The Lies of Locke Lamora Read-Along Commentary

This morning I registered for a Tumblr, under the misapprehension that this would allow me to quickly and easily leave comments on other Tumblrs, specifically the ones holding discussions about the current group read-through of The Lies of Locke Lamora. What I discovered was that either a) I am old now and new things scare me, or maybe b) Tumblr was designed by crazy badgers with access to powerful hallucinogens. I prefer the theory with the badgers.

So, the sensible thing I’m going to do instead is post any comments I have here, in this corner of the internet where the buttons aren’t scary and they bring me my prune juice every day at three o’clock just the way I like it.

Thieves Prosper has reposted several lengthy responses to the question “Standard Fantasy Capitalization: Love it or hate it? Do you think it works here or does it make you roll your eyes?”, as regards the first sentence of TLOLL:

At the height of the long wet summer of the Seventy-Seventh Year of Sendovani, the Thiefmaker of Camorr paid a sudden and unannounced visit to the Eyeless Priest at the Temple of Perelandro, desperately hoping to sell him the Lamora boy.

I would say, peering at this sentence nearly nine years after I wrote it, that I did overdo it in a couple places. “Thiefmaker” is a proper noun, not merely a position, so it’s fine. Perelandro is a proper noun, but I’m not sure ‘temple’ needed to be capitalized. “Eyeless Priest” did not need to be capitalized at all. I think I must have intended for it to be the title by which all Camorri would generally refer to Father Chains, but as you all know that didn’t happen, and it really should have been “eyeless priest.” It’s a striking enough description that it doesn’t need the Added Emphasis of Standard Fantasy Capitalization.

As for the capitalization of “Seventy-Seventh Year of Sendovani,” that’s just part of the ornate and infuriatingly baroque way the Therin people name and track their years. The system was deliberately designed to be archaic and obtuse, just as the coinage of Camorr doesn’t slide neatly into divisions of ten like standard fantasy RPG loot.

In 2012, to support another group read-along of TLOLL, I did a series of blog posts discussing the development of the book, my visual inspirations, my discarded alternate approaches, and my criticism of my own work. For those currently reading TLOLL that haven’t seen them, you can find them linked below in reverse order:

Read-Along Bonus #4: YOU SUCK, LYNCH

Read-Along Bonus #3: Early Visual Aids

Read-Along Bonus #2: Other Roads Not Taken

Read-Along Bonus #1: It Came From Burger King

If you’re currently reading or re-reading TLOLL and you’d like to ask me something about it, please feel free to leave a comment here, or e-mail me (scott at, or even just flag a Tumblr post with something like WOO SCOTT LOOK AT ME WOO.

9 thoughts on “The Lies of Locke Lamora Read-Along Commentary

    • The way to comment on another tumblr post is usually to “reblog” it (a clumsy process) and then add your own comment. Supposedly an add-on called “Tumblr saviour” should be able to help you with this, but Tumblr recently broke a few parts of it, so I dunno. I mainly click the ‘like’ button on stuff nowadays.

  1. My question is about the ending. So uhm, spoilers I guess, for people who are reading it for the first time.

    Before I picked up the book way back, I read a review which denounced the book partly because of how Locke pulls the oldest trick in the book with his “look over there, there’s Jean” to distract the Gray King before killing him. I forgot about the review and eventually picked it up because of another review which lauded it, and about halfway through I remembered the first review. When I did get to the end, I thought that it was great precisely because it was the oldest trick in the book.

    So, my question is: would you change anything about the ending of TLOLL, if you had the chance? (This would magically change everyone’s copies and memories of the book whilst magically maintaining a not-creepy vibe by rooting through people’s brains like that.)

    • I’m bemused by people who seem incredulous at the simplicity of some of the deceptions that take place in the book. In my opinion, they haven’t paid much attention to the actual history of deception in human war and criminality. But to each their own.

      I actually wouldn’t change anything about the ending. It was written at the high point of my control over the book and my satisfaction with it, at the end of the very long and difficult process of figuring out how to actually write a novel. The ending sequences did more or less exactly what I wanted them to, and if I was going to magically retrofit anything, they wouldn’t be it. 😉

  2. No no, tumblr was DEFINITELY designed by crazy badgers. The first step to using it is coming to terms with that fact.

    (Thanks for joining us though! We really appreciate your involvement with the fandom.)

  3. I have only recently read TLoLL and RSURS and as far as I am concerned they are perfect. Or THE BEST BOOKS EVER. Whether this is true or not, to me as the reader, I couldn’t stop reading. Once I’d finished I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I have started several other books and not been able to carry on, simply because they are not about Locke, Jean & co. I know this makes me sound like a lunatic. I know it will pass, but they have gone straight to the top of my favourite books ever list and I am more than happy to re-read them. So in my opinion they are without fault, after all aren’t books meant to make you enjoy a fabulous bit of escapism? And my favourite bit is the whole emphasis on waiting for Jean. Well that’s enough gushing, it’s embarrassing at my age.

  4. Dear scott,
    In honor of the 3 night stand I had with your books, this is to let you know, that you, rocked my world very hard. I enjoyed them with favare beans and a iced beverage. The very best iced beverage…not just good but fantastic.
    Thank you
    More please…
    Donna b

  5. I did think of one question – it’s not really to do with the books, more of a side question really. Is there likely to be any Gentleman Bastard merchandise – T. shirts and the such like? I have no idea how that stuff works – if the author comes up with the idea, or if they are approached by a, er, merchandise maker (?), or the publishers suggest it., but I just wondered if there a chance this could happen? I would love a Locke Lamora T. shirt. Especially one that said ‘…I just have to keep you here…until Jean shows up’.
    Sorry if you’ve commented on this before – I couldn’t find anything about it, but me and computers have a hate, hate relationship.

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