Waiting for Emberlain

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!

GB Series

In this case, you can certainly judge the books by their awesome covers.

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.

Mr NW’s review of The Lies of Locke Lamora

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 assume these two dudes are Jean and Locke. But who knows?

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!

Further Awesomeness
I recently got the fancy 10th anniversary editions of the first two books!


“Oooohhhhh ahhhhhhhh”

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?


22 thoughts on “Waiting for Emberlain

  1. I was actually a little disappointed by the third book. It felt like their whole plot was a series of pranks, rather than the well thought out schemes that Locke had come up with in the previous books. If the Thorn of Emberlain is as good as you think it will be, it sounds like I might be back into this series.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, I agree with you there – the scheming wasn’t as intense in the third book. The relationship with Sabetha and the story set in the past with the noble and the play were what carried it for me though. And the writing itself was still of a high standard.

      With Lynch saying that the fourth book will have the most complex infiltration scheme he’s ever done I think the cool scheming will be back 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I have to agree – for me book 3 was definitely the weakest.

      I also wasn’t a big fan of Sabetha & annoyed that we didn’t get a lot of Locke & Jean banter. Their relationship was a big part of why I liked the books so much.

      I do have hope that it gets better again. Especially if Sabetha stays away.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m fairly certain Sabetha has been set up as a core character going forward. I’m hopeful that Lynch is now done with the whole dating aspect with her though. I’m hoping it’s like okay, now we know their history, the bad-ass stuff can now continue unabated.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yessir I will add it to my TBR! Actually I think I need to create a second TBR called “yes, but really read these first” because the original list is too long.

    I hope book 4 comes out soon and is as epic as you expect!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I understand your struggle. The TBR list grows faster than I can possibly get through the books. This problem became exacerbated when I started following blogs and blogging because I discover books at a higher rate now. I’ve imposed a rule on myself not to buy any more books until I have read the backlog.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely true! I remember as a young person I would just browse the library shelves, there was no such thing as a list! Now the list is so long I don’t remember why half the books are on there in the first place!

        Blogging has definitely made it grow exponentially, but it also helps keep me excited because I wouldn’t know about most of these awesome books without reading about them.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, I wasn’t aware that The Thorn of Emberlain’s concept was born before all else, and learning this now has raised my expectations by several notches: if Lynch decided to flesh out his world and characters more before getting to the main point, it can only result in a great story.
    And now let’s cross our fingers that the book really comes out this year… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I read the first book and fell in love with it, cover to cover! I have the rest of the series but didn’t jump back into for many reasons, not having gotten over my love for the first one being one, as odd as that sounds. But man, seeing The Thorn of Emberlain being constantly pushed away from release sort of got me depressed about this series. I think knowing that it finally has a set release date would probably get me to jump back into it. And damn. Those special anniversary editions are amazing. Might have to hunt them down too now. 😀 Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I know what you mean. When I have loved the first book in a series I sometimes actually put off reading the others because deep down I know that they can’t possibly be as good.

      I feel like Emberlain is close. I am checking the web daily for whispers of an update. Lynch has been writing short items in relation to the Gentlemen Bastards universe after ages of nothing so I am hoping that they are gearing up for an announcement. But who knows?!

      Liked by 1 person

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