Often described as ''OceansEleven'' [-[[RecycledInSpace ONLY FANTASY]]-], this series centers around a MagnificentBastard thief who goes by Locke Lamora and his companion(s), set in a FantasyCounterpartCulture of Venice. Originally picked up by a [[Literature/OliverTwist Fagin]]-equivalent known as Thiefmaker as an addition to his string, Locke quickly makes it impossible for the Thiefmaker to keep him through a series of suicidally audacious schemes, resulting in his sale to Father Chains, ostensibly a beggar-priest but in reality a gifted con artist and devotee of the nameless god of thieves.

As he grows and learns, Locke finds himself contending with the rise of the Gray King, who begins trying to overthrow the established orders of thieves in the city. And so he finds himself in an ever-expanding ring of trouble...

Scott Lynch has released three of the seven planned books:
* ''The Lies of Locke Lamora'' (June 2006)
* ''Literature/RedSeasUnderRedSkies'' (July 2007)
* ''The Republic of Thieves'' (October 2013)
* ''The Thorn of Emberlain'' (forthcoming 2014)
* ''The Ministry of Necessity'' (forthcoming)
* ''The Mage and the Master Spy'' (forthcoming)
* ''Inherit the Night'' (forthcoming)

Lynch is also planning three novellas to be released by Subterranean Press:

* "The Mad Baron's Mechanical Attic"
* "The Choir of Knives"
** These first two are being published in a compilation volume entitled ''The Bastards and the Knives''
* And a third with an unknown title.

Finally, Lynch is planning a ''second'' seven-book series, taking place fifteen or twenty years after the first one.

----
!!This series provides examples of:
* AccentRelapse: From the point of view of the one being found out.
* ActionGirl: Zamira, Ezri, Merrain, Sabetha, and the Berengias sisters. And [[spoiler:Selendri, since she used to be an Eye.]] Less specifically, there are the ''contrarequialla'', the female-only gladiators who fight sharks during festivals.
* AlliterativeName: Locke, which is commented upon when he first states his name. Also Dona Sofia Salvara and one of the Gentlemen Bastards's aliases.
* AlwaysSecondBest: The source of a lot of the tension in Locke and Sabetha's relationship. While they are both equally skilled grifters, Locke wins the recognition that Sabetha craves with very little effort, sometimes even by accident. It's unclear how much of this is because of sexism and how much is because Locke is incapable (to a fault) of making his cons anything other than giant, flashy, insane capers (as opposed to Sabetha's caution and forethought).
* AmnesiacHero: Locke has hardly any memories of whatever happened before he got out of a plague-struck district of Camorr as a small child. [[spoiler: We learn why and how in ''Republic of Thieves''...maybe.]]
* AnachronicOrder: The chapter where Locke masquerades as a Midnighter (secret cop) who tells the Salvaras about his {{Spanish Prisoner}} gambit is told this way. The beginning of the conversation is told from Don Lorenzo's perspective, without revealing to the reader who the Midnighter really is. This is followed by a description of Locke dressing up as a Midnighter, and we see the rest of the conversation from Locke's perspective. Then we see how Calo and Locke broke into the Salvara's manor to surprise the Don in the first place.
* AndIMustScream: Since killing a Bondsmage brings the rest of them down on your head and the heads of everyone you've ever met, this is how Locke and Jean deal with the Falconer - permanently cripple him so he can't use magic, then hand him back to his fellows as a warning. Alas, they're still fairly put out. [[spoiler: Unfortunately, as of the end of the third book, the Falconer managed to repair himself... and he has plans...]]
* AntiHero: Jean and Locke. They steal (of course), they kill and they're entirely willing to torture another human being -- but their torture victims ''really'' have it coming, and if it comes down to doing the right thing on one hand or getting vengeance or money on the other, they'll generally do the right thing first and try to catch up with the vengeance and money later. [[spoiler:In one case they even give up the money entirely as an offering to the Crooked Warden. Also to annoy their enemies.]]
* AndThisIsFor: Locke [[spoiler:when chopping off the Falconer's fingers with a red-hot knife. One each for Bug, Galdo, Calo, and Nazca. The rest are for him and Jean. Invoked again during Locke's final encounter with the Gray King where Locke punctuates each lethal stab with the names of his dead friends.]]
* AnyoneCanDie: [[spoiler:By halfway through the first book, more than half the Gentlemen Bastards are dead along with Capa Barsavi and his entire family. And that's just the beginning.]]
* AppliedPhlebotinum: Dreamsteel is a quicksilver-like substance which can be shaped and controlled by magic and is used by bondsmagi in many of their works.
* TheArchmage: Four of them rule the Bondsmagi of Karthain. The title is actually "Archedon" for men and "Archedama" for women.
* AristocratsAreEvil: Of the aristocrats and oligarchs present in the books thus far, the vast majority take MoralMyopia to an art form, feel no compassion or empathy for the lives of commoners except for those in their employ, and live in decadence that would put Versailles to shame. Don and Dona Salvara appear to be among the few exceptions, and even they aren't necessarily philanthropists.
* ArmedLegs: Nazca's boots.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: When Locke describes his treatment of [[spoiler:the bondsmage]]. Stabbed him a few times, drove him nuts, cut off all his fingers and cut out his tongue. Also called him an arsehole, which apparently offended him.
* AutomatonHorses: Gentled animals. They still need food and water, but don't feel pain or fatigue or have any personal initiative.
* AwesomeMcCoolname: Readers tend to enjoy the sound of the names. Locke Lamora's name is noted in the text as having a nice ring to it.
* AnAxeToGrind: The Wicked Sisters.
* {{Badass}}: There are plenty.
* BadassArmy: The Bondsmagi only had to go to war once, and it was such a CurbStompBattle that everyone got the message that it's basically impossible to stand against them.
* BadassBoast: Plenty. ''Ila justicca vei cala.'' (Justice is red.)
* BadassBookworm: Jean Tannen.
* BadassPreacher: All of the Gentlemen Bastards can pass themselves off as priests of various orders. Locke is a legitimately ordained priest of the Crooked Warden (the thirteenth god). Father Chains is also a priest of the Crooked Warden, and his cover identity is as a famous priest of beggars.
* BanOnMagic: The bondsmagi prohibit magic beyond a certain complexity outside their order. They tolerate alchemy, however.
* BadGuyBar: The Last Mistake, right next to Capa Barsavi's headquarters. And the Tattered Crimson, in Port Prodigal.
* BandOfBrothels: The Camorri brothels are intimidating enough that even Capa Barsavi doesn't dare interfere with them.
* BattleButler: Conte, the Salvaras' manservant, is ''very'' competent in a fight.
* BavarianFireDrill
* TheBeastmaster: The Falconer's primary talent, complete with his BondCreature, Vestris (a scorpion-hawk with poisonous talons), the use of [[AnimalEyeSpy Animal Eye Spies]], manipulating normally docile creatures into suicidal attacks, and killing people very painfully and thoroughly. Hence his assumed name. [[spoiler:His link with Vestris is the key to his defeat in the end; the remaining Bastards kill her, giving the Falconer an extremely painful PokeInTheThirdEye that leaves him half-mad with agony. They then capture and torture him the rest of the way.]]
* BiTheWay: Jabril makes this discovery. Sabetha makes the suggestion that she might prefer girls, but this is to explain to Locke why it is a problem that he doesn't seem to have calculated ''her'' interests into his infatuation; after he's done freaking out, she assures him that she is also sexually attracted to men.
* BigBad: The Gray King in ''Lies'', Archon Maxilan Stragos in ''Red Seas''. ''Republic'' doesn't have a single central antagonist, unless Sabetha counts; while [[spoiler: Archedama Foresight]] was the ultimate string-puller of the opposition, her direct role in the novel is minimal, and Sabetha is only a hired agent.
* BigBadFriend: [[spoiler: Jean pretends to become]] one of these in the prologue of the second book.
* BiggerBad: The third book implies the existence of one; apparently whatever force destroyed the Eldren may still be around, and much of what the Bondsmagi do is based around keeping it from returning.
* BittersweetEnding: Each book ends this way. [[spoiler:The Bastards succeed in their short-term goals, but at a price. Book one ends with over half the Gentleman Bastards dead. Book two ends with Locke being poisoned and Jean having lost the lady he loved. Book three has Locke crushed by the revelation of his past identity and Sabetha's most recent abandonment]].
* BlackAndGrayMorality: Ubiquitous. There are ''no'' out and out heroes in the world of the series so far, though the protagonists are at least conscientious enough to avoid random mayhem and try to make it right by anyone they've screwed who didn't deserve it. In other stories, figures like Requin and Capa Barsavi would be monstrous BigBad types who'd thoroughly crossed the MoralEventHorizon. Here, they're both indispensable and powerful fixtures of their respective cities' underworld and crucial to local stability, and the reader is invited to sympathize with them to some extent. The Bondsmagi themselves are presented as creepy and malevolent in the first two books but [[spoiler:the third one shows that while they are indeed [[ManipulativeBastard Manipulative Bastards]], most of them are not the vicious, sadistic, self-righteous sociopaths the Falconer would have you thinking they are]].
* BoxedCrook: Locke and Jean are subjected to this by the Archon. They really, ''really'' do not like it.
* BrainsAndBrawn: Zig-zagged. Jean is a "muscle-and-fat" bruiser, who also happens to be the son of a well-off merchant, and superbly educated. Locke is a cunning but comparatively BookDumb SatisfiedStreetRat. Locke is the ideas man and always takes point, while Jean backs him up with brawn or secondary grifting as required.
* BroughtDownToBadass: [[spoiler: According to Patience, Locke used to be a renegade necromancer named Lamor Acanthus. He escaped death from old age by transferring his soul into the body of a young boy.]] Unfortunately, the move seems to have cost him his memory and his magical gifts.
* CarryingTheAntidote: [[spoiler: Though he only carried enough for one]]. Also mildly averted in the first book where [[spoiler:the Spider poisons Locke and offers him the antidote only if he helps her. He punches her out and loots the antidote from her unconscious body.]]
* CaptainErsatz: The Thiefmaker to Fagin of ''Literature/OliverTwist'', though "kidsmen" like Fagin were a real thing.
* CityOfCanals: Camorr.
* ClusterFBomb: The Gentlemen Bastards' ''modus operandi''. Especially Locke when he's outsmarted himself, as so often happens.
* ColdBloodedTorture: Happens a ''lot'', and it's sometimes the "good" guys doing the torturing.
* {{Collector of the Strange}}: One of the proudest claims of the [[BadGuyBar Last Mistake]] is that it has secured a memento of every ship that has foundered within sight of Camorr over a period of seventy years. The walls are covered in "a bewildering variety of souvenirs, each one telling a visual tale that ended with the phrase 'not quite good enough.'" such as broken bits of ships, split helmets, and a suit of armor with a square hole punched into it by a crossbow bolt.
* CombatPragmatist: Locke, not being a BigGuy (like Jean) or a highly-trained martial artist (like Jean) is arguably the dirtiest fighter in the books thus far. Hell, in the first book, he punches out The Spider. Why is this notable? [[spoiler: She's an octogenarian]]! This even grants him a FakeUltimateHero status after some lucky kills. Never better exemplified than when he takes out [[spoiler:the Gray King]] by tricking him into thinking Jean's come up behind him.
* CrapsackWorld: Crime is rampant, the law is brutal and corrupt, the aristocracy is decadent and callous, the magi are murderous. War and {{Eldritch Abomination}}s loom. Even the environment is full of deadly stuff.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: Such deaths are plentiful in these books. Most notable are [[spoiler:Nazca]] and [[spoiler:Archedama Patience]].
* CryForTheDevil: Prior to the final duel in ''Lies'', readers are treated to a section from the perspective of the Gray King. While it in no way excuses his actions, his lifelong trauma is made very clear - and with his scheme failing utterly and his family and crew all dead, he's essentially lost every reason he ever had to live. Twice.
* CulturedBadass: All of the {{Genius Bruiser}}s of the series enjoy high culture.
** Jean. Axe-fighter, highly trained martial artist and built like a bull. Spends a couple of pages debating the merits and flaws of Therin-era playwrights and reads romantic poetry in his spare time.
** Capa Barsavi. Before being the ruthless ruler of the Camorr underworld, he was a ''professor'' at the world-famous Therin Collegium. He taught rhetoric.
** Chains is a ''garrista'', a former soldier, and a very intellectual man.
* DarkSkinnedBlonde: Dona Sofia Salvara.
* DeadpanSnarker: Nearly everyone.
* DeadPersonImpersonation: The Bastards have to use that trick to impersonate [[spoiler:Boulidazi after he gets killed trying to rape Jean's lover]].
* DeathSeeker:
** Locke encounters a cult of death seekers who act as muscle for a merchant ship. They force the ship to resist the pirate invasion rather than simply surrender their cargo. [[spoiler:All of this conveniently keeps Locke and Jean sympathetic when helping to slaughter them]].
** Locke himself can fall into the attitude between the end of his most recent giant crazy plan and the beginning of another one; Jean theorises that without the thrill of the hustle, Locke ''genuinely wants to die''. It's become more-or-less Jean's job to bully Locke out of this state when he lapses into it.
* DisappearedDad: Locke mentions that he has the barest glimmer of a memory of his mother, but nothing of his father. [[spoiler:Turns out that even his memory of his mother wasn't really his mother]].
* DisproportionateRetribution:
** The Bondsmagi are a living incarnation of this trope. They burned the capital city of an empire to the ground just to make a point. [[spoiler: In the third book, we learn it was also because they thought the magi of that empire behaved in a way that could ultimately destroy the human race. Well, at least, that's what ''they'' say.]]
** [[spoiler: The Gray King]] also falls under this trope. [[spoiler: Capa Barsavi murdered his parents and half of his siblings, over a disagreement about the Secret Peace that protected the city's nobles from thievery. The Gray King's idea of revenge is to not just [[RevengeByProxy kill Barsavi and his entire family]], but to give ''all'' the noble families (including their children, born years after his family was killed) who benefited from Barsavi's Secret Peace a FateWorseThanDeath]].
* DoubleAgent: [[spoiler:Coldmarrow]] initially looks like he is TheMole, but [[spoiler:the ''Republic of Thieves'' ending makes it clear that he is ultimately loyal to Patience and her allies]].
* DownerBeginning:
** Before we know anything else ''Literature/RedSeasUnderRedSkies'' shows us Locke in front of a burning ship, cornered by angry guards, and with his best friend apparently turning on him.
** ''Republic of Thieves'' also starts with Locke slowly and painfully dying from poisoning (although it is quite obvious to the reader that he will find a way to get better).
* TheDragon: The Falconer to the Gray King, in the first book.
* DragonInChief: Borderline case. The plan was all the Gray King's, but the Falconer's magic was absolutely essential to making it run properly.
* DrowningMySorrows: Locke does it at least twice, in the second book after being debilitated by grief and battle wounds and in the second book while dying from poison.
* DualWielding: Jean with his hatchets, the Wicked Sisters. Zamira Drakasha also does this with her sabres.
* DueToTheDead: Part of the worship of the Crooked Warden involves throwing something into the ocean to honor a fallen comrade. This offering must be stolen specifically for this purpose, and the greater the value of the offering, the greater the honor. [[spoiler: At the end of the first book, Lock manages to offer an astronomical fortune to the memories of Calo, Galdo, and Bug]].
* EldritchAbomination: Most of the Bondsmagi believe that the Eldren died because they attracted the attention of one of these. They are concerned that the same thing could happen to humans if they don't keep their magic low-key.
* EmergencyImpersonation: Locke as hired by the Gray King.
* EmptyShell: What happens when a human or animal is Gentled. They no longer have independent will.
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Plenty of this goes on. Capa Barsavi is a murderously ruthless mob boss, but the reader is invited to sympathize with his suffering at [[spoiler: Nazca's]] murder; Requin clearly cares a great deal for Selendri and his RoaringRampageOfRevenge was suitably brutal, and [[spoiler:the Gray King's entire motivation stemmed from trauma for the unjust slaughter of his entire family by the nobility of Camorr.]]
* EvenEvilHasStandards:
** The thieves of Camorr will respect agreements with their leaders, and not harm or steal from those who have paid for protection.
** Priests of the Crooked Warden are obligated to perform various rituals (usually funeral dedications) and can invoke obligations from other thieves. Locke, a priest of the Warden, balks at faking the funeral rite of another god, even to defend his own hide.
** The process of "Gentling," basically a sort of chemically-induced lobotomy, is considered too cruel to use for punishment, even in a city where child thieves are routinely hanged.
** And [[TheFagin The Thiefmaker]] basically rules a bunch of psychologically enslaved orphans, most of whom die under his employ, until he can sell them to a gang. He'll even personally kill orphans who cross him after making the correct offerings to the gods. However, he ''won't'' sell kids into slavery, especially Sabetha, knowing that [[spoiler:Jeremites would rape her to death because of her red hair]].
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: The Falconer. Given the bondsmagi's IKnowYourTrueName-based magic, it's a common practice among the residents of Karthain, magi or mundane.
* EverythingsEvenWorseWithSharks: Sharks are used repeatedly in the first book, [[spoiler: and one is used in the Gray King's coup against Capa Barsavi]].
* TheFagin: Locke encounters both versions as a child. The first criminal who took him in, the Thiefmaker, was more of the evil version, but he ends up selling Locke to Father Chains, who is very clearly inspired by the positive takes on Fagin.
* FakeUltimateHero: Locke's reputation with the crew of the ''Poison Orchid''.
* FateWorseThanDeath: Being "gentled" using wraithstone. It destroys your mind and turns you into an EmptyShell. It is only done to animals, and using it on humans is seen as a hideous crime virtually anywhere in the world (including in some places where hanging children or torturing enemies for hours are normal things). [[spoiler: The Gray King/Capa Raza intends to [[DisproportionateRetribution do that to all of Camorr's nobility]], including their spouses, children and servants.]]
* FantasyCounterpartCulture: Camorr/Venice most obviously, but there is a rough counterpart to all of the cultures in the books. Kingdom of the Seven Marrows is based on the South German[=/=]Austrian lands of the HolyRomanEmpire. The Vadran language is obviously based on German. Tal Verrar is also based on Venice, as a multi-island realm whose power lies in the fleet. Karthain is a third Venice analogue, a multi-island republic. Jerem has a few references to pre-industrial India. The defunct Therin Empire is hinted to be a sort of RomanEmpire.
* FeetOfClay
* FieryRedhead: Sabetha has naturally red hair and is quite the independent spirit.
* FinishingEachOthersSentences: Calo and Galdo Sanza, among a lot of other twin-related tropes.
* {{Flashback}}: Books one and three alternate chapters with flashbacks that cover the years prior to the first book. ''Red Seas'' uses them to explain {{How We Got Here}} instead.
* {{Flynning}}: The sword master that teaches Jean explains that he teaches the rich kids how to fight formalized duels rather than actual self-defense. What he teaches Jean is how to kill people with sharp objects.
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** In the chapter where we first learn that the Gray King is a real danger who can kill as he pleases, [[spoiler: sorcery is mentioned three separate times, twice even as an offhand explanation for his capabilities that the characters don't follow up on]].
** And way back when the Thiefmaker was first trying to sell Locke to Father Chains, he mentioned that there were problems with Locke in his care that would vanish if Chains took him in. Chains sarcastically replies with, "Oh. You have a [[spoiler:''magic'']] boy. Why didn't you say so?" [[spoiler:Rather prescient of him, considering we find out in the third book that Locke was a mage in his previous life.]]
* GambitPileup: Locke might have done this to ''himself'' in the second book. It's also lampshaded by a random Mook who is caught in the middle of a small pileup in the third book.
* GambitRoulette: Aspects of Locke's schemes occasionally fail, but he has an amazing knack for improvising furiously until the important parts of a plan fall into place. He doesn't always get out unscathed, though. And nor do the people he associates with.
* GenderIsNoObject: Women are just as likely to be fighters and other physical trades as men. It's even an EnforcedTrope on the seas, where sailors outright state that women are better sailors than men and it's unlucky to be without at least one on the crew.
* GeniusBruiser:
** Despite being the designated fighter, Jean is intelligent, if not quite as quick on his feet as Locke, and by far the most intellectual of the Bastards.
** One pirate stands seven feet tall and was once a Collegium student. He quotes poetry from memory and is very opinionated on literature.
** Capa Barsavi is a large, burly crimelord as well as a former professor of rhetoric
** Chains is a large, burly gangster and former soldier who is also highly intelligent and well-read.
* GentlemanThief: They aren't called the ''Gentleman'' Bastards for nothing.
* GilliganCut: In a way. When Locke first meets the Falconer, the book cuts to a short flashback chapter were Chains infodumps Locke (and the reader) about Bondsmagi and why they are not to be screwed with. He concludes with the following warning:
-->'''Chains:''' Sorcery's impressive enough, but it's their fucking attitude that makes them such a pain. And that's why, when you find yourself face to face with one, you bow and scrape and mind your 'sirs' and 'madams'.\\
''(chapter break)''\\
'''Locke:''' Nice bird, arsehole.
* GiveMeASword
* GiveMyRegardsInTheNextWorld: Locke delivers a heroic Type 1 to [[spoiler:the Gray King's assassin who just killed Bug]]: "When you see the Crooked Warden, tell him that Locke Lamora learns slowly, but he learns well. And when you see [[spoiler:my friends]], you tell [[spoiler:them]] that there are ''more of you on the way.''"
* GladiatorGames: Camorr has a ceremony in which gladiatrixes face off against fantasy sharks.
* {{Gorn}}: To put it in perspective, the author has received email admonishing him for the salty language used throughout all the books, and responded that he's bemused by ''swearing'' drawing such ire rather than the stabbings, poisonings, mutilations, people being eaten by sharks, people being drowned in horse urine, chemical burnings, regular burnings, deaths by insects (there are a few variations on that one), deaths by animals, slashed arteries, lost limbs...some of them as casual entertainment for the wealthy, several committed by the heroes, and all of them pretty graphically described.
* GoToAlias: Locke and Jean have had a lot of aliases in their time... but when pressed for an identity on short notice, they can always fall back on Tavrin Callas. (This is sort of a prank on their part; the first time Jean used that name, he was infiltrating the cult of the death goddess and faked his own suicide. They figure if anyone traces the name far enough back, the followers of the death goddess can declare it a miracle.)
* GrayAndGreyMorality: The plot to rip off the Salvaras in the first book. The Bastards are out to steal almost half the Salvaras' wealth as part of their religious obligation to humble the rich, but the Salvaras are decent enough sorts. In particular, the Don has at least twice risked his life to defend the helpless. [[spoiler: Which may be why the Salvaras come out of the book the heirs apparent to a prestigious post in the five noble families of Camorr.]]
* GuileHero: Locke uses his wits to succeed, although many of his more physical problems are solved by his sidekick Jean, the toughest fighter yet seen in the series. Their respective weapons sum up their approaches. Jean uses hatchets: versatile, deadly, and intimidating, but tough to conceal. Locke prefers stilettos when he has to fight at all: near-totally useless if an opponent knows you're coming, but easy to hide and perfect for slipping through gaps in an unsuspecting foe's armor.
* HappilyMarried:
** Don Lorenzo and Dona Sofia.
** Requin and Selendri enjoy UnholyMatrimony in spite of their scars and ruthlessness.
* HeartbrokenBadass: [[spoiler:Jean.]]
* HeroesWantRedheads: Heroes and villains.
** Locke is instantly smitten with Sabetha and soon afterwards learns that she has red hair, which he thinks is beautiful. When they're older, he tries to convince her that it's proof he loves ''the real her''. Unfortunately, he's unaware he's stepped on an internal landmine - there's a superstition in Jerem that having sex with a virgin red-head will cure all manner of illnesses. They're sometimes even raped to ''death'' by a line of the afflicted. For this reason, Sabetha usually keeps her hair dyed or covered. Locke's declaration is the very last thing she ever wants to hear from a potential lover.
** Later still, Sabetha worries that her hair might be all he really loves, because [[spoiler:the bongsmagi claim that he is the reincarnation of a mage who loved a red-headed woman. However, the readers knows that this isn't true because we see from his perspective that Locke falls in love with her before seeing her hair]].
* HeroicSacrifice:
** [[spoiler: Ezri]].
** Locke and Jean occasionally argue with each other for the honor of sacrificing themselves for the other's life.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Locke and Jean, who quickly became best friends as kids. They frequently risk their lives for each other, utterly depend on each other, and occasionally argue like an old couple. In the third book it's revealed that [[spoiler:Locke told Jean what he thought was his true name, despite never telling his true love Sabetha]].
* HonorAmongThieves: The Gentlemen Bastards have a strict code of conduct and undying loyalty to each other - even a religious obligation in their theft. Sabetha thinks that raising them with morals was a terrible thing for Chains to have done, even though she shares the same morals herself.
* HugeGuyTinyGirl: Jean and Ezri.
* HumanChess: The game in Salon Corbeau.
* ICallItVera: Jean's hatchets, nicknamed the Wicked Sisters.
* IKnowYouKnowIKnow: The Gentlemen Bastards's KansasCityShuffle scheme with the Salvaras. Locke frequently notes when the Salvaras make comments with double-meanings, comfortable in their belief that Locke is none the wiser, which makes them even easier to manipulate.
* IKnowYourTrueName: If they know your true name (even a fragment) the Bondsmagi can control you. [[spoiler: This backfires on the Falconer when Locke reveals that his entire name is assumed]].
* IndyPloy: Locke's specialty is improvising, and even his long-term schemes include a lot of improvisation, especially when they start to fall apart.
* InMediasRes: ''Red Seas'' starts with Locke and Jean already neck-deep in their plan to cheat their way up into Requin's office.
* InsultToRocks: "To say that he was an intemperate, murderous lunatic would wound the feelings of most intemperate, murderous lunatics."
* ItsPersonal: Nazca was shown to have had a very cordial relationship with the main characters, and was an especially good friend to Locke after he became her first Pezon (or follower). So when she was killed in that horrible way, there was no doubt shit would hit the fan. [[spoiler: Then the Gray King and the Falconer decide to kill the Sanzas ''and'' Bug...]]
* JackOfAllStats: The Sanzas. Chains says that they are "silver in all trades and gold in none." They have none of the strengths or weaknesses of the other Bastards. The closest thing to a specialty we get is when Locke says that they're good with knives.
* JustLikeRobinHood: The Thorn of Camorr, they say. Notably subverted, though; even he points out (in another guise) that he's not donating money to the poor; he considers the act of ''stealing'' from the rich action enough against them. Actually, he and his band kept their vast stolen fortune in a private vault and have no idea what to do with it.
* KansasCityShuffle: The Salvara game is this. The Salvaras know damn well that Locke is trying to con them. What they don't know is that the man who told them about that, and convinced them to play along, was Locke himself in a different disguise. Locke wonders why he never thought of this concept sooner.
* KillTheOnesYouLove[=/=]MercyKill: [[spoiler: Jean must kill Ezri because she is burned so badly by the shipsbane sphere that she is dying in agony.]]
* KissOfDeath: [[spoiler: Not actually death, but Sabetha puts a narcotic on her own skin to poison Locke when he kisses her, kidnap him, and put him somewhere out of the way.]]
* KnifeNut: A great many characters use knives as their primary weapons, from hoodlums to bodyguards. Locke, in particular, favors stiletto blades in his sleeves or shoes.
* LibationForTheDead: A custom of those sworn to the Nameless Thirteenth. The rite gets performed even for people Locke doesn't know well, or at all, if he perceives the death as unjust and/or the deceased has no one to speak well of them to the more respectable gods.
* LittleGirlsKickShins: Nazca in her youth. Her father even bought her steel-toed boots to indulge her!
* TheLoinsSleepTonight: [[spoiler:Locke is pining for Sabetha to the point that he's unable to get it up with anyone else.]]
* LookBehindYou: Locke hones this technique while fighting the Half-Crowns as a kid. With Jean to back him up. He later pulls it on [[spoiler:the Gray King, without the benefit of backup.]]
* LookOnMyWorksYeMightyAndDespair: [[spoiler: The bondsmagi of Karthain think that]] it is probably what happened to the Eldren civilization, due to their extensive and ostensible use of magic. [[spoiler: The bondsmagi very much do not want [[AndManGrewProud the same thing to happen to humans]], and that is why they are avoid any large-scale, ostensible magical work. It also explain why they are so damn pricky about other magic users.]]
* LoveableRogue: The Gentlemen Bastards may be thieves, but damn if they aren't ''loveable.''
* LoveMakesYouEvil: Played straight in ''Republic of Thieves'' with the story of Pel Acanthus, one of the brightest mage in history, who was a good person (well, for a bondsmage) but when his wife dies, he turns to TheDarkArts to try to resurrect her. [[spoiler: He doesn't succeed, but he manages to somehow reincarnate himself in a younger body, in order to have more time to study death magic. The plan backfires: he loses his memories and much of his identity, and his new body has no gift for magic. The result is Locke Lamora.]]
* MafiaPrincess: Nazca Barsavi, although she was being groomed to take over the family business.
* MagicGenetics: Averted. Although magic is hereditary, it seems to work in a rather complicated and realistic way, likely implying many different genes with interacting expression mechanisms. The result is that "magic does not breed true", and although there used to be bloodlines of mages who bore gifted children more often than not, they have been dissolved to the point where among the ~400 bondsmagi of Karthain only five mages were born of mage parents in the last centuries.
* TheMagocracy: Karthain is ruled by the bondsmagi. Their rule is not official, but it's not secret either. In theory, Karthain is ruled by a democratically elected body called the Konseil. But they have no real power. The factions of the Bongsmagi manipulate the city's political elections simply for the prestige of "winning." They select which party to champion at random.
* ManipulativeBastard: Strago. Also Locke.
* MeaningfulName:
** The Gray King later takes the name of Capa Raza, which means [[spoiler:"revenge", which is the one and only reason why he is in town. He only uses this name after his revenge has been exacted. Locke thinks that it's a little on the nose]].
** The bondsmagi's assumed names are also self-chosen and usually provide a clue to their bearer's mindset, origins or interests. For example, Coldmarrow named himself in memory of his birthplace (the Kingdom of the Seven Marrows), the Navigator was born on a ship and is obsessed by everything related to the sea, and the Falconer (aside from having a hawk for a familiar) is ruthless as a bird of prey with a facility for manipulating animals.
** Patience, formerly the Seamstress, lives up to both of her names. [[spoiler:She is patient enough to not destroy Locke's chances with Sabetha and enact her full vengeance until he is no longer of any use to him. And she is named Seamstress for her ability to ''tailor-fit'' the punishment to match the crime: In exchange for maiming and crippling her son, who can never know the feeling of magic again, she drives away Locke's love interest and reveals details of his future and past while leaving him uncertain, never giving him a full picture.]]
** Requin literally means "shark" in French. He's scary, but like most dangerous predators, he's not a threat as long as you respect that he ''is'' threatening. If he senses weakness or provocation, he shows no mercy.
* TheMedic: Physikers and their lesser prestigious brethren the "dog-leeches" use the settings's SchizoTech to heal a variety of illnesses and injuries fairly effectively, often with chemical and/or semi-magical means.
* MoreExpendableThanYou: [[spoiler:Ezri does this to Jean when he's about to go and grab the shipsbane sphere. In fact, she shoves him ''into Locke'' - ensuring neither of them could sacrifice themselves]].
* MoreHeroThanThou: Locke and Jean occasionally argue about gets to volunteer to sacrifice himself for the other. For example, [[spoiler:they argue over who's going to take the antidote at the end of the second book]].
* MysteriousEmployer: Merrain's masters have not been revealed.
* NoEndorHolocaust: Lampshaded. [[spoiler:Karthain has enjoyed the protection of the bondsmagi for centuries, and has not maintained its walls or kept a standing army. When the mages leave the city at the end of ''Republic of Thieves'', Jean predicts things will go poorly for Karthain in short order.]]
* TheNondescript: Locke is frequently described as scrawnier than normal, but otherwise he's said to be very nondescript.
* NumerologicalMotif: Thirteen.
* OhMyGods: "Twelve Gods!" for most people, while Locke and other disreputable characters usually include the god of thieves in the pantheon, making it "Thirteen Gods!" (or "Crooked Warden!" if they're referring to him in particular). Various characters refer to different deities by their preferences as well.
* TheOmniscientCouncilOfVagueness: Patience's faction, especially the telepathic discussions in the interludes.
* OutGambitted: [[spoiler: During the climax of ''Red Seas'', this happens to the ''Priori'' when they try to kill Locke after he helped them get rid of Stragos]].
--> '''Locke:''' You ''amateur'' double-crossers. You make us professionals cringe. [...] I saw this coming about a hundred miles away.
* PayEvilUntoEvil: The sacking of Salon Corbeau.
* PhotographicMemory: Nazca keeps taxes for a hundred gangs in her head and can perfectly recall conversations from a decade ago.
* {{Picaresque}}: Blends this genre with {{Fantasy}} and {{Swashbuckler}}.
* PintsizedPowerhouse: Several female fighters are described as short or downright petite, yet are apparently no less effective for it.
* {{Pirate}}: Many in the second book. Locke even pretends to be a captain for a while.
* PirateGirl: Ezri Delmastro and Zamira Drakasha, both from ''Red Seas under Red Skies''.
* PlatonicLifePartners: Locke and [[MafiaPrincess Nazca]]. [[spoiler: Until the Gray King poisons her and sends her back in a barrel of horse urine, that is. [[TearJerker Sniff]].]]
* PlatonicProstitution: For a scene in the first book, but only after the more conventional approach fails.
* ThePowerOfFriendship: Locke is a master manipulator, Jean is a skilled fighter, but when it truly came to the edge, when facing the power of the Falconer, none of their talents was useful enough alone. What saved their lives and allowed them to win and give him a FateWorseThanDeath was the fact neither of them would give up and allow the other to be killed.
* PrecisionFStrike: Despite the books' [[ClusterFBomb liberal approach on swearing]], these happen on occasion. The moment where Locke overcomes the Falconer's attempt [[IKnowYourTrueName to use his name against him]] comes to mind.
* {{Precursors}}: The Eldren, who left entire cities worth of indestructible glass buildings and other artwork. Their civilization pre-dated humanity by several thousand years. Their fate is not entirely known, though the bondsmagi believe that they were wiped out by an EldritchAbomination of some sort.
* PreventTheWar: Although the Bondsmagi are very strict in maintaining their monopoly over magic, this is given as the reason they allow the use of alchemy--people are so dependent on it that if it were taken away, they would have no choice but to go to war to try to get it back.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Locke often has the opportunity to dress down his greatest enemies, not that it does any good.
* RedBaron: Locke Lamora, the Thorn of Camorr. We later learn that Calo and Galdo created the title as a joke.
* ReincarnationRomance: [[spoiler:According to Patience, this is why Locke is attracted to Sabetha. Since her explicit purpose in saying this is to hurt Locke and alienate him from Sabetha, we don't know to what extent it's true (although there is enough evidence to be sure it's not ''all'' bullshit)]].
* RevealingCoverup
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Pretty common in the series.
** There's a brief chapter that consist of a folk-tale detailing the tradition in Camorr. They take revenge very seriously.
** The Gray King is out for revenge [[spoiler:for killing most of his family. He goes on to rip Capa Barsavi's empire out from under him and come close to burning out the brains of most of Camorr's ruling class]].
** Bondsmagi make it known that killing anyone in their order will get you, everyone you know, and ''everyone you've ever seen'' killed in response.
** Requin did this to those who burned him and his lady. He begin killing random suspects as well their whole gangs and families, letting it be known that he would continue until the culprit was put before him. Once the culprit turned up, Requin tortured him with the same burning plaster used against him until the would-be assassin begged for death.
* RuleOfCool: Gladiator matches against ''sharks.''
* SamusIsAGirl: [[spoiler:The Spider. Sabetha notes that she always suspected this given that the only detail ever stated certainly about the Spider was that he was a man, so it must be false]].
* SarcasticConfession: [[spoiler: In ''Republic of Thieves'', Sabetha]] asks Jean to leave her with Locke, and argues that if she had, say, twenty armed guards in the next room, she wouldn't bother asking nicely. [[spoiler:It turns out she ''does'' have twenty armed guards in the next room.]]
* ScaryShinyGlasses: Requin has a pair in ''Red Seas Under Red Skies'', but they've been [[FunctionalMagic alchemized]] so they don't just reflect light, they permanently glow orange. And they fit him, too.
* SchizoTech: The world lacks explosive weapons or combustion machinery and printing presses are a rare and expensive invention, yet ships are at least [[GoldenAgeOfPiracy 17th century]] level of sophistication, clockwork machinery and navigational instruments rival late 18th - early 19th century in complexity, "alchemy" provides ubiquitous non-combustion lighting, complex medicines and poisons on par with 20th century chemistry, medicine is at least on par with UsefulNotes/AmericanCivilWar age in ability to cure horrible battle injuries. Justified in-universe as some past ages (the Therin Throne Empire) were far more advanced and current-age people try to recover the lost knowledge.
* SelfMadeOrphan: At the end of the third book, [[spoiler: the Falconer kills his mother, Archedama Patience, by setting a massive flock of crows on her.]]
* SerialEscalation: Locke's [[HesBack thieving spree in the second book]]. In four hours he steals [[spoiler:four purses, a knife, two bottles of wine, a pewter mug, a brooch, gold pins, earrings (while they were being ''worn''), a bolt of silk, a box of sweetmeats, two loaves of bread, and the necklace of the mistress of the governor. In the governor's home. In the governor's bed. ''With the governor sleeping next to her.'']] Oh, and did we mention that he did this while half ''drunk?''
* SharkPool: In both original and kraken flavor.
* ShooOutTheClowns: [[spoiler: The Sanzas, who are series' most dedicated comic relief, die before the big climax of first book]].
* ShoutOut: Locke's first name is taken from the treasure hunter in ''FinalFantasyVI''.
* SingleMindedTwins: The Sanza twins are effectively the same person and are always on the same page as one another.
* SingleTargetSexuality: Sabetha for Locke. It's suggested that [[spoiler:it's his previous life's love for his wife transferred onto a new red-head]].
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: All the way through to cynical, then out the other side.
* SophisticatedAsHell: Right there in the title of the series, and done brilliantly throughout.
* SpanishPrisoner: The Gentleman Bastards pull variations of this on several of Camorr's nobles in the first book.
* TheSpymaster: The Spider, leader of the Duke's secret police.
* StoutStrength: Jean is always described as fat, though hard living occasionally shrinks his belly some. However, he's also quite big and quite strong. In a flashback, Locke notes that the adolescent Jean's flab hides the muscles he's been building in his new fighting classes.
* StuffedIntoTheFridge: [[spoiler:Nazca's corpse is stuffed into a barrel of horse urine and delivered to Capa Barsavi.]]
* TellMeAgain: Bug has to explain their scheme to get Don Salvara's trust at the beginning of ''Lies''. [[RunningGag It's good for his moral education.]]
* TemptingFate: Locke and Jean are about to sail into a storm, but Jean confidently asserts that experienced sailor Caldris will get them through it. [[spoiler: No sooner have the words passed his lips than Caldris staggers in and dies of a heart attack.]]
* ThievesGuild: The Right People of Camorr.
* ThirdActStupidity: The Falconer [[spoiler:realizes that "Lamora" is an obvious pseudonym, but suddenly decides to effectively bet his life on the assumption that Locke is his real first name. Locke even asks him what ever gave him that impression]].
* ThisIsReality: A scene in ''Red Seas Under Red Skies'' has Locke and Jean discussing the relative merits of romantic fiction and non-fiction.
--> '''Locke:''' But romances aren't real, and surely never were. Doesn't that take away some of the savor?\\
'''Jean:''' What an interesting choice of words. 'Not real, and never were.' Could there be any more appropriate literature for men of our profession? Why are you so averse to fiction, when we've made it our meal ticket?\\
'''Locke:''' I live in the real world, and my methods are of the real world. They are, just as you say, a profession. A practicality, not some romantic whim.
* ToAbsentFriends: A tradition of followers of the Nameless Thirteenth is to pour an extra glass for absent friends.
* ToThePain
* TooCleverByHalf:
** Locke is straight-up called this on more than one occasion.
** When Bug's first genius plan is going exactly as planned, the book describes his desperate fleeing as a lesson in what "too clever by half" actually means.
* TortureTechnician: Capa Barsavi, of course, has one.
* TraumaticHaircut: Happens to a chess piece in Salon Corbeau, just to get things warmed up.
* TricksterTwins: The Sanzas, identical twin thieves and conmen.
* TwinDesynch: In the flashback chapters of ''The Republic of Thieves'', it's revealed that the adolescent Sanzas went through a period of disharmony where they quarreled and tried to individualize themselves. It obviously didn't last.
* TwoFaced: Selendri. She was horribly alchemically burned over half her entire body in an assassination attempt on Requin.
* UnholyMatrimony: Requin and Selendri are deeply devoted to each other. Their romance has continued even after Selendri was gruesomely disfigured.
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee: We never hear how Locke and Jean intend to get past Requin's vault's allegedly unsurmountable security measures. [[spoiler: And we never hear that they weren't actually going after the vault, while their actual plan works perfectly...except that the paintings they steal turn out to be reproductions.]]
* VictoryByEndurance: Used twice in ''Lies'' where Locke has to buy time for [[BigGuy Jean]] to help him out. As a youth, he ties himself to the leader of a rival gang until Jean arrives, then as an adult he tries the same [[spoiler:to take down the Gray King, although this time he uses it as part of a fake-out]].
* WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong: Word for word in the first book.
* WhatTheHellHero: Actually pretty common in the series. Jean, Locke and Sabetha are prone to frequently dressing each other down for their poor behavior.
* WickedCultured: Pretty much everyone, depending on where you draw the "evil" line. Special credit goes to Capa Vencarlo Barsavi, who was a professor of rhetoric before becoming a crime lord, and Jaffrim Rodanov, a pirate captain and former pupil of Barsavi's, who will gladly discuss the merits of Therin playwrights forever when he meets someone else who knows about them.
* WretchedHive: Camorr, which has an evil reputation among the other cities. It's so bad that there is a "secret peace" between the nobles and the criminals. As long as you don't abuse the nobles, the police leave you alone. The living conditions for the lower classes are understandably atrocious, with the Cauldron being the worst spot.
* YouDontWantToCatchThis: Locke and Jean pretend to be what basically amounts to lepers for a little while in ''Red Seas Under Red Skies''. In ''Lies of Locke Lamorra'', he pretended to have Black Whisper (a virulent disease that only kills adults) in order to empty out a pub so he and his friends could rob it. [[spoiler:It's just too bad that the resulting panic/riot burned it down.]]
* YouNeedToGetLaid: The rest of the Gentleman Bastards to Locke, without success. He does try, but he has SingleTargetSexuality.
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