Locke and Jean have been thrown in the deep end – literally. Afloat on the Sea of Brass with a malnourished crew recently rescued from the Archon’s prisons, they soon have cause to remember why they told Stragos this was a crazy idea. Storm-tossed, thrown overboard, and captured by pirates, can they persuade the fearsome Zamira Drakasha to keep them alive?

Sarah from The Illustrated Page is our host this week:

1) Locke risked his entire role as Ravelle by giving the dead sailors the blessing of the Thirteenth. How much of his conscience do you think is tied up in his priesthood?

Much of Locke’s conscience in Red Seas seems to come back to his identity as a priest, but it’s Jean who points out that pirates are thieves. And Locke isn’t too happy about it. To be fair, it’s an inconvenient truth, and I suspect he’ll come around – much as he ensured poor old Benjavier got a purse to see him set up outside Camorr, I think (in the end) both his soft heart and his priestly conscience will have a thing or two to say about sacrificing pirates to Stragos’s plans.

 

2) Stragos’s plan to set Locke up as a pirate captain has gone disastrously wrong. Do you think there’s any chance of Locke getting the plan back on track?

Hey, it’s Locke Lamora. The Thorn of Camorr. If there’s one thing he’s good at, it’s improvisation. I loved his assault on the Jeremite Redeemers – both from a ‘this is what Locke does when his back’s against the wall’ insanity point of view (much like his attack on the Grey King), and for sheer swashbuckling brilliance. Riding a barrel into the hold and squashing a religious berserker? It makes me certain he’s not out of tricks yet.

 

3) What do you think of the Poison Orchid? Any opinions on Ezri Delmastro or Zamira Drakasha? Have they been all that you’ve expected of pirates?
I adore Ezri and Zamira. Competence! Ruthlessness! Attention to detail! I am all over it. The fact that Zamira is a 40-something with two kids and Ezri has a soft spot for romance novels just make it better – I never had any problem with disbelief, and I applaud Scott Lynch’s response to the killjoys whose limited imaginations couldn’t handle it. I’ve heard of Anne Bonny, Jacquotte Delahaye and Grainne O’Malley even if they haven’t (and that’s before you look at the China Seas, where a number of lady pirates commanded fleets in the 19th and 20th century).

So HELL YES good pirates. I may have misspent days pretending to be a pirate (with a bunch of like-minded nutters), and if there’s one thing I learnt (other than that wearing a tricorn gives me a headache) it’s that every crew is unique and shaped by its captain. I’m glad I sailed with swashbuckling pirates with hearts of gold rather than the terrifying crew without a moral compass. And I’m pretty sure we’ll see some darker shades of pirate in the Ghostwinds.

 

4) The ending of this section has a rift growing between Locke and Jean. Any ideas as to the cause and to the end result?

The bromance has hit rough seas. After Locke’s breakdown, they had to work hard to trust one another again – and I think this is the first time Jean has questioned Locke’s (moral) authority as a priest and as his garrista. Worse, Jean is right.  

But Locke is too busy being outraged and chooses to make it personal. It may start with a bruised ego, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say Locke’s jealous and insecure too. Making it about Ezri is an easy blow, but Locke doesn’t recognise that Jean appears to have a weakness for community. Jean took up with the Brass Coves – not just extorting them, but training them – and now he wants to become a pirate. I don’t think it’s just Ezri: there’s a pattern here.

It’s quite a tiff – they both have tempers, and they’ve learnt to be mean to one another. I’m pretty sure they’ll kiss and make up though.

 

5) Finally, any further thoughts on who Merrain is working for?

ARGH I WISH I KNEW. My gut instinct is to try and make her be an agent of the Priori or the Artificers and playing a really deep game, but I’m not convinced that makes any sense at all. So my best guess is that she’s an agent for one of the kingdoms of the Marrows – a foreign power who wouldn’t be keen to see the power of Tal Verrar grow unchecked. Oh. Wait. Or the Spider?

I am being really good and not googling this. And it’s driving me mad.

 

Take a tour of our responses to this third week:

 

Discussion schedule: We’ll be reading roughly 3 chapters per week:

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