The Gentleman Bastards and the crew of the Red Messenger have become Poison Orchids, survived the perils of the Parlour Passage and made quite the impression on Port Prodigal. But can Locke persuade Drakasha and the pirate captains that it’s in their interests to fly the flag openly against Tal Verrar and risk the wrath of the Archon’s fleets?

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?

Locke and Jean have concocted an intricate plan to get the better of Requin, ruthless owner of the Sinspire and head of the Verrari underworld. But Locke is yet to win his trust – or that of his scarred and suspicious lover, Selendri – when the Archon sets the Gentleman Bastards the false-facing challenge of a lifetime: can the thieves become pirates and start a war?

The plot thickens: we get hints of the Gentleman Bastards’ deep-laid plans for the Sinspire, but this week Locke and Jean are dodging repeated attempts on their lives and dancing to the tune of the Archon. Father Chains’ exceptionally broad education may help them dodge the assassins’ blades, but it did precious little to prepare them for life at sea…

All aboard! Our first week’s sailing brings us to Tal Verrar, an island city dominated by towering Eldren remains and ruthless men in unofficial positions of unmitigated power. It’s been two years, but Bondsmagi have long memories – and Jean and Locke are about to be reminded what that awkward spot between the rock and the hard place looks like…

Ever wanted to be a pirate? Long hours, hard work, certain peril, possibilities of swashbuckling and seasickness. Don’t forget to bring a kitten. It’s not Locke Lamora’s idea of a career move, but after a promising start the Gentleman Bastards find themselves out of their depth in Tal Verrar. Can Locke and Jean outwit the Archon, the Bondsmagi, the master of the Sinspire and all the pirates on the Sea of Brass?