This second installment in the Gentlemen Bastard series continues the frenetic pace and layered story telling of The Lies of Locke Lamora. Locke Lamora, using no less than three aliases, continues to survive by his wit and wiles. As a thief of the highest order, and priest of the god of thieves, he and his right hand man, Jean Tannen under various aliases, have moved on to Tal Verrar to rob the richest business in town. Jean’s strength and loyalty push and pull Locke through to safety at nearly every turn–and turns happen at every crossroads . . .
[Jean:] “. . . how can you do this? I want to hug you. And I want to tear your gods-damned head off. Both at once.”
“Ah,” said Locke. “Near as I can tell, that’s the definition of ‘family’ right there.”
Soon their plans get complicated when they are drafted into service by the Archon who rules the military of Tal Verrar. Their service send them undercover into the world of pirates with the goal of starting a pirate war. It also gives the guys another target to bring down in the Archon, as they don’t care for his method of securing their skills.
This hefty tale has a complicated but fun robbery scheme, political intrigue, pirate battles, and finally a worthy and welcome love interest for one of the guys. The aliases and layers pile up until they sort themselves out at the thrilling conclusion. The world-building is fully developed, rich and diverse. Many cultures, belief systems and religions are represented with a vast array of gender roles depicted. The inclusion of queer characters and situations is also welcome and refreshing. This novel is highly recommended.
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