at the start, the strain on their friendship & most importantly the death of my ultimate ship. The pain in my heart, was also real.
I must also admit, it definitely wasn't as fun to read as the first. This book is a lot darker then the first and has a lot of heartbreak and anguish. It was less humorous then the first but definitely wasn't lacking for banter and still had some really funny moments. It also had a ROMANCE, Yay. I totally love romance in stories, only when the romance isn't the main focus. It had me feeling all gooey inside. I just loved everything about this book.

“Pretend I’m a barrel, then.”
“Barrels don’t have br—”
“So I’ve heard. Find the nerve, ___.”
“You want me to pretend that you’re a barrel so I can tell you what I was telling barrels back when I was pretending they were you.”

Only one word to describe this book and that's BADASS. As you all know I love criminals, deceit, backstabbing, bromance, swearing (my inner hillbilly loves all the swearing), thievery & tough people. Well folks this book has all of the above, like could this series actually be the bible of badassery? Truth be honest, it is the holy grail of badassery & I'm currently making a temple to worship the thirteenth god, the Crooked Warden. I swear this book was written for me. We were made for each other. It was even educational. I learnt a lot from this book, it taught me how to lie, steal, cheat, the fact that you must take cats to sea for luck, to kill people & also this new insult “I’ll fuckin’ kill you later, you cabbage-brained pig-rapist!”


The story is a continuation of book one after Locke & Jean escape from Camorr. This time around we have two broken men, who are trying to get established in the underworld in a new city. The job itself is to steal something precious from the Spinspire casino. I found the plot in this book more complex then book one, there was a quote in the book that describes it perfectly; “This web of lies was growing so convoluted, so branching, and so delicate that a moth’s fart might knock it to pieces—”
The lies that Locke & Jean weave are so complex, I have no idea how Scott thought of half the stuff that happens in the book, some of the situations the bastards got out of or should I say lied themselves out of were so insane. This book was full of heisty goodness, it was like Oceans Eleven only with PIRATES! Did I just say pirates? Yes I fucking did. I don't know about you, but Pirates are my favourite criminals ever, so I was an extremely happy camper while reading this book. I found the pirate terminology easy to follow because well let's face it, I'm a pirate and fluent in pirate language. I also didn't know pirates loved cats?! I AM THE CRAZY CAT LADY so I loved all the mewing and pawing around. So much cat talk. I'm in cat heaven. “ "We must have cats. A basket of cats, for the Red Messenger. We need what luck we can steal. All gods as your witness, you must not fail to have cats at that ship before we put to sea.”
But I'm faced with a new issue & it was worst then all the heartbreak.. I can't pick a favourite character and I always need a favourite. Im indecisive on who I like more, I love them both for different reason, Jean because his the toughest motherfucker ever, “I’m the meanest motherfucker here. I’m the biggest bruiser in the Brass Coves.” . But then I also love Locke because his a clever, little crafty bastard & the best thief ever "You snake-souled, dirty-minded son of a bitch! I hope a shark tries to suck your cock!” . So I've decided they can both join my harem. I truly adore Locke & Jean, they're bromance is amazing, honestly the best bromance ever & their banter is something else, the sass is so strong with these two perfect thieves. If I could have two book best friends id choose Locke & Jean, hands down.

fanart by Tolmancotton.

Can this series be made into a movie now? Please. My action loving self is craving to see my bastards kick arse on screen.

“Surely you boys can do simple sums,” he said. “One plus one equals don’t fuck with me.”

I'd recommend this to all fantasy lovers 15+. I also think this series would be a great introduction for someone wanting to read adult fantasy.

Ps. Currently training to be a gentleman bastard. See all you suckers when I'm snatching your purse.

Here's some cat quotes from the book that gave me the giggles;
"but you’d better pray in your cabin tonight for one thing.”
“What’s that?”
“Cats falling from the bloody sky.
OF COURSE, no convenient rain of screeching felines was forthcoming that night,”

I wish this every night aswell


"But…can you imagine those poor bastards grappling their prey, leaping over the rails, swords in hand, screaming, ‘Your cats! Give us all your gods-damned cats!’”
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for James Tivendale.
318 reviews1,345 followers
March 1, 2017
I probably enjoyed this book more than the first of the Gentleman Bastard sequence. It starts as fast paced as the previous book ended with Locke & Jean already knee deep in a con involving this worlds equivalent of a Casino known as the Sinspire. The start of the novel flips between this section and also what the characters have been up to since they sailed away from Camorr at the end of book 1. This section showcases a cool transition period which shows the Gentleman Bastard's as less than their elegant best including an alcoholic Locke!!

After the first 200 pages or so - things get very complicated. Locke and Jean playing 3-4 personas depending on who they are talking too. This tale is mixed with poison, trying to rob a vault at the casino, pretending to be pirates, love, and quite a few deaths again.

There are a lot more characters in this book than the first that I cared about. So much going on including the divisions of pirates, mages still after Locke & Jean, assassination attempts etc... As I mentioned this is very fast paced and I think the human qualities of the main characters shine - they are not superheroes and are just likely to make mistakes during the long cons. Also - Jean and Locke have the best bromance ever! Can't wait for the next book.

James x
Ps. I am pretty sure I got lucky and bought the first edition of this book for £1.00 from a charity shop! Woop. x
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
548 reviews34.7k followers
March 1, 2020
”I’d lay even odds that between the people following us and the people hunting us, we’ve become this city’s principal means of employment. Tal Verrar’s entire economy is now based on fucking with us.”

Now if that isn't an accurate assessment I dunno! ;-P In fact this is a pretty good summary of the entire book and I could probably leave it at that. Since I’m me and since I always feel an almost overwhelming need to put in my two cents I’ll go a little bit more into detail though. (Don’t say you didn’t see that coming! ;-P) So apparently the shit hit the fan in “Red Seas Under Red Skies” - big time I may add - and Locke and Jean are neck-deep in trouble once again.

How they managed to infuriate an entire city? Well, I think you’ll have to find that out for yourself, all I’m going to say is that they seem to have a special talent to attract the unwanted attention of bigger fish. And I’m not talking about sharks here, I’m talking about sea monsters. *lol* Both figuratively and quite literally speaking. XD They have more enemies than you can count and if this wouldn’t already have been enough the Bondsmagi of Karthain are still pissed off because of their – let’s say – quite unique way of dealing with one of their own. I swear the scene at the market gave me the creeps. *shudders*

I’m sure Locke and Jean can’t drink enough Lashani Blue to get their warning out of their heads. XD I might be able to though, so if any of you know where to get a bottle of this hellish stuff I’m ready to buy it and share! ;-P It sounded truly delicious! Anyway, let’s not have one over the eight and focus on other things instead! XD For instance the plot: What I really enjoyed was that the book started with another planned heist but went in an entirely different direction after more and more players came into the game. At first I wasn’t all too sure if I liked that change but damn did Scott Lynch persuade me to board that new ship! Quite literally once again, because they were actually heading out to the Sea of Brass. *lol* And the rest? Well, the rest will hopefully become your next bedtime story. ;-P

The characters:

Welcome to Tal Verrar! The city of gambling where winning will get you to the next level! At least in the questionable establishment of the Sinspire which truth be told, actually sounds like a legendary place to be! *lol* Selendri and Requin the owners of said gambling den don’t mess around though so prepare to be spoiled at every gambling table! Spoiled AND robbed of course! Keep your enemies close and your money closer! ;-P

Locke Lamora:

”And I miss them,” he said, his voice nearly a whisper. “Gods, I miss them. It’s my fault they’re dead. I can’t… I can’t stand it –“

I swear the Locke at the beginning of this book had my heart bleeding! I never thought I’d see him so broken but after what happened at the end of the last book I should have known that he wasn’t going to recover quickly. =( I’m really glad that Jean was with him and forced him to face his problems because otherwise he would have never come back! And come back he did! *lol* I loved to watch his journey and how he changed during the book. The loss of his friends made him stronger and more serious but every once in a while there were moments when the old Locke reappeared. His sass and his charming personality will always cause me to root for him and I just love this man, okay?! XD He could charm the last penny from my pockets and steal my heart all at once and I still wouldn’t mind it! <33 And if he wouldn’t already be such a great thief and con man I’d totally be ready to read stories about Captain Orrin Ravelle! *lol*

”Oh,” sighed Jean. “Well, aren’t you the clever little bastard.”
“Yes on all three counts, actually.”

”Captain Orrin Ravelle,” said Locke, drawing a dagger and placing it against the captain’s throat. “Of the good ship Tal Verrar is Fucked! You stop in and let them know I’m in the neighbourhood!”

”Once a Big Lie was let out in the world, it seemed to grow on its own and needed little tending or worry to bend to the situation.”

Jean Tannen:

”When I get this door open, you’re dead, Jean!”
“When you get that door open? I look forward to many long years of life, then.”

Jean is THE BEST!! <3 I loved how he dealt with morose Locke and his creativity was quite impressive! Who would have known he had it in him? XD I think Jean changed a lot in this book too and I really liked his character arc. To lose his fellow Gentleman Bastards was bitter pill for him as well, but he dealt with it in an entirely different way than Locke did. Jean tried to build something new and watched out for Locke which is so typical for him. He’s the best friend you could possibly have and despite his grief he never lost hope. Still, it’s undeniable that his priorities changed and this led to quite a few arguments between him and Locke. I think Jean only wants peace now but as it seems this just isn’t in the cards for them. >_<

Ezri Delmastro:

”Touch a weapon, or try to take one from one of the crew, and I guarantee you’ll die on the instant. We’re touchy about that.”

I ADORED this woman! Ezri was so amazing and I’m very thankful Scott Lynch decided to invent her character and to make her a part of this book! She’s definitely a girl that doesn’t take any shit from anyone and I just loved her for it! Ezri is a formidable fighter and the men on her ship listened to her. I loved that she had the respect of the crew and that she was able to fight for herself. No damsel in distress here, just a strong woman that knew exactly what she wanted and took it! That’s how awesome female characters are done! I loved how unapologetic she was and seriously, when I grow up I want to be like her! *lol* She could be very compassionate and gentle though and I can’t believe it had to end like that!!! WHY SCOTT LYNCH??!! WHY??? Ezri deserved so much better than that! T_T I’ll never get over her sacrifice… never. >_<

”Del, if it’s not too much trouble, we’re planning to attack that ship just ahead of us, so could you-“
“Oh, yeah, the fight for our lives. I suppose I could help you out for a few minutes, Captain.”

Captain Zamira Drakasha:

”Oh good,” she said a moment later. “Because after that, Mummy needs to fetch her armour and her sabres. And then she needs to go and board that lying motherfucker’s ship and sink it like a stone.”

A female pirate captain and she owned it!!! Zamira was such a strong character! I really liked that she had two children and was a caring and loving mother as well as a total badass when it came to boarding an enemy ship! Some might say that her children were her weakness but I think her love for them only made her even stronger. She saw through all of Locke’s lies and wasn’t fooled by him and that led to him being honest with her which was amazing! I think Locke needed an honest friend like Zamira and someone that brought out the best in him. And in some way or another she did exactly that! At the end of the book Locke and Jean left her ship but I really hope that she’ll reappear in one of the other books. The world sure as hell needs more characters like Captain Drakasha!!!

Stragos – The Archon:

”The Bondsmagi distort our world with their very presence. They rule us in many ways that have nothing to do with politics; the fact that we can hire them to do our bidding is immaterial. That little guild looms over everything we plan, everything we dream.”

Now that man was quite a nuisance! Stragos is one of those privileged people that buy their mercenaries and alchemists, but have no idea how to use them properly. I must admit he got the better of Locke and Jean when he made them drink his wine, but if it wouldn’t have been for his dangerous little games he would have been no threat to them. He seemed to be the kind of man that loves to plan things and sets them into motion, but ultimately has no foresight to predict unexpected events, let alone to take them into account. His plan to use Locke and Jean in order to stir the pirates was pretty half-baked and it was no surprise that it didn’t work out. If you ask me he got exactly what he deserved and hopefully his current predicament will teach him a valuable lesson!

Selendri & Requin:

”I wonder if there is anything that you don’t distrust.”
“Distrust everyone,” she said, “and you can never be betrayed. Opposed, but never betrayed.”

Now those two were the real deal! They were quite the antagonistic pair and I kind of liked their attitude. Those two didn’t mess around; they were a force to be reckoned with and definitely even more of a threat to Locke and Jean than Stragos ever was. You wouldn’t have thought it by just looking at them but they were quite formidable and skilled. ;-) The interesting thing about them is that no one would have assumed them to be so clever. They were highly underestimated which ultimately benefited them in the end. Also can we please acknowledge how interesting the Sinspire was? I would have loved to take a closer look at that place and to spend a night there! *lol* And don’t even get me started about the irony at the end! XD Requin’s final move was artfully done indeed. ;-P Something tells me that we haven’t seen the last of them yet and that this Duo Infernale will reappear in one of the other books. A girl can always dream, right? *lol*

’Difficult. “Difficult” and “impossible” are cousins often mistaken for one another, with very little in common.’

”All that remains,” said Requin, “is for your other judge to concur that you are still a risk worth taking.”
“Other judge?”
Requin gestured toward Selendri. “You’ve heard everything, my dear. Do we put Leocanto out of the window, or do we send him back down to where you fetched him from?”

The relationships & ships:

Locke & Jean:

”Maybe I’ll just hold fast after this bottle,” said Locke.
“Hold fast is a nautical – “
“I know,” said Locke. “I’ll kill myself later.”

Their friendship is still everything and I can’t believe that Locke doubted him for even a second! Then again he might have thought he wasn’t worthy of his friendship anymore - because let’s be blunt here - he truly acted like an idiot at the beginning of the book. He was grieving though and Jean being Jean knew that it was Locke’s way to cope with things. It certainly wasn’t the best way but it’s probably the only one Locke ever knew. Still, with Jean’s love interest there came an interesting and new dynamic into their friendship and I think Locke had to get used to his best friend being in love. It’s something we all have to deal with when we grow up and it might have happened rather late with those two but it did happen nevertheless. ;-) Jean’s priorities might have changed over the course of the book but this didn’t mean that he was wrong. There was nothing wrong about wanting a quiet and easy life and Locke eventually realized this too. Hell, at the end he wanted this kind of life as well and was ready to take a shot at it with Ezri and Jean. It’s such a pity that Stragos didn’t let them have it. =((( And URGH!!! I don’t know how often I used this sentence for books already but THE ENDING!!!! >_< It kills me to think that Locke might die a slow and painful death now but I can totally understand why he did what he did! <333 Jean means everything to him and is his family and after all the things he did for him he just wanted to make sure that he’d be alright. That bastard! You can’t even blame him for taking away Jean’s choice because it was such a noble and right thing to do. T_T ARGH! I swear, one day Locke Lamora will be the death of me! <3

”Fuck you. You’re ten pints of crazy in a one-pint glass.”

”He is extraordinary,” Locke whispered. “He continues to save my life, time and time again, even when I don’t deserve it.” He returned his gaze to the Orchid’s roiling, glowing, monster-haunted wake. “Which is always, more or less.”

”He realized that he was strangely disquieted that Jean hadn’t followed him, relentlessly at his heels, looking after him as always.”

”It is a favour,” said Locke. “A favour to me. You saved my life all the time because you’re an idiot and you don’t know any better. Let me… let me do it for you, just once. Because you actually deserve it.”
“I don’t understand any of this,” Jean whispered. “You son of a fucking bitch, how can you do this? I want to hug you. And I want to tear your gods-damned head off. Both at once.”

Ezri & Jean:

”It is a fine match. Maybe you could do better –“ Locke grinned to let Jean know that there was no actual need to knock his brains out of his skull. “but I know for a solid fact that she couldn’t. Ever.” So saying, he squeezed Jean’s hand. “I’m happy for you. You’ve gone and stolen something back from this whole dead-end distraction Stragos has shoved us into. Hold it tight.”

*sighs* I adored them so much! They were really damn cute and I found myself grinning when they interacted. Yes, they were that sweet! They were a fine match indeed which made it even sadder that Ezri died while saving them all. That woman was so perfect for Jean, I swear! She gave her life for her friends and family just like Jean would have done. And I think the worst thing about it all is that Jean can’t even be angry at her because if given the chance he would have done exactly the same thing. >_< I’m actually kind of pissed off myself and have an axe to grind with Lynch as well! How dare you to introduce such a great woman just to kill her off again? It’s not fair!! *sniff* I shipped them really hard but I also knew that it wouldn’t last. Truth be told I was afraid Ezri would die the moment Jean really fell for her. It was too good to be true. T_T

”Always a way to attack,” Jean mused between kisses, “always a way to escape.”
“Of course,” she whispered. “Hold fast, and sooner or later you’ll always find what you’re after.”


When I thought that Scott Lynch couldn’t surprise me anymore he proved me wrong and took this book in an entirely different direction. I would have been content to follow their Sinspire heist but Lynch had other plans and I’m really thankful for it! This book had everything I love: Intriguing and clever characters, a deadly gamble, a heist, pirates, strong female MCs, an amazing plot and last but not least a wonderful world I could get lost in. If you’ve already read the first book and loved it, do yourself a favour and read this one too! I’m 90% certain you won’t regret it. ;-)
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews9,006 followers
February 26, 2018
This book is 1/3 this:

And 2/3 this:

Quite a fantastic and epic story! A casino caper and a swashbuckling adventure combining action, deception, romance, and humor - this book has it all. Very well written. Even with the length of the story, I never felt that it had gone on too long. Definitely no filler.

This is a sequel and I think I like it better than the first. That is saying a lot because the first was great! In this case, I will say something I don't usually say - I think you could read this one without reading the first and be just fine. While they do bring up some events from the first book, the author does a great job making this book it's own.

So, do you like epic awesomeness? Crossbow battles? Death by poison? Wild pirate sex? Baskets full of cats? Then look no further!

That's right, I said BASKETS FULL OF CATS!

Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
596 reviews3,590 followers
November 15, 2018
EDIT 22/1/2017: Saw Scott Lynch's reply to a reader who complained that a black, middle-aged badass pirate mom was "unrealistic" and now I love this series more than ever (Underlined parts are the criticism):

Third your characters are unrealistic stereotpyes of political correctness. Is it really necessary for the sake of popular sensibilities to have in a fantasy what we have in the real world? I read fantasy to get away from politically correct cliches.

God, yes! If there's one thing fantasy is just crawling with these days it's widowed black middle-aged pirate moms.

Real sea pirates could not be controlled by women, they were vicous rapits and murderers and I am sorry to say it was a man's world. It is unrealistic wish fulfilment for you and your readers to have so many female pirates, especially if you want to be politically correct about it!

First, I will pretend that your last sentence makes sense because it will save us all time. Second, now you're pissing me off.

You know what? Yeah, Zamira Drakasha, middle-aged pirate mother of two, is a wish-fulfillment fantasy. I realized this as she was evolving on the page, and you know what? I fucking embrace it.

Why shouldn't middle-aged mothers get a wish-fulfillment character, you sad little bigot? Everyone else does. H.L. Mencken once wrote that "Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats." I can't think of anyone to whom that applies more than my own mom, and the mothers on my friends list, with the incredible demands on time and spirit they face in their efforts to raise their kids, preserve their families, and save their own identity/sanity into the bargain.

Shit yes, Zamira Drakasha, leaping across the gap between burning ships with twin sabers in hand to kick in some fucking heads and sail off into the sunset with her toddlers in her arms and a hold full of plundered goods, is a wish-fulfillment fantasy from hell. I offer her up on a silver platter with a fucking bow on top; I hope she amuses and delights. In my fictional world, opportunities for butt-kicking do not cease merely because one isn't a beautiful teenager or a muscle-wrapped font of testosterone. In my fictional universe, the main characters are a fat ugly guy and a skinny forgettable guy, with a supporting cast that includes "SBF, 41, nonsmoker, 2 children, buccaneer of no fixed abode, seeks unescorted merchant for light boarding, heavy plunder."

You don't like it? Don't buy my books. Get your own fictional universe. Your cabbage-water vision of worldbuilding bores me to tears.

As for the "man's world" thing, religious sentiments and gender prejudices flow differently in this fictional world. Women are regarded as luckier, better sailors than men. It's regarded as folly for a ship to put to sea without at least one female officer; there are several all-female naval military traditions dating back centuries, and Drakasha comes from one of them. As for claims to "realism," your complaint is of a kind with those from bigoted hand-wringers who whine that women can't possibly fly combat aircraft, command naval vessels, serve in infantry actions, work as firefighters, police officers, etc. despite the fact that they do all of those things-- and are, for a certainty, doing them all somewhere at this very minute. Tell me that a fit fortyish woman with 25+ years of experience at sea and several decades of live bladefighting practice under her belt isn't a threat when she runs across the deck toward you, and I'll tell you something in return-- you're gonna die of stab wounds.

What you're really complaining about isn't the fact that my fiction violates some objective "reality," but rather that it impinges upon your sad, dull little conception of how the world works. I'm not beholden to the confirmation of your prejudices; to be perfectly frank, the prospect of confining the female characters in my story to placid, helpless secondary places in the narrative is so goddamn boring that I would rather not write at all. I'm not writing history, I'm writing speculative fiction. Nobody's going to force you to buy it. Conversely, you're cracked if you think you can persuade me not to write about what amuses and excites me in deference to your vision, because your vision fucking sucks.

I do not expect to change your mind but i hope that you will at least consider that I and others will not be buying your work because of these issues. I have been reading science fiction and fantasy for years and i know that I speak for a great many people. I hope you might stop to think about the sales you will lose because you want to bring your political corectness and foul language into fantasy. if we wanted those things we could go to the movies. Think about this!

Thank you for your sentiments. I offer you in exchange this engraved invitation to go piss up a hill, suitable for framing.

Original review:

"You are thieves. I am offering you a chance to help steal history itself."

How to write a badass fantasy sequel, a list:

-An actual plot
-Fantasy Las Vegas
-Plenty of skullduggery
-Witty dialogue
-Stealing, catfishing, and grand heists
-More bromance
-WOMEN Pirates
-A kickass new love interest
-A kickass new PIRATE love interest
-Silk parasols
-Schemes layered like cakes
-Locke being awesome
-Jean being awesome
-Humbling Locke the way BBC Sherlock's creators never humble Sherlock
-Cats (very important)

"I'm not resigned, Jean. I'm angry. We need to cease being powerless as soon as possible."

"Right. So where do we start?"

"Well, I'm going to go back to the inn. I'm going to pour a gallon of cold water down my throat. I'm going to get into bed, put a pillow over my head, and stay there until sunset."

"I approve."

My review of The Lies of Locke Lamora
My review of The Republic of Thieves
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
721 reviews1,120 followers
August 4, 2018
“We can slide down chimneys and slip locks and rob coaches and break vaults and do a fine spread of card tricks...but I hate to tell you that the one class of criminal we really haven’t associated with, ever, is fucking pirates!”

Still thoroughly enjoying this series! Locke and Jean are on another impossible mission to swindle the rich out of their money. What they don’t bargain on is the Bondsmagi come for their revenge, using a wealthy man as their means. Locke and Jean end up coerced into doing what this man says, in the hope that he won’t follow through and kill them.
This task involves piracy. Something Locke and Jean know nothing about. So they hit the high seas, with all the trouble, violence and superstition that comes with it.
All the while Locke’s mind is stirring up ways that they can still come out on top. I’m always blown away with the level of detail and thought that goes into Locke and Jean’s missions. Double and triple crossing - it’s amazing he can keep track of which character he is playing at which time!
These books are exciting and thrilling, albeit quite complex at times. I will definitely be picking up book 3.

“I want to hug you. And I want to tear your gods-damned head off. Both at once.’ ‘Ah,’ said Locke. “Near as I can tell, that’s the definition of family right there.”
Profile Image for Celeste.
933 reviews2,385 followers
April 20, 2017
Full review now posted!
This review and more can be found on Booknest.

A buddy read with my loves: Petrik and Sarah.

In my humble opinion, pirates make everything better. When I was six or seven, my favorite Saturday-morning cartoon was Pirates of the Dark Waters. (Which so didn’t age well, but nostalgia covers a multitude of sins.) In junior high, I went through a phase where I researched every famous pirate I knew of, just because I found them fascinating. I’ve loved every single one of The Pirates of the Caribbean movies, including those that some people considered flops. I had a poster of Jack Sparrow over my bed in high school, but that wasn’t because I loved pirates; that was because I had the hots for Johnny Depp in eyeliner. Anyway, moving on!

Fantasy is my favorite literary genre, but I’ve always found it sadly lacking in pirates. Yes, I know there are a few wonderful exceptions. But all in all, pirates are scarce in fantasy. So imagine my delight when the sequel to one of my favorite fantasy novels, The Lies of Locke Lamora, featured a heavy dose of piracy! And the aspects of piracy, from the hierarchy and camaraderie between the crew to the way battle is waged on the open sea to the ships themselves, were presented in such a captivating way that I could feel the wind against my cheek and smell the salt in the air. Just based on that fact alone, this book would have made me happy. But there was so much more to love here.

As in Lies, the character development is incredible. Even supporting characters who only appear in a scene or two feel like real people. Main supporting characters are even more realistic, inspiring a plethora of emotions in readers. But then there’s Locke and Jean. This is the best friendship I’ve read in any book, it truly is. And I don’t say that lightly. There are other literary friendships that I adore, and that mean a lot to me. Sherlock and Watson, Harry and Ron and Hermione, Legolas and Gimli, Wax and Wayne, and so many more just pale in comparison to Locke and Jean; at least, they do for me.

Lynch’s descriptive powers are phenomenal. Just as I grew to love Camorr, dark side and all, I grew to love and hate Tal Verrar, and would envision its streets and docks and Sinspire just as well as I could Camorr’s canals and temples. In both books, the cities themselves played a large part in the cons Locke and Jean planned. The cons themselves, and the way bits and pieces of them are revealed throughout the story, are always a pleasure to read. Never in my life have chairs inspired so much curiosity in me.

Something else I really loved: there’s not even a hint of sexism in Lynch’s writing, which is refreshing in fantasy. Modern fantasy writers are getting much better at portraying female characters as women instead of props, but Lynch is one of the best I’ve ever read in this regard. His women are real. And women populate every profession in the books with equality to their male counterparts. Women are guards and soldiers and pirate captains, and I love how no one ever questions a woman’s ability to fight as well as any man.

There is romance in this story, romance that will make your heart bleed and your teeth ache with the sweetness of it. There are triumphs and betrayals and plots within plots. More than any other fantasy I’ve read, the first two Gentleman Bastards books have shocked me and inflicted severe emotional trauma. But they are also among the funniest books I’ve ever read. The dialogue is second to none. Some of the funniest lines I’ve read in my entire life came from the pen of Lynch. Here are just a few lines from the numerous that I highlighted in this book:

“Any man can fart in a closed room and say that he commands the wind."

“Maxilan, darling." Locke raised one eyebrow and smiled. "I knew you were driven, but I had no idea you could smoulder. Come, take me now! Jean won't mind; he'll avert his eyes like a gentleman.”

“You’re ten pints of crazy in a one-pint glass.”

“You needed a bath," Jean interrupted. "You were covered in self-pity.”

“You'd have to take your shoes and breeches off to count to twenty-one!”

There are many, MANY more, but I feel that I can’t repeat them in polite company. (That last one I probably shouldn’t have included either, but it’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever read and I couldn’t help myself!) Which means you’ll just have to pick up the book to read the best lines! If you do, I promise you’ll find one of the funniest, most heart-wrenching books you’ll ever read. This is a series well worth reading. I’ll leave you with a quote from Jean, about what it means to be a thief:

“Look for us in history books and you’ll find us in the margins. Look for us in legends, and you might just find us celebrated.”
Profile Image for Ginger.
791 reviews378 followers
May 5, 2017
Welp, seldom has a book made me waver on how much I felt about it. I definitely went into this sequel with high hopes because I loved The Lies of Locke Lamora!

At the beginning of the book, Red Seas Under Red Skies seemed to be heading in the same way. And then it got weighed down. I like when a book has tons of twists and plots so I stayed with the course. But there were sections that got tedious and I struggled, especially with the nautical information that Jean and Locke had to learn. Also, the details of the double crossing and all the players in the story took a bit to get into as well.

But then half way in the middle of the book, the sun rose and all the tedious details gave to the real story! Argh matey, they be pirates! And it was awesome!

Once Lynch had everything in place, it came together for a fun and exciting adventure on the high seas. The new characters worked so well with the Gentlemen Bastards and I fell in love with them all. Pirates, some romance, adventure, an epic battle, a tragic death, and some double crossing, this book as you can see has it all for an epic fantasy.

The buildup took too long to get to in this book and the details were a bit tedious, so that’s why I have to give this 4 stars instead of 5. But overall, a fantastic sequel!

Oh yeah, that cliffhanger at the end?! Gah! You are fucking brilliant Lynch because I have to read the next book in the series. Bravo you crafty bastard.
Profile Image for ChopinFC.
273 reviews79 followers
July 14, 2022
Full review…

Another absolute slam dunk by Scott Lynch! Gentlemens Bastard 2 does the rare feet of improving on the original formula of the first novel!!

I was so impressed and entertained after the first go round of Gentlemens Bastard, that decided to go right into the second book without pause. In the first novel, Lynch introduces us to the ‘guild of thieves’ and multiple characters including the protagonist Locke and his best bud and confidant ‘Jean’. The world building in the first book was awesome, and the city Cammor had a tinge of ‘old Venice’ interlaced with corruption, thievery contrasted by nobility of dukes and dignitaries.


In the second book, Lynch takes us to a whole new ride in the large city of Tal Verrar. Locke and Jean are much more closely bonded after all the adventures and mishaps of the first novel, so it’s not surprising that the schemes and plotting are abundant from the very beginning.

Lynch is an amazing character-driven writer, and he does an awesome job developing Locke and Jean. New unforgettable characters are also introduced, including new villains who want to destroy Locke and Jean at any cost! (Actually they really want to destroy Locke who pisses everyone off with his witty, sarcastic way).

Lynch is damn funny and writes some really hilarious shit, the likes which almost made me piss in my pants! The dialogue between characters are simply mind-boggling!! And to no surprise, Locke wins the prize at the most memorable, funny sarcastic quotes:

“ Shut up…I want you to use your misplaced acorn of a brain before the squirrel comes looking for it again..”

Now, for the elephant in the room…PIRATES!! Boy, there are pirates galore in this book! Trust me, these are not the cheese type of pirates you see in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. These are BADASS mofos, rude and crass in their behavior, not afraid of a good ASSKICKING, and the occasional looting and disorderly conduct. Lynch again creates magic, in establishing a whole new ‘ecosystem’ for the book by introducing the pirates and mixing it all up with Locke and Jean!


I would be remiss if I didn’t mention about the audiobook version of this book:


The book is narrated by the talented ‘Michael Page’, a British professional actor well known for his audiobook works in over 200 titles! Mr Page has actually won a ‘AudioFile Earphones Awards’ for the narration of Locke Lamorra! I kid you not, his voice-over acting is mesmerizing… the way he switches between each character ( male and female) without dropping a note, is pitch perfect! The combination of Lynch’s witty, fast-pace dialogue and Page’s acting prowess made this audiobook a true delight to enjoy!

In conclusion I endorse this book for foes and friends of all ages(ok maybe not all ages, > 18 y/o).The book is witty, has loads of R-rated humor, improves on the' bromance' between Locke and Jean and adds a whole new dimension with pirates and all baskets of fun associated with them!!

Again the audiobook version is a MUST HAVE EXPERIENCE! By far the most unique, entertaining audiobook experience I’ve ever had!

Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,645 reviews1,512 followers
August 3, 2016
Reading with the BB&B group. I have 3 weeks to finish this so I should be okay :P... actually it took me five weeks to read it.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series but Red Seas Under Red Skies was a bit meh for me.

Don’t get me wrong, the dialogue between Locke and Jean is still amazing and I love the utter devotion those two have for one another. But the story was a little all over the place and I think my biggest issue is probably that the flashbacks were to a time not that long ago instead of when they were growing up gentlemen bastards. So things got a little but jumbly
“Know something? I'd lay even odds that between the people following us and the people hunting us, we've become this city's principle means of employment. Tal Verrar's entire economy is now based on fucking with us.”

And therein lies the problem. They aren’t between a rock and a hard place but A Rock, A hard place, A cliff and an erupting volcano. There are too many adversaries and sub plots and side scams and….well I think you get what I’m saying.


I found myself getting really distracted. I’d read a little bit and then I’d wonder off into another book or three before I remembered to come back to it. It took me forever to get through the section that involved learning how to fake being a pirate.

☯ The + side ☯

☞ - Locke and Jean are ever entertaining. They have a great bromance and even though they have been through some tough times they are still like brothers.

☞ - There are always strong women in this and I was happy to see that the pirates are equal opportunity employers and there were a fair share of deadly female pirates.


☞ - The world building is really wonderful with all the alchemical concoctions and such as well as the deadly and cruel games that the nobility of different lands like to play. I will never look at a chess game in quite the same way after this.

☯ The - side ☯

☛ - Took way too long to get anywhere in the story. With far too many overlapping plot lines. It was a little hard to follow who was on whose side and how they were messing with Locke and Jean.

☛ - There was no Sabatha. Look we didn’t really get to see her in the first book but I was thinking she is Locke’s long lost love and I keep thinking she is going to pop up sometime….but she didn’t. I wish I would have known that going into this book.

☛ - The ending. Well it was unexpected that things played out like they did. I will give Scott Lynch that but idk it made most of the story seem a bit pointless to me.


The writing and dialogue is really good I just don’t think I liked the story all that much. But this is maybe a story that you like better the second time you read through it since you knew where things are going.
Profile Image for Dana Ilie.
404 reviews351 followers
June 27, 2018
Red Seas Under Red Skies is another complicated heist novel with all the danger and glamour of a Bond movie. Incredible set pieces like a Renaissance interzone where the wealthy live beyond the law, a casino high rise made of shimmering glass, and a pirate ship on the high seas lend a cinematic quality to the action. Lynch is meticulous and detailed and it all comes together both believably and unexpectedly.

However, like all the best epics, this is really a story about friendship, recovery, hardship, sorrow, and loss. The author knows his business and plays most of the genre’s tropes straight, subverting them only to make a point about honor and justice. Most of the time when outlaw characters “live by a code” it’s just an arbitrary mess of personal prejudices. Here, they struggle with the right thing versus the sensible thing over and over again.

Locke and Jean are terrible people by most standards. But their conduct is so proscribed, their behavior so emphatic, that the reader is lulled into rooting for them. This is a special thing.
Profile Image for John Mauro.
Author 5 books520 followers
September 17, 2023
Despite a strong opening scence, Red Seas Under Red Skies fails to capture the magic of The Lies of Locke Lamora.

There are several major problems with Red Seas Under Red Skies. The plot takes a number of abrupt turns for no apparent reason other than, perhaps, the author growing bored with the previous plot thread.

The middle 80% of the book is a meandering drag. Our two protagonists, Locke and Jean, remain mostly passive as random things happen to them. The story lacks focus and purpose.

But the biggest problem with Red Seas Under Red Skies is its lack of heart. I love The Lies of Locke Lamora because of its big heart. Unfortunately, that is completely missing here.
Profile Image for Adina .
891 reviews3,553 followers
November 1, 2016

“Know something? I'd lay even odds that between the people following us and the people hunting us, we've become this city's principle means of employment. Tal Verrar's entire economy is now based on fucking with us.”

The follow-up of the marvellous, funny, dark, The Lies of Locke Lamora, this novel does not manage to reach the greatness of the first volume. Still, I very much enjoyed reading about the adventures of my favourite duo of thieves, Locke and Jean.

One of the reasons that I wasn't so convinced by this novel is that the action as mostly at sea and I am not so fond of sailing adventures. I do not know why but I never cared about this subject. Despite this, the author managed to capture my attention and I ended up reading with almost pleasure about the life at sea.

The dialogue between Locke and Jean is the soul of the novel and the main reason I will read the next chapter in the series next year.

I warmly recommend any fantasy fan to try the series. I have only a small advice: if you do not like cussing words than you should stay away from this book as they abound.

Profile Image for Ira Perkins.
18 reviews38 followers
April 11, 2023
Is this the best pirate book I've ever read? Yes. Yes. I (ayyye) think is!!

Oh boy, what a ride! Imagine "Pirates of the Caribbean" meets "Oceans 11" – and that will give you a pretty good idea of how good this rollicking adventure of a book is. Scott Lynch's storytelling prowess shines in this second installment of the Gentlemen Bastards series, packed with high-stakes heists, thrilling sea battles, and unforgettable characters. It's tempting to draw comparisons to its phenomenal predecessor, The Lies of Locke Lamora (easily a top 5 book of all time for me). However, that might create a false impression that this book isn't great. Instead, I like to think of these books like Olympic Gold and Silver medals – one might outshine the other, but both are truly among the best in their field.

Plot Summary
Red Seas Under Red Skies follows the continued adventures of Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen, our beloved Gentlemen Bastards, as they find themselves in the exotic city of Tal Verrar. Here, they plot to rob the Sinspire, the most notorious and impenetrable gambling house in the world. But their plans soon take an unexpected turn when they become embroiled in the dangerous world of piracy. Forced to navigate the treacherous waters and politics of the sea, Locke and Jean must forge new alliances, face old enemies, and survive deadly encounters to pull off the heist of a lifetime.

“ I want to hug you. And I want to tear your gods-damned head off. Both at once."

"Ah," said Locke. "Near as I can tell, that’s the definition of 'family' right there.”

World Building: 4/5
Lynch's world-building is absolutely phenomenal in Red Seas Under Red Skies. He takes us to the exotic and bustling city of Tal Verrar, a city built on layers of history, wealth, and corruption. The lush descriptions of the city, its gambling dens, and luxurious high society draw you in and make you feel like you're right there with the characters. But it doesn't stop there – Lynch also transports us to the open seas, where we're introduced to an equally rich and intriguing world of pirates, naval warfare, and untamed islands - and oh how I love me some boats! The attention to detail and depth of the world-building is truly impressive and serves as the perfect backdrop for the thrilling adventures of Locke and Jean... My only gripe with the world-building is the noticeable absence of "fantastical" elements, which boils down to personal preference. I found myself yearning for more exploration of the mysterious Elder glass monuments scattered throughout the world - or more magic/alchemy to have a bigger effect on the characters/plot as a whole.

“Difficult" and "impossible" are cousins often mistaken for one another, with very little in common.”

Storytelling: 4.5/5
The story here is seriously off the charts good! The plot just blew me away (again) how thrilling and captivating plot that kept me on the edge of my seat. The complex, multilayered narrative showcases his amazing storytelling skills, complete with jaw-dropping twists that had me reeling. Just so so good. Honestly, it's the twists that make this book an absolute rollercoaster of a read, and I just couldn't get enough. Because of this constant double guessing of where things are heading, you get this great building anticipation throughout the book. The whole way I was left wondering how on earth he'd tie everything together in the end. Then BOOM, he just lays it all out for you in the final few chapters. My only quibble was that the ending felt a tiny bit rushed, which maybe made the payoff not quite as satisfying as I'd hoped for.

“Any man can fart in a closed room and say that he commands the wind”

Characters: 5/5
The characters in Red Seas Under Red Skies are truly unforgettable. Locke and Jean, our beloved Gentlemen Bastards, continue to shine in this installment. Their witty banter, unbreakable friendship, and resourcefulness in the face of danger make them an absolute joy to follow. Their growth as characters is beautifully portrayed, and it's impossible not to root for them as they navigate their latest series of misadventures. #Bromance

In addition to our main duo, the supporting cast is just as well-developed and compelling. From the cunning and ruthless Archon of Tal Verrar to the fiercely loyal and determined pirate captain, Zamira Drakasha, every character in this novel feels alive and important to the story. The complex relationships and loyalties at play make for a deeply engaging read that keeps you invested in the fates of each character.

“Know something? I'd lay even odds that between the people following us and the people hunting us, we've become this city's principle means of employment. Tal Verrar's entire economy is now based on fucking with us.”

Writing Style: 5/5
Lynch's prose is nothing short of exceptional in Red Seas Under Red Skies. His writing style is rich and atmospheric, painting vivid pictures of the world and the high-stakes action taking place within it. The dialogue is sharp and witty, with a perfect balance of humor and emotion that brings the characters to life - in this book he was able to make me laugh out loud and cry, which is always a pretty amazing testament. As I've already mentioned, Lynch also excels at building tension and anticipation, leading up to a breathtaking climax that will have you frantically flipping pages to find out what happens next.

“When you can't cheat the game, you'd best find a means to cheat the players.”

Enjoyment: 4.5/5
I can't stress enough how much I loved Red Seas Under Red Skies. The whole package just clicked for me, and I was utterly hooked from start to finish. I was completely engrossed in the world and the characters, always eager to see what would happen next. The twists, oh man, the twists! They kept me guessing, making the ride all the more enjoyable. Every aspect of this book, from the thrilling heists and sea battles to the unforgettable characters and their witty banter, had me captivated. It's true that I had some minor gripes, like the ending feeling a bit rushed, but honestly, that didn't take away from my overall enjoyment. Red Seas Under Red Skies is an absolute rollercoaster of a read, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Final Rating: 4.5/5 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗

My favourite books of 2023 in preferential order
1. The Shadow of the Gods
2. The Lies of Locke Lamora
3. Kings of the Wyld
4. Red Seas Under Red Skies
5. The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World
6. Golden Son
7. Leviathan Wakes
8. Red Sister
Profile Image for Will M..
304 reviews625 followers
December 2, 2014
I'm probably going to receive a lot of hate for this rating, but I'm just being honest here. I'm bold enough to give this a 3, because that's the highest it can go. The novel is not bad, but it's also not phenomenal.

Am I the only one reminded of Pirates of the Caribbean while reading this? Pirates aside, it had the same vibe to it. I really liked Pirates, but just like Red Seas, both had a lot of dull moments.

Red Seas would've received at least a 4 from me, if it was consistent with its amazing first few chapters. This keeps happening with Lynch, he can't seem to be consistent with his page turning chapters. I experienced the same thing with Lies, I was completely hooked, but then the middle part was just terribly boring. Nothing changed with Red Seas, unfortunately. The plot was not completely boring, but also not as interesting as I wanted it to be. The ending was phenomenal, but majority of the novel was really dragging.

This is not one of those Fantasy novels with a secret that you would only find out after reading the novel. This is one of those adventure types that would reveal the outcome of the mission in the end. I like those kinds of novels, but this one wasn't that gripping. I'm not entirely sure what went wrong, but the plot could've been better. I'm really hoping the next novel wouldn't be that boring.

I didn't hate this book, in fact, I'm planning to read the sequel right away. This one just didn't have that something that would keep me at my seat and fascinate me. I didn't hate the novel while reading this, but boredom was really evident. Despite the boredom, I think I can still recommend this to fantasy readers. It's quite different to the mainstream ones, plot wise. The characters are also really great. Locke and Jean are a dynamic duo that makes you want to know what would happen to them. The plot may had been boring, but the characters were unbelievably spot on.

To wrap things up, this is not the best fantasy novel out there, but it's still worth giving a try. This probably suffered the second book syndrome, but I guess it's not all because of that considering I had the same problems with the first novel. May the third be better, because I really like the characters a lot. Not so gripping yet still something to consider reading. Read at your own risk though, because this is not a short read. Despite the boredom though, I'm not sure how I finished this in less than 2 days.
Profile Image for Dorreh.
63 reviews202 followers
October 6, 2016
I hope writing my review doesn't take as long as reading this did!

Review coming soon........
Profile Image for Mwanamali.
378 reviews288 followers
August 28, 2023
Look for us in history books and you’ll find us in the margins. Look for us in legends, and you might just find us celebrated.
Thus spoke Locke Lamora, one of the greatest characters I've ever had the fortune of coming across.

fantasy pirate ships

I've said it plenty enough but it bears mentioning again. I discovered this series because I was moaning about the lack of umph in Six of Crows. For a book about a ragtag gang of criminals in a fantasy island, it got surprisingly dull and had shoddy world building. A GR friend also went through the same and she recommended this, Mistborn (at least the first book) and The Palace Job, which I own and I will get to eventually.

Man oh man was this book everything I dreamed it would be. We start off from where the first book ended. Lamora and Tannen have to escape Camorr as soon as they can and head off to whatever parts, where they can't be bothered or recognised. Where they can recuperate or heal. But Lamora, at first, has no interest in healing. He's battered, bruised and broken. And he's getting on Tannen's nerves.

Lynch uses his gift of time jumps (VE Schwab should really take notes) and each jump provided additional context for a present day event. It covers the journey from Camorr to Tal Verrar and the new con they're running.

As usual, the book is so decadently built with the prose langourously stretching to lull you into a false sense of security.
The sun had been swallowed by thick clouds on the western horizon, and a soft, dying light rippled across the water beneath the first stars of evening.
The geography of Tal Verrar is in your face, constantly juxtaposing the beautiful landscape with the brutality of its people.

In one of the provinces that Locke and Tannen visit to get a prop for their con, they encounter a gladiator ring event where poor people sign up to be tortured by feral demons for the entertainment of the rich. They are moved like chess pieces and the losing pawn is subjected to a humiliation or torture that is hard to stomach. The subtle commentary on capitalism was striking or perhaps I was just hyperaware of it.

Lamora is an agent of chaos and karma, one that luck often finds it necessary to frown at. But his loyalty, bravery and intelligence are what make him an amazing lead. I also love his sense of humour.
“You might still be a lying, cheating, low-down, greedy, grasping, conniving, pocket-picking son of a bitch.”
“Thanks,” said Locke.
What Lamora lacks in brawn, Tannen makes up for it along with philosophy. Tannen has a love for literature that sang to my little bookish heart. At one point, when Lamora was pretending to be recuperating, Tannen decided to start a little protection racket. When he enters a room full of thugs, he asks who's the meanest motherfucker in the room. A hapless man foolishly answered.
“Wrong,” said Jean, not even breathing heavily. “I’m the meanest motherfucker here. I’m the biggest bruiser in the Brass Coves.”

“Surely you boys can do simple sums,” he said. “One plus one equals don’t fuck with me.”

“You son of a bitch!”
“My mother was a saint,” said Jean.
But when Lamora jeopardises their stay at Brass Coves by robbing the governor in a very Lamoran fashion, well... they had to run again.
“That’s a sweet piece,” said Jean, briefly forgetting to be aggravated.
“You didn’t snatch that off a street.”
“No,” said Locke, before taking another deep draught of the warm water in the decanter.
“I got it from the neck of the governor’s mistress.”
“You can’t be serious.”
“In the governor’s manor.”
“Of all the—”
“In the governor’s bed.”
“Damned lunatic!”
"With the governor sleeping next to her."
I love this man.

But the con at Tal Verrar hits an unexpected curve when Lamora is conscripted to work for the Archon without his consent. At the same time, inexplicable assassins are after him. And the bondsmagi are after him following how thoroughly he destroyed the falconer in the first book. All the odds are stacked against Lamora and this time, it seems their gods have abandoned him, especially when he goes on a ship without the two things you need for luck, a cat and a lady. There are all new characters to care for, root for, wish murder on. There are pirate battles, gladiator sequences, hand to hand combat and Lamora killing a bunch of religious nutjobs while riding on a beer barrel. This book is the amazing, wild, pirate fantasy adventure sequel I always deserved. I can't wait to read more from Locke Lamora.
Profile Image for mark monday.
1,678 reviews5,255 followers
August 4, 2023
Happy New Year to you all! it certainly has been some kind of a year. and Happy New Year to Locke and Jean too, or rather, Happy New Life! the thrilling but often horrible and tragic events in their preceding book together certainly warrant some kind of hopeful message.

for the most part they get over it. Lies of Locke Lamora was mainly a whole lot of fun, but the terrible deaths that occurred were genuinely upsetting, and I appreciated how Lynch didn't just rush past the trauma that Jean and especially Locke experience after losing so much. I appreciated Lynch's compassion and sincerity, doled out in advance of and in between all of the fun and excitement.

Red Seas is a worthy follow-up book in many ways. the odd science fantasy of this series still intrigues, the adventures are still rousing, the mysteries are still compelling, and the dialogue still snaps, crackles, and pops. Lynch is a brash but also warmly humane writer who loves his characters deeply but doesn't love them in a way that overlooks their flaws. he's not blinded by the sparkle of his creations. somehow Lynch is one of those authors whose writing makes me like him as a person, as a human being. I have no clue about who the man is, but I still just really appreciate him.

that said, there is a deep flaw in Red Seas: its structure. the novel starts off as a retread of the previous novel by placing the reader right in the middle of one of Locke's new schemes and the subsequent complications (namely, another complex and amusing heist that gets taken over by darker schemes from darker characters). from the title, I expected a pirate adventure and was a wee bit disappointed. still, Lynch creates an entirely new society and although I was taken aback at how instantly familiar the scenario itself was, I was enchanted by this new country. he's an expert world builder. but halfway through the novel, that storyline is shunted to the side and then Pirate Adventures finally ensue. and then in the last few chapters, it is back to the original plotline. everything is enjoyably resolved, but those last chapters felt sadly rushed. and at that point I wanted more Pirate Adventure! which is clearly what Lynch himself wanted to write about. the central section is the heart and soul of the novel. I loved it completely. I just thought it was remarkably clumsy how we got to there and how we left as well - it starts off as a side trip and then becomes the actual adventure. it took me a bit of time to get into it because although it is exactly what I wanted to read when I first picked up the book, I immediately felt impatience when I realized the story of heists and double crosses was being temporarily abandoned. all in all, what Red Seas Under Red Skies lacks the most is flow. its narrative was herky-jerky.

I hate that my longest paragraph in this review is basically a bitch session. well, I guess that explains the 3 rather than 4 stars. but overall I quite liked this and would certainly recommend it. I wish I could make this paragraph longer!

the MVP of the tale is the pirate Captain Drakasha, who also happens to be no-nonsense ex-military, someone possessed of a surprising sense of humor, and... a single black mother of two. because why? because why not! I'm mixed-race and although I don't seek out books for racial diversity in their characters, it always makes me happy to see different shades of people in the books I read, and I'm always delighted when it happens in a way that doesn't feel like tokenism. Drakasha was an amazingly unexpected creation to find in a story about fantastical pirate adventures on the high seas. she is fun and original and, best of all, deeply characterized. just a real pleasure to be around. I wanted much more of her and that's a great feeling to have about any character.

at the end of the book, after all of the adventure and even more tragedy, friends sit down to have a drink, try to forget about the year they just had, and temporarily put on hold the foreboding they have for what may lie ahead. and I'm going to do the same in matter of minutes. cheers! I hope your 2017 is a good year.
Profile Image for carol..
1,576 reviews8,238 followers
August 14, 2011
Four stars, with reservations

A bit of a slog in the beginning--guess I haven't been in the mood for the great con. Locke Lamora is still at the heart of the narrative, and I don't think he could get from bed to breakfast without hatching or implementing a Rube Goldberg of a plot. It remains a sort of "Oceans Eleven" caper at the beginning, with multiple steps and a long, convoluted plan of attack on the owner of an elaborate and elite gambling facility. However, in true Oceans fashion, even as the con is planned and developed, Lynch keeps surprise elements in reserve.

Locke is more than just a bit of a rogue, and has few principles to guide him. I haven't been in the mood to read rogue, but this has been sitting on my shelf for two months and needed to be read. I stuck with it and am pleased to see Locke's ethical compass developing.

What Locke still hasn't comprehended is that the cost of revenge is very, very dear, and might cost everything. We see him early on wallowing in self pity, then acting and saying things to Jean about their old life, apologizing for mistakes made and missing their friends. And yet they are right back in it with their con, and the worst part is, Locke still hasn't realized that his opponents have even fewer scruples than he. There's some tender touches midway through for Jean, which is a redeeming moment of happiness in a generally grim book. I also like the fact that Locke has to "come clean" and enlist the help of others if he is to survive. As always, I appreciate and enjoy the close friendship between Locke and Jean, finding it both believable and redemptive.

Lynch also does a fabulous job envisioning his world and all it's different political structures and terrains. As usual for me, it usually reminds me of the city-states of Renaissance/pre-Ren Italy. The language he uses is fun and complex, with just the right amount of detail, although for those that objected to swearing in the first, it's still here--especially when Locke and Jean head to sea. There are few fantastical elements--the most fantastical thing is probably the mysterious sea creatures and a passage through a haunted channel. For it's genre, I'd almost call it steampunk style, with a heavy reliance on alchemy and "artificers." Again, reminds me of Leonardo di Vinci's Italy.

Narrative continues the back-and forth between events shortly after the end of the last book and a fast forward two years in the future. It works fairly well at the beginning and helps make the transformation back to the normal Locke tolerable. I do give Lynch lots of credit for the very likeable and noble female pirate character Zamira.

A great book, if you feel like devious plotting, rogue heroes and a smattering of casual violence and swearing. And lady pirates.

Profile Image for TS Chan.
719 reviews884 followers
June 28, 2018
Thieves prosper, the rich remember.

It's been well over half a year since I was acquainted with the Gentlemen Bastards, and The Lies of Locke Lamora made its into my favourites shelf with the ease of Locke's glib tongue charming his way out of trouble. While Red Seas under Red Skies didn't make it as a favourite, it was still highly entertaining and deserved a 4.5-star rating, rounded up.

Scott Lynch is pretty good at keeping the readers dangling as they wonder "what will Locke do next?" or "how is he going to get out of this?", and the pages just kept on turning. While I usually do not fancy seafaring adventures in my reads, this one was one of the very few exceptions because it was just so fun! Moreover, as both Locke and Jean are landlubbers, they had to undertake nautical training from an experienced captain which served readers like me, whose tolerance and knowledge for sailing jargons are quite lacking, very well.

Again, filled with crude humour and a fair bit of verbal fencing, one couldn't help chuckling aloud while reading this series. Even as these two Bastards are such rogues, their friendship and protectiveness towards one another was heartwarming to say the least. The female leads in this book, Drakasha and Delmastro, a pirate captain and her first mate, are depicted very well as strong, capable and yet compassionate women.

The one thing that worked against the rating of this book was that at one point, Locke's maneuvering between the 2 plots felt almost unrealistic. While the ending was very satisfactory, it did feel a bit rushed as Locke almost miraculously tied his various schemes together (one of which was 2-years in the making and the other was a result of an unexpected circumstance which may prove fatal). Oh well, one can critique that point all day and night. Ultimately, I had a lot of fun with this series.
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