Sometimes time just gets away from us. That’s what happened this week with my reading on the next section of Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch. I swear, there are just too many good books out there tempting me and vying for my attention these days!
But I did manage to find some time to get in the latest section. Because I really don’t want to miss participating in the read-along. This week’s section covers chapters seven through ten, or as I call them “Bad things happen if you forget the cats.”
And now, onto the discussion…
1. Locke and Jean’s ability to find themselves at the center of a serious mess seems unparalleled. At this point, do you think that Stragos will get the return he expects on his investment in them?
This being a Scott Lynch novel, you had to figure everything couldn’t go smoothly for our heroes. After all, what’s interesting and fun about reading the story of the con mission that goes exactly according to plan? That said, Locke and Jean have a lot of work to do if they’re going to give Stragos the return on the investment he (Stragos) believes he should get. I have a feeling that Locke and Jean are going to somehow turn the tables on Stragos, though it will come at a high price. I keep thinking about how Lies ended–technically Locke won, but there was a big price tag associated with winning. I have a feeling things are only going to get worse before they get better here.
2. Merrain’s activities after our boys leave Windward Rock are interesting. What do you think her plans are?
I’m not quite sure what her ultimate goal is this point, beyond making a bad situation even worse for our heroes. I almost wonder if she’s some kind of rival to Locke and Jean in terms of running a con and this is her way of ensuring that her con works in the end.
3. Does anyone know why having cats aboard the ship is so important?
My first thought was it’s some kind of luck thing. Either that or keeping the vermin in line. After all, you don’t want rats spreading plague throughout the ship. I also thought it could be a way to test if the food has gone bad–if the cats won’t eat, then neither should the crew.
On a larger scale, I wonder of cats are somehow tied into a particular superstition or religious system within the novels and series larger context. Or I could be thinking too much about this…
4. The word “mutiny” creates a lot of mental pictures. Were you surprised? Why or why not?
I hear the world mutiny and I’m reminded of an old joke from a Stan Freberg record. It’s the story of Columbus coming to America and at one point someone comes to Columbus and says that the ship better find land soon as there are rumbles of mutiny. Columbus says he wants to hear it and they go over and you hear the crew saying, “Rumble, rumble, rumble! Mutiny, mutiny, mutiny!” I have to admit when I heard the word mutiny here, that routine sprang to mind.
Anyway, back to the question at hand. Am I shocked the crew mutinied? Not really. What did surprise me was how little time it took for Locke to lose control of the situation. I think he seriously overestimated how big a pass freeing the crew from prison would give him. Of course, if you’re out to sea without women and cats, I guess it’s to be expected. (And yes, I did avoid the temptation to channel my inner Kevin Smith and make a joke involving a nickname used for both cats and a certain female body part. I blame that on listening to the audio book of Smith’s new biography this week and not the fact that on some level I’ve got the sense of humor of a middle schooler….)
5. Ah, the Poison Orchid. So many surprises there, not the least of which were the captain’s children. Did you find the young children a natural part of the story?
Seems to me that having the children on board would be a dangerous proposition. If the crew decides it’s time to mutiny, they would make very useful prisoners to bargain with. Of course, that could be a reason for the captain to make sure she doesn’t get on the wrong side of her crew. Again, having read Lies and now Red Seas, I keep thinking there is more to the kids than we’re being told here. But that could just be me assuming things.
6. Jean is developing more and more as a character as we get further in to the book. Ezri makes the comment to him that “Out here, the past is a currency, Jerome. Sometimes it’s the only one we have.” I think several interesting possibilities are coming into play regarding Jean and Ezri. What about you?
I get a feeling a lot of this book is setting up a rift between Locke and Jean. Over the course of the novel, we’ve seen Jean bring Locke out of his depression, be on the receiving end of a punching or two to make a point about Locke, etc. Jean’s done a lot of the heavy lifting but Locke is the one who seems to be building the legend around himself. I have to wonder if this doesn’t all begin to weight on Jean to the point that here comes Ezri who could make him a better offer and is female and that could lead to the two having a rift and Jean “betraying” Locke. It kind of begins to make the beginning of the novel when Jean turns the crossbow on Locke all begin to make a lot more sense.
7. As we close down this week’s reading, the Thorn of Camorr is back! I love it, even with all the conflict. Several things from their Camorri background have come back up. Do you think we will see more Camorri characters?
The past coming back to haunt Locke? Yes, yes I think it can and should happen and happen soon. After all, we don’t read con game books to see it all go exactly go according to plan.