What I’ve Read – The Lies Of Locke Lamora

My daughter recommended this book to me, we are both lovers of good fantasy fiction along with the odd sci fi novel.  She recommended it to me as ‘really good world building’. Her recommendations are generally good so I was disposed to be impressed.

The Lies of Locke Lamora is the first novel of Scott Lynch, and the first of a series about the Gentlemen Bastards. In the beginning our hero is little more than an infant who is introduced into the world of the ‘Right People’, the criminal fraternity of Camorr. His story moves backwards and forwards in time as it develops, and that development is masterly.

The story moves at a rattling pace, the world and the characters developing rapidly. Almost every chapter introduces a new layer of complexity to the story but done in such a way that you never lose track of what is going on. I was about to say that the main thread is the story of a long con, but in truth it isn’t. The main story is the bonding of a band of brothers known as The Gentlemen Bastards, a small gang of gifted con artists, and their desire to fulfil the purpose of their mentor.

Locke Lamora is a true hero, and will gather a following all his own. The whole story has a renaissance feel to it,Locke has a machiavellian mind that can see a way out of the most desperate situations, often at severe personal cost, but a way out none the less. He and his fellows take on a series of challenges and opponents that would make others blood run cold – it doesn’t always work out well and you will be there with them in the thick of it.  They do it because in their world, it is the right thing to do. Criminals they may be, but there is a right way to do wrong.

The ‘world’ in a fantasy novel is a hugely important character, and often neglected but not so here. Not only is the Dukedom of Camorr well developed, the wider world around it is not neglected. The consequences of trifling with other states and cultures are an unspoken menace hanging over seemingly minor actions. It’s not a book for the faint hearted, the violence is graphic, and Mr Lynch has a dramatists skill in making it very real, forcing you to invest your emotions in the aims of the characters. He is to be congratulated.

The many storylines are skillfully interwoven, a less well plotted novel would end up in an almighty tangle with so many story lines but here they flow in and out of each other seamlessly. No angle of the story is left untouched for too long and they come to a climax of such complexity that it is breathtakingly simple.

There is much swash and buckle, mental agility is essential and I defy anyone not to long to be a member of the Gentleman Bastards – more than a few will fall in love with Locke and with his world. Me, I’m off to grab the next instalment – Red Seas Under Red Skies.

When I Rule The World 2

When I rule the world, which will be a benign Dictatorship, anyone with smoke issuing from any orifice of their person will be deemed to be on fire and therefore a hazard to life and limb.  It will be mandatory to put them out with the nearest Fire Extinguisher and thus save the rest of humanity (moot point whether all of them are worth saving….)

 

Breast Implants – Some Thoughts

Breast Implant

A couple of comments before we go further or someone somewhere is going to take this as personal, and it is not. Firstly, I am talking about the attitudes of society in general, not the individuals. Secondly, my qualifications to speak on the subject – I’m a woman and I’ve had surgery twice for Breast cancer which has left me very much Mrs Lopsided. Do I care – not one jot. Is it noticeable? Ask the people who look at me, no one has mentioned it. Does it cause me an issue? Only when I forget and hang a bag on my left shoulder – it promptly slides off, but that’s a small price to pay for my life.

There has recently been a great deal of publicity over the sub-standard Breast ImplantRead More

What I’ve Read – Sanctus

Sanctus

SanctusSanctus

Most of my reading is done on the iPad these days but every now and then I do read a real world book.  I happened to mention to one of Father Christmas’s helpers that I quite fancied reading a real book over the holiday period.  Never being one to ignore hints, Father Christmas duly supplied a copy of Sanctus in my Christmas stocking.

My pleasure in the book was somewhat diluted when I discovered half way through that it was Part 1 of a trilogy and the next book is not due out until April.  If I am going to read a book that is part of a series I like to know up front. If I had looked at the inside front cover sooner I could probably have deduced that, but when I get a book I dive into the text, not the covers. Generally a series means I won’t read any until I can read all of them so the latter half of the book was somewhat tainted by the knowledge that it wasn’t likely to be a story with an end. That doesn’t mean I only read stories with an end, most good ones don’t have an end, but I like things to come to a point, a place from whence you can draw your own conclusions – and this didn’t.

Sanctus is Simon Toyne’s first novel and it’s certainly a page turner with a story that moves apace.  A good read for a journey or on holiday when you don’t want to be taxed too much.  As mystery page turners go, it was certainly better written than the pot boilers Dan Brown turns out, which irritate me.  I could slap him for the damage he does to language.  One of the better aspects was that there wasn’t the profanity that seems to take the place of punctuation in many modern novels.

The story follows the attempt to discover the identity of The Sacrament, hidden in a Monastery in Turkey.  The cast of characters is a little predictable – the power hungry second in command, the psychopathic  crazed monk, the damsel in distress, the slightly bewildered, bumbling policeman who is always one step behind, and of course the tall, dark and handsome hero who smelled faintly of citrus – didn’t quite get the relevance of that.  To my mind some of the secondary characters are more interesting, the monastery chamberlain and the mysterious geek, Brother Thomas – perhaps they will come into their own in the follow up novels. Taking sideswipes at the religious establishment also seems to be a given in many such tales at the moment.

The story has some interesting twists and turns, and the revelation of The Sacrament wasn’t what I expected, it did surprise me, but then the whole trilogy thing kicked in and the story seemed to just fizzle out which pushed my irritation button again.  It felt as if Mr Toyne couldn’t quite work out how to bring this section to a halt so he just  wrote a couple of chapters to fill some pages.    The inclusion of a couple of preview chapters from the next book raised the irritation factor even more.  It would have been better if he had just stopped at the end of chapter 144 with the inclusion of the intro to Section VII in my view.

Did I enjoy it? Yes, of it’s style and type, it was a better read than many I have wasted hours of my life on.  Will I read the second and third parts?  Probably, but not until they are both out.  Is it great literature? No, but it would make a good holiday read.

Who’s Ed Alleyne-Johnson

If you look down and right a little, you’ll see a box titled ‘What I’m Listening To’ and in it is the image of Ed Alleyne-Johnson’s latest CD, or at least it was when I bought it earlier this year.  More than a few people have looked blank when I mention his name and his music so to enlighten you – a taster.

Ed is a street musician with a difference.  I love his music.  I first came across him years ago, probably before his time touring with New Model Army,  but he and his music had slipped out of my mind over the years.  I was lucky enough to hear him again when we were in Chester earlier this year and it brought the memories flooding back.  He plays a mixture of covers and his own compositions on the purple electric violin and I love it.  You’ll find him on the streets of Chester, York or some other town…

There are loads of videos on You Tube – varying quality – but you’ll get a taste of his music – enjoy