Scott Lynch creates a fantastical world with intriguing characters in The Lies of Locke Lamora. As the first in a series, he must do plenty of world-building in his island city of Camorr. But that never overshadows the action and excitement of the story line. And his characters are first-rate.

Orphaned urchin Locke Lamora is a piece of work, both as a child and a young man. Lynch alternates the time periods of his story, dripping bits of information out to his reader. Locke’s upbringing trains him in many skills, all applicable to crime. But somehow, he’s also a likable guy. In both time periods, Locke works with the same cohorts. He’s particularly close to Jean Tannen, a man with unmatched fighting skills. They’re a duo for the ages.

In Lies, Lynch combines one part long-game cons, one part thievery, and two parts general skullduggery. The intertwining story lines are creative and the twists mostly unexpected. I also appreciated his willingness to include several truly kick-ass female characters. While the main characters are men, some essential plot elements turn on the actions of these women.

My conclusions

I’m sorely tempted to toss my reading plans to the winds and read Lynch’s book two in the series. That’s how much I enjoyed this tale. Locke reminds me of Robin Hood, although he’s not quite so altruistic. He certainly loves to stick it to the aristocracy!

If you have delicate sensibilities, be warned. Lynch has a propensity for f-bombs. They fly frequently, but appropriately.

Whenever an author builds a fantasy world, they can potentially get overly deep into descriptions of places, people, and things. Lynch doesn’t do this. He gives the reader what’s necessary, without indulging in distractions. So even though Lies is long, it reads like a fast-action story.

I recommend Lies to fantasy readers who enjoy epic fantasy with a strong side of mischief and mayhem. This would make a fantastic series on a cable or streaming channel willing to invest some coin.