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… I feel like this series is going to be my new guilty pleasure. It reminds me of a cross over between The Three Musketeers and Mission Impossible.
The story begins with Locke as a child, providing a brief history of his sketchy upbringing by a local thief who trains children to steal for him. Locke has an uncanny talent for stealing, but instead of using slight of hand, he uses showy theatrical productions to con people. His absurd antics eventually gets him in trouble, and he is sold to another master who masquerades as a priest named Chains. From Chains, Locke learns, masters, and polishes the craft of coning and stealing.
Here’s what I liked: This book was incredibly entertaining. From the world building to the plot line to the characters, Lynch doesn’t disappoint–something is always happening. The ploys and cons the Gentlemen Bastards pull on people are so well planned, thought out, and executed that it makes me think the author himself has done things like this in real life. I thought it was unique that although Locke steals for a living, over all he is not a repulsive, dislikable character. In fact, I thought the opposite. I found myself liking him more and more the further the book got along. Lynch did a great job creating a feeling of brotherly love between all the members of the Gentlemen Bastards, and you really feel as though they are family and would give their lives for one another.
Here’s what I didn’t like: I thought that the Gray King was just an ok protagonist. He wasn’t much different than other gangsters Locke has faced, with the exception of employing the use of sorcerers. I was hoping that Lynch would set up the stage for a larger story surrounding the Gray King, but it seems like this novel will be his only appearance. The depth of the characters was kind of shallow. If you’re looking for a deeply emotional, character driven book, this probably isn’t it.
Their should be a disclaimer for the language of this book, since the author throws around f-bombs quite frequently, at least every other page. While the crude language ( and sometimes subject matter) are used to bring the reader into Locke’s world, in my opinion it’s too much. I almost always avoid books with an overuse of foul language( just my preference), but somehow this one was too good that I let it slide.