Warning biohazard alert: Shameless fanboy babbling ahead. Proceed with caution.
If you’re a fan of fantasy, you have no doubt at least heard of the Gentleman Bastards series by Scott Lynch. If you haven’t yet taken the time to read it, let me tell you that you should, as the series is truly excellent in every conceivable way a fantasy series has of being excellent. Of course that is just my humble opinion – although with each book in the series having an average rating of 4.2 or above on Goodreads, there is a decent chance you will at least like them (even if you don’t love them like I do). Is love too strong a word? Nah!
One of things I like most about the series is the fact that each book takes place in a completely different setting and each tells a different kind of story. In one book you are trying to fix an election and in the other you are out at sea with pirates! Some people didn’t like this and wanted more of what was the first book. I find it refreshing. The threads that hold the books together are the characters and their pasts which are cleverly entwined throughout the series so that you learn important bits of information about each character’s past when it is most relevant to the events that are occurring in the present. Then there’s the unpredictable plots with plenty of tension and witty humor to top it all off. Lynch also doesn’t shy away from strong female characters which I like. The head honcho pirate boards ships, steals their goods, and then chills with her toddlers in the captains cabin in the evening.
Now, the first two books were released in quick succession (The Lies of Locke Lamora in 2006 & Red Seas Under Red Skies in 2007) which got fans of the series very excited and optimistic about the pace at which each book would be released. Sadly, life got in the way of Lynch’s writing, which is fine of course as life can deal us blows and it is perfectly understandable that this will slow the writing process. The third book was eventually released in 2013 and we now eagerly anticipate the fourth book: The Thorn of Emberlain. There is also The Bastards and the Knives, which was to contain some stories to fill out the backgrounds and characters of the universe a bit more, but things are looking pretty iffy as to whether this will ever be published at all (it was originally due for publication ten years ago).
I have had high expectations for each book so far and have personally never been disappointed. Now I have an inkling that The Thorn of Emberlain will be the best in the series to date. Let me eagerly tell you why.
When Lynch first set out to write this series, The Thorn of Emberlain was the original starting point, but he felt that he needed to flesh the characters out more and give them the required background and history. This gives me confidence that the series is in no danger of the all too common fizzling-out phenomenon. It also means that it is the story with which Lynch has thought about the most and therefore the one that he has worked on for the longest.
“For The Thorn of Emberlain, it’s different because this is the book that I set out to write originally back in about 2000-2001, so I’ve had 15-odd years to think about this one, and that’s not usual.” – Scott Lynch as quoted in the Helsinki Times.
It will also have a new and interesting setting: a civil war in Emberlain. We will be introduced to some new characters that are going to be sticking around for the long term.
“We’re also going to meet a new cast of recurring characters, who are going to be in total political opposition to everything Locke and Jean want to accomplish, and that is Anton Strata and his family. He’s a teenager who finds himself essentially fighting in a suddenly very vicious portion of the civil war to stay alive, let alone claim his eventual succession to the throne.
Locke and Jean, in previous books, have used the rumored threat of a civil war in the Kingdom of the Seven Marrows to make money as part of a scam, and now it’s actually happened and it’s going to severely fuck the world up, pardon my French.
So it is the biggest of the Gentleman Bastards sequence thus far in terms of scale. We’re going to see actual battles. There’s a lot of stuff that we’ve not previously seen and it’s going to be the biggest challenge and the most complicated infiltration scheme that Locke has ever run.”
So when is it coming out? Rumor has it that Lynch said in a recent interview that 2018 is likely. Apparently the book is mostly written and that he needs to tidy up some bits – mostly the ending. I’m so excited! Perhaps I ought not to be… who knows when it will actually be released haha!
I recently got the fancy 10th anniversary editions of the first two books!
Okay, that’s the end of my fanboy babbling. I promise. Is anyone else out there looking forward to the next one as much as I am?