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Gentleman Bastard Read Along – Chapters 9-12

Welcome to Week 3 of our Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along. I hope you had a great bank holiday (if you are in the UK) and that you are enjoying your time in Camorr!

So, this week was all about the Grey King’s plan coming together and Locke and Jean losing pretty much everything they own. Going into our final week on Lies, Locke needs to plan his revenge with no resources and without his team. Not only that, but unbeknownst to him the real Spider is on his tail and has a plan in place to ensure his downfall.

As promised, Scott Lynch is ready to answer some questions for us. I’m not sure if he will answer EVERYTHING, but he has done a damned good job so far. If you’d like to ask him a question you can visit the Fantasy-Faction Forums here. Be careful though, because although there aren’t any spoilers on there yet, a few may well pop up before the mods can add spoiler tags.

Let us begin the specifics of what happened this week, shall we:

 Interlude

When Locke and Jean reach 12 – the Sanzas being a little older – the Bastards are occasionally allowed to roam the city freely. Chains has been trying to have them initiated in all the great temples of the other 11 Gods. The newcomer would enter as an initiate before using his skills to get trusted and gain secrets before faking their own death. Chains says the point of it all is to allow them the ability to throw on any set of robes from any order and become that priest at any time.

The boys are watching the result of a chicken seller’s boat having crashed with a boat carrying cats. A gang of urchins approach them and ask “are you friends of the friends”, Locke tells them that they are. The urchins explain that they are the Half Crowns and they’ve come to take the Gentlemen Bastard’s coin. There are 6 on 3, but Locke tells the Half Crowns that they bend the knee to no-one but the Capa.

Locke is quickly knocked down. The Sanzas follow shortly after. The Half Crowns pat the boys down and find no money on them. The Half Crowns promise that they will find them again tomorrow and continue to beat them up until they get good coin.

Chains knew that the Half Crowns are patrolling the city and tells the boys that they are now in a war until one of the two gangs cries mercy. The rules (soft talk) mean that you cannot use weapons, but pretty much anything else goes. Jean is still away, so Chains suggests Locke waits until he gets back or comes up with one of his devious schemes to win the war. Locke realises it is a test and Chains tells him that he’ll be disappointed if the Half Crowns aren’t begging for mercy by the end of summer.

A few days later the Gentlemen Bastards are sitting in the same place they got beaten up before. This time Jean is with them. The Half Crowns laugh that the boys think the ‘fat’ Jean would change anything (there are still 6 of them). Jean uses his new skills learned from the Glass Roses to swiftly take out the Half Crowns. It is evident that Jean is now a very capable martial artist-come-brawler and is now the Bastard’s ‘muscle’. The Half Crowns admit they were well done, but refuse to end the war, saying that it is 1 and 1.

The gang war begins to get more serious as the Half Crowns send in more recruits. They begin to hunt down the Bastards when they are isolated – often pitting 3/4/5 against one. Locke is caught most often. Locke tells Jean that he is going to feign being on his own, but he wants Jean close behind him so that once the Half Crowns attempt to jump Locke, Jean can jump in and really do the leader, Tesso, over. The plan goes well when Tesso appears behind Locke in an alley. Locke has extended and sewn a small lead weight into his sleeve. He wraps his arms around Tesso and uses the sleeve to tie them together. They are now bound. Tesso begins punching Locke and tells him to give up because he can’t win. Then Tesso sees Jean coming but can’t untangle himself from Locke, who is grinning and laughing madly. Locke says he doesn’t need to win, he just needs to keep ahold of him until Jean arrives.

Chapter 9

Dona Sofia Salvara is being hoisted to the top of Dona Angiavesta Vorchenza’s Elderglass Tower, Amberglass, to share a late tea. Dona Vorchenza is the last of her line, so it is expected that when she dies Amberglass will pass onto a new family. A night tea is a ritual where a woman seeks advice on personal or business matters from another. Dona Sofia explains that she is here because she has heard that Dona Vorchenza has links to the Spider – when someone reports a problem to her it seems to find the Spider’s ears. The Dona explains that they are being robbed by ‘Lukas’ and even about the intervention of the ‘Spider’.

Scott Lynch blacks out the rest of the conversation so we don’t know what is said exactly… We see Dona Salvara rattle down the tower in her cage and Dona Vorchenza ask her butler to fetch ‘Reynart’ and send him up to the ‘Solarium’. Dona Vorchenza struggles up the stairs due to rheumatism and opens a door with a key tied around her wrist. A secret button deactivates a crossbow that would shoot anyone who opens the door with just the key. Beyond the door is a huge, well-furnished room containing hundreds upon hundreds of compartments. The ceiling is a transparent hemisphere that allows those underneath to see the clouds in the sky.

A broad shouldered man walks in brandishing the silver pins that reveal him to be a captain in the Nightglass Company, the Blackjackets – so one of the Duke’s men. Dona Vorchenza asks ‘Stephen’ if he or any of his men have visited the Salvara’s. Stephen assures her that he hasn’t sent any of the Midnighters to see them. She tells him that someone is using their good name and that she thinks it is the Thorn. Stephen isn’t so sure at first, he suggests maybe it is the Grey King. Dona Vorchenza says she is fairly sure it is the Thorn due to the nature of the con: pure trickery and no bloodshed. Both of them are thrilled to have finally found the Thorn and begin speculating on how many accomplices he may have. Dona Vorchenza feels there are 5 or 6 because she believes the Midnighter (who was Locke) who told the Don that the ambush was staged and feels that would require all 4 men plus a lookout or two (as it did). Stephen wants to ambush the Gentlemen Bastards as soon as possible, but Dona Vorchenza would like to take a couple days tying them up.

Dona Vorchenza asks Stephen to investigate whether Lukas has an account with Meraggio’s. She also wants him to scope out the Temple of Fortunate Waters – she feels maybe someone there is involved. Finally, she asks Stephen to investigate the Tumblehome (the inn Lukas was staying at) to see if he is still there. Dona Vorchenza says that because of how slippery the Thorn has always been she wants to isolate him. She is going to trick him to going up to Raven’s Reach with the promise of dining with the Duke. Raven’s Reach is 500 feet in the air and once he is at the top Dona Vorchenza’s midnighters, who will be dressed as servants, will move in and capture him. They’ll also keep a close eye on the ground to see who runs and where they run to (i.e. they want to find all of the Bastards and where they are working from – the Temple). Dona Vorchenza says she will send a note to the Duke.

Note: It’s important to note that this character, despite being very old, has a lot of power. Locke is in a lot of trouble having her on his tail.

Interlude

Jean is training at the House of Glass Roses. The Don is impressed with Jean’s progress and ability but wants him to try something other than a long blade. The first weapon Jean tries is a bailiff’s lash – a chain that can be swung as a weapon but also be used as a belt. The Don takes them away shortly after and hands him a pair of blades, ‘Thieves Teeth’. The Don is impressed with Jean’s ability using these blades. The final ‘toy’ the Don hands Jean is a pair of hatchets that don’t have a name. You can use them by attacking with either the ball or the blade. Jean likes the length of them, the balance of them and their compact nature means they can be hid easily. Again, the Don is impressed and remarks that Jean looks very comfortable with them. Jean walks 15 feet away from the dummy and throws the blade into its face – it strikes the target without even quivering. The Don remarks that this is a foundation he can build upon.

Chapter 10

Jean is down in the catacombs listening to Locke (as the Grey King) and the Capa talking. He can’t see what is happening or hear clearly what is being said but when the cask comes crashing down the waterfall he guesses that Locke must be inside it. Above the Capa and his men begin to leave. Jean hears a splash and realises that Bug has dived into the channel trying to get to Locke. Jean throws one of his hatchets at the cask and tells Bug to use it. As Jean begins making his way down to help Bug he comes across a group of ‘Salt Devils’ – Giant Spiders with huge fangs that contain a deadly venom. Jean tells Bug to get out of the water and leave Locke for a moment, that they need to kill these creatures before freeing him. Jean and Bug use teamwork to kill the spiders. We are told that it is very rare for Salt Demons to work in unison – they are usually solitary creatures that shy away from humans. Once they have managed to kill the spiders Jean and Bug dive back into the water and begin hacking away at the cask. Locke is unconscious and the boys panic. Bug and Jean begin trying to revive Locke and eventually Locke shudders and regains his consciousness. Locke demands that Jean and Bug throw him into the water to clean him off. Locke notices the spiders on the floor and Jean tells him that they came after them. Locke says it is impossible – due to them usually being quite shy – but Jean feels that it was the work of the Bondsmage. Locke agrees, he thinks that the Spiders were meant to ensure that Jean and Bug were killed or at very least scared off. Suddenly, the trio realise that the twins might be suffering the same attempt and agree they need to find a way of getting past the Capa’s men and checking on them.

The Bastards make their way through Rustwater, which is as dead as ever. They decide to head for Coalsmoke, past Beggars Barrow where they can steal a boat and slip home to the Temple district. They have a means of getting into the House of Perelandro that will keep them off the streets and bridges. Locke notices that not only has the Capa’s procession disappeared but there is not a Watchman or Shade’s Hill boy or girl in sight – very peculiar. The boys jump on a boat that only just fits the three of them. Jean tells Bug that his moral education is now over, now he will learn about war.

Sometime later the Bastards arrive back at the Temple. They make their way in through a drainage pipe. Once they are all in Locke kicks the boat into the canal’s current and watches it drift away. They sneak through the passage which leads them beneath Chains’s bed. As they step into the Temple Jean realises it is darker than it usually is and they quickly find that the kitchen has been trashed. As they walk through into the wardrobe where all their costumes were – they find it completely empty. Their whole collection, their thousands upon thousands of crowns worth of clothing is gone. Then, Locke and Jean freeze as they notice the bodies of Calo and Galdo on the floor – their throats have been slashed from ear to ear.

Note: If there is one moment that stands out above all others in Scott Lynch’s first novel it is this. The fact he was willing to kill characters he has invested so much time into building and getting you to like surpasses the shock factor by other authors, even G.R.R. Martin.

Jean falls to the ground and begins shaking – Locke thinks he has been poisoned at first, but then he notices a severed hand with Jean’s name sewn into it. Before he can do anything with the hand, from nowhere a man with a crossbow appears and tells Locke not to move. The stranger tells Locke that he is not supposed to be here. Locke realises that the Grey King’s man is there to kill Jean and Bug – he’d expected Locke to be dead. Locke tells the man he will pay him anything to tell him where the Grey King is and how they can get to him by avoiding the Bondsmage. The man tells Locke that he no longer has the 43 thousand crowns to in his vault to pay him and that none of them are getting out of the temple alive.

Bug tells the Crossbow man that he doesn’t know who he is messing with and that a single crossbow won’t be able to hold the three of them back. Bug springs an Orphans Twist at the crossbow man saying that no one gets the best of the Gentlemen Bastards. The stranger fires the bolt and it catches Bug in the neck. Locke throws one of Jean’s hatchets at the man and strikes him on the head. As he falls Locke grabs the crossbow which the man dropped and beats him unconscious with it. He turns his attention to Bug who is dying. Locke moves between apologising and calling Bug a brave, stupid little idiot. Locke tries to take the blame but Bug dies telling him he did it because he was a Gentlemen Bastard and Locke confirms that he is – not a second, not an apprentice – a full fledged Gentleman Bastard. Jean realises that the hand is a hanged-man’s grasp. Locke tells Jean to go and get the lamp oil whilst he moves the bodies into the kitchen. Locke promises each of them a death offering that will stop the Gods, that will make the Duke look like a pauper – he begs forgiveness of them and apologises he couldn’t look after them like Chains did.

Note: Here we see the consequences of Locke’s cockiness to the Falconer and the Grey King. You have to wonder whether the deaths of the boys could have been avoided if Locke had bargained better and lost his ego as Chains suggested one should when dealing with Bondsmagi.

Locke wakes the assassin up with Jean. Locke asks him if he wants to live – he says he does. Locke tells the man that he is pleased to deny his request. Locke pulls his shark tooth – the death mark – from around his neck. He says that he was ashamed to have murdered people before and that he had continued to wear the tooth to remind him of that fact. Now though, he is ready to kill again and anyone who stands between him and the Grey King will be added to his list, even if that means leaving a trail of corpses in his wake. Jean shatters the man’s kneecaps by slamming the hatchet’s balls down upon them. Locke tells the assassin to tell the Crooked Warden that Locke Lamora learns slowly but learns well. He also tells him to tell his friends in the World beyond that more of the Grey King’s men are on their way. With that Locke pulls an Alchemical Twist Match from his pocket and sets fire to the lamp oil. The two of them climb out of the temple and walk away, leaving behind them flames and rising screams.

Interlude

Handball is a Therin past time. The Northern Vadrans scorn it, although the Southern Vadrans seem to like it well enough. Scholars belittle the idea that its origins are of the era of the Therin Throne when the mad Emperor Sartirana would amuse himself by bowling skulls of executed victims. Handball is a rough sport that is played by the rough classes on a 20 to 30 yard long field. Players must hold the ball with two arms as they move but they can pass it. If the ball touches the floor possession is passed to the next team. Teams are often made up of families or regions.

In the reign of the first Duke Andrakana a match was arranged between the Cauldron and Catchfire. A young fisherman, Markos, was reckoned the finest handballer in the Cauldron, whilst his best friend, Gervain, was thought of as the fairest Justice (referee) in the city. The match was held in a public square with a thousand drunken, screaming spectators. In the final moments the Cauldron are just one point behind when Markus gets the ball. Markus tears past Catchfire’s defenders and dives for the line but is just a few inches short. The referee confirms the ball did not cross the line. A riot breaks out and Markos vows never to speak to Gervain again. Gervain is warned that if he ever steps foot in the district again he will be killed. Twenty-five to thirty years pass and Gervain decides it is time to return, that people would have forgiven him by now. The first person he runs into is Markus who he calls over, expecting forgiveness. Markos swiftly pulls a blade and thrusts it between Gervain’s ribs. Veeraari, Karthani and Lashani use this story to confirm that the Camorri are all crazy. Camorri regard it as a warning against procrastinating in matters of revenge and on the merits of having a long memory.

Chapter 11

The bastards steal another little boat. Locke feels that his life has been destroyed and that he is starting a new one. Jean tells Locke he doesn’t want to hear Locke blame himself any further. He isn’t so sure about Locke’s claims that they should have run – he says they could well all be dead. As a result of his decisions the two of them are alive and ready to take vengeance. Jean says Locke, the Thorn, is the only man capable of carrying out a revenge plot of this magnitude and if he isn’t him already he needs to become him.

Locke begins to regain his composure and works out that the Grey King must have at least two more men working for him because he saw them drop from the trees when he was captured. Jean and Locke think it is strange that only one man was sent to kill the twins and possibly even Bug and Jean. Jean says that the other men must have been needed for something else then and Locke realises that with the Grey King dead, the Capa will now feel at ease at his revel and be out in the open in front of his people. All the gangs and all the garistas will be out and with the Grey King’s flair for dramatics, Locke is fairly sure that whatever is going to happen will happen with them all there to see it. Locke tells Jean to row towards the Capa’s ship, but Jean warns Locke that if the Grey King sees him (he thinks he is dead) or the Capa sees him (he is meant to be on death’s door with illness) they will be in real trouble. Locke tells Jean that he’ll be in disguise. The two Bastards realise that they don’t have much left, but neither of them seem to dwell on that fact – they are focused fully on getting their revenge – Locke confirms that Jean has got the Thorn.

The Capa is outdoing himself at the celebration/mourning of his daughter’s death on the Floating Grave. There is a huge supply of food and drink that is drawing huge amounts of men and women. Locke slips in as one of them. At the head of the party is the Capa surrounded by his sons and most powerful Garistas. Suddenly the Capa stands and the echoing chaos turns to a silence. The Capa begins his victory speech saying that it feels good to finally be able to come out without fear. The Capa announces that there is going to be a teeth show. The Capa’s men pull up a number of boards on the floor and the crowd feel nervous about what may be in the dark waters below the boat. Anjais – the Capa’s son – pours alchemical powder into the water to summon whatever is in the water to the surface. This powder will make the creatures drunk with rage and fuel their desire to kill. The Berangias sisters jump on the rafters and the crowd begin to roar once more. The Berangais sisters play to the crowd and dedicate the coming death to Capa Barsarvi. Then, without warning, the shark jumps from the water and bites off the Capa’s arm. One of the Berangais sisters lifts her axe and smashes the Capa with it. The crowd panic and Locke struggles to work out what has happened. The sisters make quick work of the Capa’s Sons and Garistas and a riot breaks out. It seems that the Grey King’s men are everywhere before the doors shut of their own accord. A guard tries to kill the sisters but the Scorpion Hawk appears and kills him. The Grey King’s voice booms in the room and demands that everyone ‘stays where [they] are’ and an unnatural calm – brought on by sorcery – quietens the crowd once more. The Bondsmage with his hawk and the Grey King walks up to Capa Barsarvi. Locke realises that the Grey King looks a lot like the Berangias sisters and then it clicks that this is why he sensed a familiarity in the Grey King – they are siblings, possibly even triplets.

The Grey King announces that the reign of the Barsarvi family is at an end. In fact, says the Grey King, with the death of his sons and daughter the entire family line has ended. The Grey King says that now he is out of the shadows he is to be called Capa Raza (throne Therin for vengeance). Capa Raza takes Barsavi’s ring and tells him that he is now to be erased from history. He also tells him that although he thinks his wife died of stomach tumours, it was actually black alchemy – all part of Raza’s plan that he has been building on for years. Barsarvi asks why and Raza whispers something quietly to him. The Capa looks surprised before Raza buries a stiletto into his neck. The sisters pick up his body and throw it into the bay. Capa Raza tells everyone in the room that he is now to replace Barsarvi and that his reasons for doing so are his own. He tells everyone in the room that they will hear his words and then must come to a decision.

Capa Raza says that nothing that any of the Garistas have earned will be taken from them – everything will stay as it was, even the secret peace – essentially he is doing a straight swap. Capa Raza even says that he will honour the old Capa’s debts. Capa Raza first calls Eymon – the man who walked up to Locke (when he was dressed as the Grey King), and grabbed him – from the crowd. He is told to kneel before Capa Raza and kisses his ring, he is then told that he was very brave and that Capa Barsarvi’s promise to allow him a Duke-like life will be honoured. Eymon asks whether Capa Raza was the man who was thrown in the cask and Capa Raza confirms that that was just an illusion. The new Capa states once again he wants to work with all the existing Garistas and asks who will serve him. A chorus of gangs call out the names of gangs that should no longer exist (as the Grey King killed their Garistas). Locke realises that the Grey King must have been cutting deals with the gang’s subordinates. The Garistas all kneel to Capa Raza and Locke notices that the shark doesn’t jump up and take them so realises that the Falconer must have been controlling him this whole time. Capa Raza tells the Falconer to open the doors. Before everyone leaves Capa Raza tells the undecided they have three days to decide if they will serve him. He suggests that any who do not wish to serve him leave the city with any fortune they have because after that he will make any examples that he must.

Locke moves towards the door, past the bodies of Barsarvi’s most loyal guards (including the one Locke met and chatted with earlier, Barnel). Leaving the ship Locke recognises more bodies and the new Capa’s men are calling that everyone else has only 3 days to bend their knee. Still in his beggar disguise no one bothers Locke – he is glad because he wants to hide himself and plan. He promises to himself that he will see the Grey King’s eyes as he sticks a dagger into his heart. Locke is still suffering the effects of the poison he took earlier. People laugh at him as he stumbles through the city thinking he is a gazer. Eventually Locke falls to the ground calling Jean’s name before losing consciousness.

A ship becomes visible perhaps about a mile out to sea due south of the Dregs. It has ghostly white sails and is making its way to the Old Harbour; the Bored Watch, who are in the tip of the three-story tower at the tip of the South Needle, are the first to see it. They think it is probably Verrari – they remark that a drunk is better in control of a boat than a Verrari. Suddenly the ship lights up yellow which shocks the two men – this is a sign that it is a plague ship. One of the two watchmen who spot it rings the station’s bell. The quarantine guard arrive along the waterfront. The guard have a ship, the Gull, that is built specifically to destroy any threat to Camorr – this is in addition to the towers which have stone throwing devices – essentially, this harbour is built in such a way that nothing will be left living on a ship that the guard don’t want coming in. The Gull pulls up in-front of the black ghostly ship and uses a speaking trumpet to ask what the ship’s name and business is. On shore, archers take their place. A reply comes that the ship that is ‘Satisfaction’ of Emberlain and its last port of call was to be Jerem – they are carrying just provisions as they were meant to pick up their cargo in Ashmere. There were 68 people on board, but 20 are now dead. They confirm that there is a plague onboard the boat, that men are burning up with fever. The Satisfaction is told that they may have plague anchorage but must not pass within 150 yards of the shore or they will be sunk. They are warned that anyone or anything leaving the ship will be eaten by sharks, shot at or burned. The Satisfaction ask if there is anything else the harbour can do and they say that they will provide priests at the shore, send water and charitable provisions. The plague ship then anchors.

Interlude

About half a year after Locke returns from his stay at the priesthood of Dame Eliza, Jean – using the name Tavrin Callas – travels south to the great temple of Aza Guilla known as Revelation House. Unlike the other 11 (or 12) orders of Therin clergy, all Aza Guilla servants begin their initiation at this one place. Revelation House is carved into the cliffs about 300-400 feet above the sea. The many rectangular rooms within the cliffs can only be reached by exterior means – i.e. ladders, walk ways and stairs that run in the open air with no safety rails. Initiates have it even harder as they are expected to climb one of twelve columns to ring a bell at the top of them twelve times. Three initiates fall during the first month Jean is there.

It is explained to Jean that living at Revelation House is a place designed to bring initiates closer to death or even send them to it. A priest explains that death is something priests under Aza Guilla must get used to, must feel comfortable with and not shy away from. As with most temples Jean education begins with reading, writing and mathematics (here called the First Inner Mystery), but because he is so advanced he progresses quickly to the Second Inner Mystery. The priesthood of the Lady Most Kind is inscrutable so the initiates are told that they must hide their faces and any part of their sex – they cannot appear as fellow men and women because those they minister must be allowed to compose their thoughts properly. This is why the Aza Guilla wear the black robes and silver masks.

Note: At this point we must wonder about the young Aza Guilla priest the boys met earlier: did she recognise Jean or was she simply used by Scott Lynch to convey their creepiness and role in society? 

As an initiate Jean is still just carrying messages and cleaning various locations of the House – the Second rank simply means he must now do it with a mask that messes with his vision. Two more initiates fall to their death – making the transition from life the Aza Guilla seem so keen to occur – before Jean is forced to drink poisoned wine. Jean is told that the fire of life is dulling as he lies feebly on the ground with the rest of his classmates. The poison has a strange effect on Jean and he begins to laugh. When the priest asks Jean to share why he is laughing he answers that he saw his parents and cat burn to death. He then asks if the priest knows how to draw a man’s life out with a dagger… He laughs louder and says that he does. The priest says that the high proctor will speak to Jean once the Emerald wine has worn off. The high proctor tells Jean that he has passed into the Third Inner Mystery. It becomes apparent that they feel that Jean’s cry about stabbing a man was a vision and the fact that being so close to his parents as they died shows him as marked for a servant of Aza Guilla. They expect great things of him during the next stage of his initiation – a month of anguishment, a month of exploration into death the transition. This will consist of many close encounters with death: more poison, snake bites, being hung from silk, swimming in the night ocean and many more.

That very night Jean fakes his own death (leaving a note that suggests he committed suicide in a bid to be closer to Aza Guilla’s embrace and solve the remaining mysteries of death). He gets back to Camorr using a bag of coins he’d buried before entering the temple a few months ago. After Jean has told Chains all about his stay at the temple, the four bastards sit on the roof of the temple. The twins tell Locke and Jean about when they were initiates of the lord of Coins and Commerce: they were given a copper every Idler’s day and pastries fortnightly. They ask Jean if he wonders about whether the Aza Guilla could have been right – if perhaps Jean was fated to serve the Lady Most Kind. Jean says he thinks he is, but not in the way that they thought before drawing a hatchet from his back.

Chapter 12

‘And here he is’ says an unfamiliar voice as Locke awakens on an unfamiliar bed. Jean appears by the side of a wrinkled, bird-like man that seems to be some kind of underground doctor – a dog leach. People of this profession – dog leaches – are happy to cure those with the more ‘questionable’ injuries that true doctors may question or report to the guard. It’s lucky because Locke’s injuries are all questionable: being bruised, desiccated and malnourished. The dog leach explains that Locke simply collapsed – his body revoked Locke’s ability to continue piling abuse on it. He also explains that he kept Locke unconscious using medicine as he knew Locke wouldn’t want to rest (and Locke proves his presumption to be correct because Locke doesn’t want to do anything but get going). Jean and the dog leach convince Locke to rest up, eat and drink some more.

Jean catches Locke up with everything that has been going on. Capa Raza maintains his power and the Gentlemen Bastards are officially outcast. Jean is presumed alive and is worth 500 crowns to the man who captures him. The dog leach explains that Capa Raza killed his younger brother – he isn’t going to charge Locke for his services because he knows that Locke wants to bury the new Capa (not that he fancies his chances). Jean says that they have little more than 10 and a half crowns and a couple of costumes. Then, Jean reveals a mask of Aza Guilla.

Jean bangs the door of the Death Goddesses temple as Tavrin Callas – explaining he is a bound servant of the Lady so Kind. He claims he is of the fifth Inner Mystery (the forth is a full initiate and the fifth is someone who conducts business from city to city). He explains that he was on business to Jeresh when his ship was boarded and it, along with all his belongings – including even his robes – were stolen. Jean dramatically explains that the Jeremites take great joy in keeping Jean as a slave on their boat, forcing him to empty chamber pots and such. Jean says that he took his chances and dived off the boat, which would have been surrounded by sharks. The servants of Aza Guilla believe that they have the love of sharks and so a story of an initiated swimming through a sea of them without being attacked is exciting, believable and proof of their faith. Jean asks to be taken to the steward of the temple saying that all he needs is robes, a mask and a bed for a few nights.

Locke wants to know why Jean used the same name he did when he faked his own death. Jean explains that he knows that the Temple will make enquiries and find out that he is supposed to be dead. That, however, will take weeks and he will be gone by then – he says they will no doubt enjoy being able to proclaim various visions and miracles. The Dog Leach isn’t sure whether it is truly wise to antagonise those who work for the Lady so Kind. Locke explains that she has had and will have many more opportunities to swat them if she is/was to take offence. He adds that initiates of the benefactor are strangely immune to the wrath of other Gods even when pretending to be their initiates.

Jean confirms that Capa Raza thinks everyone other than Jean is dead. The story is that they swore to swear allegiance and were justly slain. As promised, anyone who didn’t bend the knee has been killed – The Grey King didn’t wait three nights – the right people are all in Raza’s pockets. Locke asks Jean whether the truth about the Thorn has got out and Jean says that it hasn’t because the Capa wanted to kill them off as sneak thieves. Jean says that there was a strange occurrence: the Grey King pulled aside a number of men, who he identified as agents of the spider and exiled them. Finally, Locke is told of the plague ship that has anchored. All three of them (Locke, Jean and the Dog Leach) agree that it is a strange coincidence. Jean explains that it gets better because the Capa is funding their charity. Jean has looked into it and it’s not just food and water that they are sending out to the boat.

Jean, dressed as a priest of Aza Guilla, is watching over men and women load up the provisions due to be sent out to the plague ship. The guard ask Jean to back away, but realising that he is a priest allow him to stay and pray for the men and women on the ship. The group panic upon dropping a box that clanks like metal (bags of coin) – Jean pretends he didn’t think anything strange of it and walks away to meet up with Locke. The two of them can’t think of any reason that coins would be sent out to a plague ship. Locke wants to get out of bed, despite the Dog Leach not thinking it is a good idea. Locke gets out of bed anyway and quickly collapses. Locke explains that he can’t get back at the new Capa if he can’t move and he is told that he needs to have patience and rest. The Dog Leach onece again explains that he wants Locke to get better so that he can kill the Capa – he isn’t holding him back purposely. Jean says that perhaps Locke should give him a plan and he will get him back for Calo, Galdo and Bug for the both of them.

Locke asks the Dog Leach if he can borrow some clothes from the Doctor, but he explains that due to his blood ties to a man loyal to the old Capa his stuff was burned – indeed, he is living life rather dangerously simply by staying in the city. When he leaves, Locke explains that he needs resources to get back at Capa Raza. Jean explains that he wrote to the Don and his wife to tell them that Lukas would be working on a few business deals for a few weeks and so that con is still on. Locke thinks about how he has lost everything – not just the stolen coins, but all their false identities and papers to secret bank accounts that were in the vaults. The clothes and accessories that Locke had worn as Lukas had cost around 44 crowns and without them or money Locke can’t think how he will meet with the Salvaras and get some more money from them to put towards getting back at Capa Raza.

Interlude

It is said in Camorr that the difference between honest and dishonest commerce is that when an honest man or women of business ruins someone they don’t have the courtesy to cut their throats and finish the affair. This is, in a sense, a disservice to those of Coin Kissers row whose exertions over the years have helped to draw the Therin city states up out of the ashes of the fall of the Therin throne into something resembling prosperity for certain segments of the population. We are told that the operations of Coin Kissers Row would make the minds of most merchants spin. It’s not only the honest operations either – there are also the darker ones, where certain people are made to disappear, certain transactions are manipulated to stay off the books, and much more besides.

When you speak of business practices – fair or foul – the first name that comes to the mind of the Therin people is Giancana Meraggio. His family have owned their counting house for almost two and a half centuries – he is the 7th in his line. The family made their original money through the sudden death of Duke Stravoli: Nicola Meraggio, who was a trader-captain, used what money she had to buy up the whole city’s stock of mourning crepe and resold it at extortionate prices. She then started a coffee house on the canalside avenue that would eventually be called Coin-Kisser’s Row.

Coin-Kisser’s Row has grown and grown over the years. The early Meraggio’s made their name squeezing more funds from investments than any other. By the time we reach Ostavo Meraggio the family were making so much money that every morning he would board a boat with 50 gold tyrins and throw them into the bay proclaiming that he can do this and still have more profits than any of his peers. As years went by, the Meraggio’s focus shifted from investing coin to guarding and loaning it. The power that comes with being able to do this has led to many saying that Camorr has two Dukes: Nicovante the Duke of Glass and Meraggio the Duke of White Iron.

Questions:

Question: What did you think of Scott Lynch’s system of religion in Locke Lamora? Do you think it is over explained, under explained, perfect?

Question: There was a very long action scene where Jean and Bug fought against Salt Demons. How did you find this scene? Did it fit with the rest of the novel?

Question: The Spider is revealed to be Dona Angiavesta Vorchenza, an old woman who lives in one of the 5 towers. Did you always think the Spider was going to be an older person or did this twist catch you by surprise?

Question: The Handball story is one of the few interludes that don’t feature the main characters at all. What did you think was the message of this story and why did Scott choose to throw it in here?

Question: We lost Bug, Calo and Galdo in this section :( Why do you think Scott Lynch chose to kill them off at this point of the novel? Do you feel their deaths take away the dynamic of the bastards? 

Question: Were Bug, Calo and Galdo’s deaths a result of Locke’s cockiness and inability to listen to Chains’s advice? Chains told Locke to mind his manners should he ever face a Bondsmage and he did the opposite. He also antagonised the Grey King, not following the rule allowing another person feel they are in complete control of the situation. To phrase the question in another way, if Chains had still been alive and picked up by the Grey King to play him instead of Locke – would Chains have done the deed and kept everybody alive?

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