Literature / Red Seas Under Red Skies

The second of seven novels in The Gentleman Bastard Sequence, by Scott Lynch. First published in 2007.

In the aftermath of the Falconer's crippling, Locke and Jean head to Tal Verrar for another, even bigger, con. They lie and cheat their way through a gambling house no thief has ever survived an attempt to rob, and in which cheating has a death sentence. They are deterred, however, by someone looking for their expertise - they are coerced into masquerade as pirates in the Sea of Brass. Meanwhile, they are being pursued by the last people any sane person would ever offend... the ruthless Bondsmagi of Karthain.

This book contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Ezri, Zamira, Merrain and Selendri.
  • Action Mom: Zamira
  • Alliterative Name: Locke Lamora
  • An Axe to Grind: The Wicked Sisters.
  • Big Bad Friend: Jean pretends that he becomes this in the prologue.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Though both Jean and Locke are poisoned, Locke tricks Jean into taking the antidote (they only have enough for one person), and Jean has lost the woman he loved.
  • Brains and Brawn: Zig-zagged. Jean is clearly the brawn, but also has the better book education of the two and is shown to plan and execute perfectly workable heists of his own. However, he lacks Locke's genius when it comes to planning, and is not as good at thinking on his feet when the plan deteriorates.
  • Carrying the Antidote: Though he only carried enough for one person.
  • Disappeared Dad: Paolo and Cosetta Drakasha's father is never so much as mentioned in passing.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Locke admits that even Wretched Hives like Camorr or Tal Verrar would not allow the game of Human Chess in Salon Corbeau, where the piece-actors are routinely beaten, sometimes to death.
  • Gender Is No Object: As with other Gentleman Bastard books, women are just as likely to be found in traditionally masculine roles like fighting and ship captaining. In fact, the tradition of the Twelve Gods requires at least one woman per ship, preferably an officer.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Requin achieves this effect by wearing eyeglasses that glow.
  • How We Got Here: Every other chapter is a flashback to the events immediately after the first book.
  • I Call It "Vera": Jean's still got the Wicked Sisters
  • In Medias Res: Red Seas starts with Locke and Jean already deep into their plan to cheat their way up into Requin's office.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: Jean must kill Ezri because she is burned so badly that she is dying in agony
  • Mama Bear: Zamira. Say so much as an unkind word to her children and you will not live to regret it.
  • Mercy Kill: When Ezri is horrifically burned, Jean puts her out of her misery.
  • The Nondescript: Locke is frequently described as skinnier than normal, but he's otherwise very nondescript.
  • Out-Gambitted: The Priori suffer this when they attempt to kill Locke after he helped get rid of Stragos
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: The sacking of Salon Corbeau definitely qualifies.
  • Serial Escalation: Locke's steals 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: she was wearing it at the time. "In the governor's manor.... In the governor's bed.... With the governor sleeping next to her.". In four hours. While he was half-drunk.
  • Tempting Fate: While pretending to be pirate captain, Locke and Jean sailing into a storm. Jean confidently asserts that Caldris, and experienced sailor and the only one on the ship who knows that they're faking, will be able to handle it. And then Caldris staggers in and dies of a heart attack.
  • Two-Faced: Selendri has terrible burn scars down one side of her face and body.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Requin is described as looking like a puppet put together by a particularly incompetent puppeteer. Selendri was drop-dead gorgeous before a botched hit on Requin left her severely scarred. Their relationship began well before the hit took place, and the two are completely and utterly devoted to each other.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Requin and Selendri are quite committed to each other after all these years and mutilations.
  • You Don't Want to Catch This: Locke and Jean pretend to contract Slipskin, which appears akin to leprosy.