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…
You guys, Scott Lynch can write a fantasy book, let me tell you. Not only is his world-building ACES and unique, keeping his Gentleman Bastards series standing well apart from the rest, but Red Seas Under Red Skies has more than world-building to recommend it.
Friendship!- The bromance between Jean and Locke could bring a tear to your eye.
The WIT- Ahhhh, this dialogue. It goes from caustic sarcasm to smooth plays on words and back again. Amazing.
Plotting- Dude. DUDE. The plotting in this series is so intricate that it’s like a finely stitched tapestry. The heists within heists and plots within plots make my mind boggle and I have to bow to Scott Lynch’s abilities.
AWESOME LADIES- This was sort of my chief quibble with The Lies of Locke Lamora- not enough ladies by half. In fact, I seem to remember only one, and then she– ahem. Spoiler. But yeah, no ladies. But in Red Seas Under Red Skies, a couple of kick-ass women (and lady PIRATES, no less, btw) take center stage and they made me all flaily and just. God damn, this book, you guys.
The narration- I do not have time to compose an ode to Michael Page’s narration, but rest assured that if I did, I would. This is not just narrating, but skilled voice-acting. The story comes alive by an extra degree with Page’s portrayal of the characters.
Who needs pirates like Jack Sparrow when there’s Zamira Drakasha? And who needs heists like Oceans 11 when there’s Locke freaking Lamora?