Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Red Seas Under Red Skies: Book Two of the Gentlemen Bastard Series by Scott Lynch

576 pages
Spectra (July 31, 2007 US)

Scott Lynch invites us back into the world of Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen on their second outing as the appropriately titled Gentlemen Bastards.

This time around, the duo find themselves two years older and a safe distance away from last years "The Lies of Locke Lamora" Camorr setting. Looking to rebound from their previous heist, Locke and Jean set out to rob a casino and simultaneously pull the rug out from under the archon of Tal Verarr. Aristocratic casino owner Requin and city-state mayor Stragos are at odds with each other and both find means to use Jean and Locke against the other to rob them of their money and their position. Of course in the midst of this, the Gentlemen Bastards have ideas of their own to make out with the loot for themselves and pack an emotional punch to each of the arrogant mens ego. Gambling, booze, beatings, near deaths, pirates, sea monsters and laughs await Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen in Scott Lynch's second book, Red Seas Under Red Skies.

There is a lot of good about this book. Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen are still the best pair of characters in recent memory. The two go together like a fine fitting leather glove and a hand model, a story without just one of these two characters would be a considerably less enjoyable story. They work off each other like James Hettfield and Kirk Hammet, hand in hand. In Red Seas the duo set their sights maybe a tad bit too high, and in one two many places at once, and they then find themselves out at sea captaining their own pirate ship, something neither of the two have any knowledge of doing. The story falters a bit here, although the journey out to sea is by far the best part of the book and story, it seems way too far askew of the original plot of the book. Scott Lynch had two great ideas it seemed, but he just couldn't find the best way to properly combine the two. Each story would have been better and more fully realized if they were in two separate novels. The ending is also way too short, Locke finds a way out way too simply, but Lamora is the best thief in all of Camorr and lands beyond, he does seem to work best on short notice.

I loved this book the whole way through, it was just too much fun to witness the interactions between Locke and Jean, between those two and everything they come across. Without these two icons the Gentlemen Bastard series would be just another attempt at fantasy storytelling. With that being said, I loved Red Seas while reading it, but in retrospect, the story is too convoluted at times, especially in the beginning and ending sequences. When compared to The Lies of Locke Lamora, Red Seas fails to even come remotely close to equaling the story and plot of its predecessor. I still consider the end of Lies as my personal second favorite end to a novel. Plot and story set aside, this is still my favorite pair of characters to read about. The Republic of Thieves is due out in June of 2008 in the UK. [3.5/5]


brandon said...

anytime a tandem of dudes can be compared to the likes of kirk and the het, you know you're dealing with a formidable foe.

and whats your email address i can add you to the posters of ben miller

fool of gold said...

My email is

And yes Locke and Jean are formidable, I think you'd like The Lies of Locke Lamora, its not traditional fantasy, kind of swashbuckling-like, almost Tom Sawyer-ish.