After someone’s done with that social network, if they could implement something which lets me backtrack from content back to link I originally clicked to get it, that’d be great. I have no idea how this book got into my queue, I have a feeling it may have even been one of those cards you pick up in Starbucks. Anyway I digress.
The Lies of Locke Lamora is set in renaissance Venice and follows the story of the eponymous thief and confidence trickster as he attempts to con one of the city’s great noble families out of half of their fortune.
Ok, as befits the book’s hero, that was a slight lie.
The book isn’t set in renaissance Venice. It’s set in what renaissance Venice would have been, if it had been constructed on a planet with three moons, a thousand years before, by a long dead and departed alien race.
If the typical renaissance parts of the city were interspersed with giant structures of an alien material capable of holding and radiating light later in the day. If the citizens of renaissance Venice battled giant sharks for the entertainment of their peers.
Oh, and if there was magic.
So it’s like our world, but also very unlike our world. What we end up with is something akin to a Song of Ice and Fire, where the characters are very recognizable but the world perhaps isn’t.
And what wonderful characters they are! A failing of too many books is making the hero all-omnipotent; it’s one of the things I credit Harry Potter for, he actually needs his friends to win and likewise it is here too. Locke might be a great liar and conman, but he needs his fellow Gentlemen Bastards for the whole game; and all of them were trained together by the same priest who had plans.
The book takes an interesting narrative, interspersing segments in the presents with flashbacks to their training, or often to the recent past leading up to what just happened. It’s an interesting technique and often allows the author to side-step you and allow things to play out in a different way than you perhaps first thought. While some might find it jarring, the narrative is always consitent and never irrelevant so I found it a cute touch.
I found the characters and the story engaging and entertaining, frequently unable to put the book down; in particular an entire afternoon on the beach in San Diego engrossed in it, and more than one late night. In fact I enjoyed it so much I’m now reading the second in the series.