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Gentleman Bastards series - Scott Lynch

At the recommendation of a friend in November, I received The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, the first in his Gentleman Bastards series, as a Christmas gift. Between being generally busy and reading other books at the same time, it took me until early February to finish the book.

The series is set in a fantasy world with something of a Mediterranean flair to it, but isn't the typical fantasy setting involving various races and ridiculous feats of magic and giant swords... though magic is present (as well as alchemy). His descriptions of the setting are quite vivid, though not drawn out. The detail he does offer allows you to quickly develop a picture in your mind without going Tolkien and detailing everything... just enough. All in all, his setting is just mundane enough to be believable, while being mystical enough to be interesting; suspension of disbelief isn't stretched here.

The story centers around what is, in essence, a thieves guild, The Gentleman Bastards; how they came to be and how they operate. The Gentleman Bastards are basically a group of con artists, and the story goes through some of their smaller cons while centering on one major con they begin setting up from the start of the book, coming to conclusion towards the end. Throughout the tale, the author jumps back and forth through time, from the present to various points in the group's youth and back again. These shifts are expositions of the characters' development and education, usually showing some particular lesson relevant to the predicament immediately before the shift.

The book concludes on a down point, similar in feel to the end of The Empire Strikes Back, making the reader want to grab the next book to see where things go. Personally, I look forward to Red Seas Under Red Skies and the continuation of this rather engaging series.
Also, anyone know when Red Seas Under Red Skies is set to be released as a paperback? It's currently available in hardcover and trade paperback, but not in standard paperback format.
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