A mostly official release date has been set for the fourth book in Scott Lynch’s critically acclaimed The Gentleman Bastard Sequence. Note the ‘mostly’ in that sentence—Lynch’s publisher, Gollancz, has posted supposedly accurate release dates before.
The first was in an interview which suggested that The Thorn of Emberlain (ToE) was in an advanced stage of editing and would be out in the fall of 2014, barely a year after the publication of the third book in the series. No one really believed this (as the gap between the second and third books was an agonizing six years), and 2014 ended without a hint of a Gentleman Bastard publication. Gollancz next stated that the book would come out in July of 2015. This seemed more plausible, and there was a release of cover art to bolster fan excitement. This date, however, also turned out to be false (which I discovered to my dismay, since the posting of this article was supposed to be timed appropriately to a July release). Despite Gollancz’s habit of tugging on fans’ heartstrings, the new release date (September 17, 2015) seems to be solid (especially since it has an actual day attached to it, rather than just a month).
I was first introduced to The Gentleman Bastard Sequence by a family member, who insisted that I would like it. I had, at the time, just finished reading Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, and was highly skeptical that any fantasy book could follow in the wake of that literary masterpiece without being a disappointment. Nevertheless, I cracked open the first book, entitled The Lies of Locke Lamora. My inner literary snob was immediately dismayed by names like ‘Thiefmaker’ and ‘One-eyed Priest’, which sounded like they had been dredged up from a mediocre D&D game. How, I thought, could this book possibly be good? However, I decided to give it a chance and read onwards.
I was only capable of independent thought a few hours later, sometime past midnight. I had devoured three-quarters of the book, and realized the error of my ways. Scott Lynch had already climbed his way into my shortlist of favourite fantasy authors, and his books have only gotten better since the first. Each one is beautifully crafted—the interweaving of the present and past storylines makes for powerful characterization and moments of symmetry that leave one, as a writer, sighing in despair for not being as good at their craft as Scott Lynch.
Here are a few tidbits about what we can expect in The Thorn of Emberlain (note: Beware of small spoilers if you haven’t yet read the preceding book, The Republic of Thieves).
There is no reason to suspect that Lynch will deviate from his twinned storyline pattern (no complaints here!) in this book.
When a fan asked Lynch if Locke’s on-again off-again love interest Sabetha would be making a reappearance later in the series, Lynch responded with “Hell, yes!”. It’s thus possible that we could see Sabetha in ToE. However, we will likely only see her in the flashback timeline, as she and Locke parted in The Republic of Thieves under less than ideal circumstances.
In ToE, protagonists Locke and Jean will explore the Kingdom of the Seven Marrows (new territory), specifically the canton of Emberlain, which has declared its independence from the rest of the kingdom amid a nasty civil war. Locke and Jean are apparently going to be playing a confidence game involving a fictional mercenary company. Given how fantastically wrong their plans often go, and Locke’s lack of fighting ability, this should be spectacularly entertaining.
If you’ve read this piece, I assume you’d be interested in reading the next book in the series…
Due to an agreement with Lynch’s publishing house (and, if I may be permitted a small immodesty, my own critical reputation) I have been given a number of advanced reading copies of the upcoming fourth book in the series to distribute as I please to reviewers. Given how highly The Thorn of Emberlain is anticipated, I should be able to turn quite a profit.
Since you seem to be such an avid fan, I would love to give you one. There’s only one slight problem—because of a hiccup in international copyright laws, Scott’s publisher cannot ship me the books, which are currently languishing in a Wisconsin warehouse. Being a relatively impoverished student, I don’t have the money for airfare—but, if you’re interested, I have a proposition that could be of mutual benefit to both of us. If you help me get to New Richmond to pick up the books, I’ll give you a free copy, reimburse you, and give you 25% of the proceeds from my salesmanship.
What do you say?
If, by this point and after reading these books, you’re not suspicious and ready to refuse me politely but firmly, you should also consider helping out a friend of mine. Upstanding fellow—a prince in a spot of political trouble…
-Contributed by Chris Boccia