2020 was truly the year of the TV series. With most of us stuck indoors all day, every day, turning towards the television for a bit of escapism was an obvious solution. Throughout the year, series like Tiger King, The Queen’s Gambit and Bridgerton captured our collective consciousness and sent social media into frenzied chatter. The latter two in particular smashed Netflix viewership records in quick succession, each reaching over 60m households in their first 28 days on the streaming platform.
Now, Netflix has kicked off 2021 with another record-breaking show that’s projected to reach over 70m households in its first 28 days of release. What is this smash hit, you ask? Let us introduce you to Lupin: a stylish, high-octane drama set in Paris, inspired by Maurice Leblanc’s quintessential gentleman thief, Arsène Lupin.
The original stories were written in the early 20th century but rather than directly adapting them, the series uses the books as inspiration for its protagonist, Assane Diop. Seeking revenge for the untimely death of his father, Diop turns to Leblanc’s Arsène Lupin stories as a manual for his own escapades. If you’ve already binged all five episodes and want more of the same, turn to these books next.
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (2006)
Set in a fantasy version of Venice during the late medieval period, The Lies of Locke Lamora follows a gang of con artists who call themselves the ‘Gentleman Bastards’ and their leader, Locke Lamora.
Relying on wit and charm rather than physical prowess, Lamora and the rest of the crew enjoy stealing from the rich and revelling in the spoils but unbeknownst to them, a mysterious adversary is slowly taking over the criminal underworld and threatening their place within it. If you’re after japes featuring elaborate disguises, cunning heists and a band of gentleman thieves, this is it.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (2015)
In Ketterdam, a city known for being an international trade hub, one can get hold of anything as long as they’re willing to pay the price. No one knows this better than young criminal mastermind Kaz “Dirtyhands” Brekker, and he’s just been given the opportunity to become richer than he could ever have imagined. The only catch: he’s going to have to pull off an impossible heist first.
Knowing he can’t do it alone, Kez gathers a motley crew of talented outcasts in the hope they’ll be able to do it together. Set in a world that’s loosely inspired by 19th century Europe, Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows, offers a fantastical twist on the classic heist story.