In his highly acclaimed debut, The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch took us on an adrenaline-fueled adventure with a band of daring thieves led by con artist extraordinaire Locke Lamora. Now Lynch brings back his outrageous hero for a caper so death-defying, nothing short of a miracle will pull it off.
After a brutal battle with the underworld that nearly destroyed him, Locke 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 are soon back to 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....
From the Hardcover edition
Like its roguish protagonists, Lynch's colorful sequel to 2006's The Lies of Locke Lamora is charming, unpredictable and fast on its feet and stands surprisingly well on its own given its convoluted plot. Initially poised to rob the Sinspire, the notoriously thief-proof casino where the penalty for cheating is death, Locke and his partner, Jean, are unwillingly sidetracked into joining and then leading a pirate crew, swindling their way across the sea as they had previously done on land. The cinematic influences on Lynch's fantasy setting are evident, the borrowing is mostly ingenious and the prose frequently enthralls, but tone and pacing suffer from odd inconsistencies. A handful of dark moments clash uncomfortably with the overall devil-may-care atmosphere. Most frustrating of all is the handling of key secondary character Ezri Delmastro, who shines too briefly as an energetic romantic interest for Jean. The ending promises at least one more installment, but fans may be unhappy if the saga strays too far from its amiable roots. (Aug.)
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-2 of the 2 most recent reviews
1 . Not Lies, but some glimmers of brilliance
Posted September 06, 2010 by Laura , HawaiiNo spoilers.
The opening sequence was great: Four people standing with cross-bows pointed at each other. I couldn't wait to see how they got there and how they would get out of the situation. I also particularly enjoyed the jesting dialog that had improved since Lies, and the plot started out hot with an over the top caper in the spirit of of Lies. And then we got to drown in a sea of nautical terms and endless training to be a pirate, which spoiled the momentum.
To his credit, Lynch pulled the disparate threads back together in a satisfactory ending and the pacing picked up near the end, but the momentum had been killed by then. When I got back to the four cross bows, I just didn't really care as much who lived or died. The poor pacing was compounded by the fact that the point of view of the narrator seemed to change at the convenience of the author to expound the caper.
Don't get me wrong. The plot twists and grand schemes are great, the relationship between Locke and Jean gains greater depth and there are some rollicking good rides; it just seems that the book was rushed in to print and nobody took the time to edit it to crisp it up. It has all the makings of a really great book, I'm just disappointed it didn't get the polish to get it there.
2 . Not as good as the first
Posted April 21, 2009 by Brett , HobokenThe author likes to use flashbacks extensively and in this book they become a lot more confusing than in the first. Still, a fun book to read.
July 30, 2007
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Red Seas under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
THE GAME WAS CAROUSEL HAZARD, the stakes were roughly half of all the wealth they commanded in the entire world, and the plain truth was that Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen were getting beaten like a pair of dusty carpets.
"Last offering for the fifth hand," said the velvet-coated attendant from his podium on the other side of the circular table. "Do the gentlemen choose to receive new cards?"
"No, no--the gentlemen choose to confer," said Locke, leaning to his left to place his mouth close to Jean's ear. He lowered his voice to a whisper. "What's your hand look like?"
"A parched desert," Jean murmured, casually moving his right hand up to cover his mouth. "How's yours?"
"A wasteland of bitter frustration."
"Have we been neglecting our prayers this week? Did one of us fart in a temple or something?"
"I thought the expectation of losing was all part of the plan."
"It is. I just expected we'd be able to put up a better fight than this."
The attendant coughed demurely into his left hand, the card-table equivalent of slapping Locke and Jean across the backs of their heads. Locke leaned away from Jean, tapped his cards lightly against the lacquered surface of the table, and grinned the best knew-what-he-was-doing sort of grin he could conjure from his facial arsenal. He sighed inwardly, glancing at the sizable pile of wooden markers that was about to make the short journey from the center of the table to his opponents' stacks.
"We are of course prepared," he said, "to meet our fate with heroic stoicism, worthy of mention by historians and poets."
The dealer nodded. "Ladies and gentlemen both decline last offering. House calls for final hands."
There was a flurry of shuffling and discarding as the four players formed their final hands and set them, facedown, on the table before them.
"Very well," said the attendant. "Turn and reveal."
The sixty or seventy of Tal Verrar's wealthiest idlers who had crowded the room behind them to watch every turn of Locke and Jean's unfolding humiliation now leaned forward as one, eager to see how embarrassed they would be this time.
TAL VERRAR, the Rose of the Gods, at the westernmost edge of what the Therin people call the civilized world.
If you could stand in thin air a thousand yards above Tal Verrar's tallest towers, or float in lazy circles there like the nations of gulls that infest the city's crevices and rooftops, you could see how its vast dark islands have given this place its ancient nickname. They seem to whirl outward from the city's heart, a series of crescents steadily increasing in size, like the stylized petals of a rose in an artist's mosaic.
They are not natural, in the sense that the mainland looming a few miles to the northeast is natural. The mainland cracks before wind and weather, showing its age. The islands of Tal Verrar are unweathered, possibly unweatherable--they are the black glass of the Eldren, unimaginable quantities of it, endlessly tiered and shot through with passages, glazed with layers of stone and dirt from which a city of men and women springs.
This Rose of the Gods is surrounded by an artificial reef, a broken circle three miles in diameter, shadows under shadowed waves. Against this hidden wall the restless Sea of Brass is gentled for the passage of vessels flying the banners of a hundred kingdoms and dominions. Their masts and yards rise in a forest, white with furled sails, far beneath your feet.
If you could turn your eye to the city's western island, you would see that its interior surfaces are sheer black walls, plunging hundreds of feet to the softly lapping harbor waves, where a network of wooden docks clings to the base of the cliffs.