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:
- 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.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Locke admits the game of Human Chess in Salon Corbeau where the piece-actors are routinely beaten, sometimes to death, and subject to all kinds of misery is too evil to be practiced by anyone else and harshly punished by law even in Camorr or Tal Verrar. If something is too evil for the ruthless tyrants or mob bosses in said places, you know it crossed the Moral Event Horizon.
- Gender Is No Object - The tradition of the Twelve Gods requires at least one woman per ship, preferably an officer.
- How We Got Here - Every other chapter is a flashback to the events immediately after the first book.
- I Call It Vera - 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 / Mercy Kill - Jean must kill Ezri because she is burned so badly that she is dying in agony
- 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
- 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.
- Unholy Matrimony - Requin and Selendri.
- You Don't Want to Catch This - Locke and Jean pretend to contract Slipskin, which appears akin to leprosy.