I've been itching to get my hands on this one for a while now, based solely on the titles alone. It turns out that if David Mamet had a book-baby with Joe Abercrombie, The Lies of Locke Lamora would be the result. As I have a bit of a thing for witty gobshites with a loose approach to common morality and love to get lost in a well-realised, fantasy world, this is a very, very good thing.
A slightly built orphan with a forgettable face, Locke Lamora doesn't have much going for him in the way of strength, social standing, or sword skills. He does, however, have a mind that is sharper than most and, luckily, was snatched up young from a life of petty street thievery and taken under the tutelage of one Father Chains - apparent blind priest of the Order of Perelandro and actual mentor to a gang of budding con artists, The Gentleman Bastards.
A fantastic city built on the ruins left behind by an elder race, Camorr is mostly ruled over by the nobles who are kept safe from the depredations of its many criminals through the Secret Peace, engineered and enforced by the ruthless crime-lord Capa Barsavi. Well, they're mostly kept safe, anyhow. Safe from everyone but the Gentleman Bastards, who frequently use their own greed to relieve them of large portions of their fortunes. But as their latest scheme comes to the attention of the secret police and Capa Barsavi's criminal empire comes under threat from the serial-killing Gray King, Locke and his Gentleman Bastards are going to need every last one of his wits if they, and Camorr, are to survive. It's a good thing he's got more than a few moves...
With a clever, twisty plot, a conniving main character that I really enjoyed, a superb surrounding cast of characters (including a pair of shark-fighting twin sisters and the lovely Jean Tannen, who's the heart of the Bastards if you ask me), genuinely formidable villains and some moments of real emotion (Bug! Eep...), I enjoyed the hell out of this. And with a few things left unresolved (I need to meet Sabetha now, please, and am intrigued by what may have been before Camorr), I imagine I'll be enjoying the hell out of the second in the series very, very soon.