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Escaping from the attentions of the Bondsmagi Locke Lamora, the estwhile Thorn of Camorr and Jean Tannen have fled their home city. Taking ship they arrive in the city state of Tal Varrar where they are soon planning their most spectacular heist yet; they will take the luxurious gaming house, The Sinspire, for all of its countless riches.
No-one has ever taken even a single coin from the Sinspire that wasn't won on the tables or in the other games of chance on offer there.
But, as ever, the path of true crime rarely runs smooth and Locke and Jean soon find themselves co-opted into an attempt to bring the pirate fleet of the notorious Zamira Drakasha to justice. Fine work for thieves who don't know one end of galley from another.
And all the while the Bondsmagi are plotting their very necessary revenge against the one man who believes e has humiliated them and lived; Locke Lamora.
Like its roguish protagonists, Lynch's colorful sequel to 2006's The Lies of Locke Lamora is charming, unpredictable and fast on its feet and stands surprisingly well on its own given its convoluted plot. Initially poised to rob the Sinspire, the notoriously thief-proof casino where the penalty for cheating is death, Locke and his partner, Jean, are unwillingly sidetracked into joining and then leading a pirate crew, swindling their way across the sea as they had previously done on land. The cinematic influences on Lynch's fantasy setting are evident, the borrowing is mostly ingenious and the prose frequently enthralls, but tone and pacing suffer from odd inconsistencies. A handful of dark moments clash uncomfortably with the overall devil-may-care atmosphere. Most frustrating of all is the handling of key secondary character Ezri Delmastro, who shines too briefly as an energetic romantic interest for Jean. The ending promises at least one more installment, but fans may be unhappy if the saga strays too far from its amiable roots.