Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy. Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them.
For my first Waiting on Wednesday for 2019, I will be looking at a fantasy book that has been on many people’s waiting lists since 2013, The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch. The Thorn of Emberlain is the fourth planned book in Lynch’s Gentleman Bastards series, which started with the epic 2006 release The Lies of Locke Lamora. The Gentleman Bastards series follows the adventures of a small gang of conmen, known as The Gentleman Bastards, as they attempt to steal and embezzle money from the rich and powerful in a unique and excellently crafted fantasy world. The third book in the series, The Republic of Thieves, was released back in 2013, and fantasy fans have been eager for the fourth book to be released ever since. Unfortunately, The Thorn of Emberlain has been delayed multiple times in recent years, with potential release dates announced for 2016 and 2017 falling through. As a result of these delays, The Thorn of Emberlain is now one of the most highly anticipated pieces of unreleased fantasy fiction, up there with The Doors of Stone (working title for the third book in The Kingkiller Chronicle) and The Winds of Winter (upcoming sixth book in A Song of Ice and Fire). Despite the delayed release, some details have trickled through about this book, such as the above cover, and the synopsis below.
Locke Lamora, thief, con-man, pirate, political deceiver is back, and now he must become a soldier.
A new chapter for Locke and Jean and finally the war that has been brewing in the Kingdom of the Marrows flares up and threatens to capture all in its flames.
And all the while Locke must try to deal with the disturbing rumours about his past revealed in The Republic of Thieves. Fighting a war when you don’t know the truth of right and wrong is one thing. Fighting a war when you don’t know the truth of yourself is quite another. Particularly when you’ve never been that good with a sword anyway…
The first thing I should mention about this book is, unlike the other books I have previously examined in my Waiting on Wednesday segments, I have no idea when it is going to be released. At this point in time, Goodreads and several other sites have no definitive release date included, and I cannot see any recent posts online about it coming out. However, Amazon and Book Depository currently both have late 2019 release dates (although neither site has the same release date), potentially indicating that the book may be released later this year. While I really hope that it will come out in 2019, I realise that there is a very strong possibility that I might have to wait a little longer.
Why I am so eager to get a copy of The Thorn of Emberlain? The main reason is that I really loved the first three books in the series. I first read them in 2016 when I was first getting back into fantasy after several years focusing on historical fiction, and it was one of the series that really got me back into the genre. I really enjoyed the series’s fantastic humour, brilliant twists, clever examination of the criminal element of a dark fantasy world and the inclusion of magic and elaborate alchemy in heists and embezzlements.
I loved all three of the books that Lynch has released so far. The Lies of Locke Lamora really does live up to the hype surrounding it, and is an outstanding debut from Lynch, featuring a superb story in the outstanding city setting of Camorr. The second book, Red Seas Under Red Skies is just as epic in my opinion, continuing the amazing style of the first book, while also adding in a ton of great new elements. The third book, The Republic of Thieves, is probably the weakest book out of all of them but it still retains the fun storytelling and features of the first two books, while also including a fantastic split timeline narrative. I also must commend the audiobook versions of these three books and their narration by Michael Page.
In addition to my past enjoyment of this series, what has been revealed about The Thorn of Emberlain already sounds quite promising. It sounds like the Gentleman Bastards will be dragged into a war that has been slowly brewing in the last few books of the series. Knowing the main characters of the series, you have to imagine that they will be engaging in some elaborate plot to get rich off the war, and I am looking forward to them attempting to con a rich general or warlord of some variety. It also sounds like the Gentleman Bastards will have to go undercover as soldiers, which is reminiscent of the plot of Red Seas Under Red Skies, in which the characters had to pretend to be sailors. As that was one of my favourite parts of Red Seas Under Red Skies, I am eager to see the characters undergo the transformation into soldiers, especially Locke, who has never been a particularly good fighter.
In addition, it sounds like there will be some other interesting elements in this latest book. Lynch has previously revealed in a Twitter thread from February 2018 that he will be including a homosexual character in his latest book, and he appears to very keen to provide a sensitive and positive representation of this experience in his book. I think this will be a great element to the book, and I am interested to see how Lynch’s new characters add to the story. Some of the other details revealed in this thread also sound quite interesting, as Lynch indicates he has done extensive research on horses, rivers, architecture, roads, wolves, farms, stabbing people with swords and much more. Considering the sheer amount of research that would have been required for previous books, I am really looking forward to seeing what all this work will turn into.
Overall, this book has been near the top of my personal to-read list ever since I finished The Republic of Thieves. I hope that it is released at some point soon, but even if it takes a while to finally come out, I will be waiting eagerly for it.