Camorr is one of the prominent Therin city-states, located on the Iron Sea south on the continent, and consists of eighty-eight thousand souls. The city’s skeleton is a network of Elderglass towers, bridges and labyrinths – remnants of a vanished race – and fleshed out by humanity with wood and stone. The Angevine River splits Camorr down the centre.
A network of canals, traversed using barges not dissimilar to gondolas, split Camorr into a series of little island-esque segments. Descriptions of the architecture, people and climate also suggest the design is Venetian inspired.
Camorr is split into districts, as shown on the map, and like all cities, Camorr has luxurious parts and impoverished parts. The latter consists of the Narrows, the Dregs, the Wooden Waste, the Snare, the Cauldron, Coalsmoke, Ashfall, and most of the docks, though it’s fair to say the destitution isn’t necessarily limited to the districts above.
The closer one gets to the prestigious Five Towers the further one gets from the poverty stricken parts of Camorr: North Corner, Coin-Kissers Row and Alcegrante are sound examples of these exclusive sections.
The Five Towers are irregular structures left behind by the Eldren, and sport numerous turrets and runways and spires of all shapes and sizes. Each tower is named and constructed from different material: Dawncatcher, four hundred feet high and silver-red in colour; Blackspear, slightly taller than Dawncatcher and entirely black save bursts of broken rainbows; Westwatch, violet and white in colour; Amberglass, whose elaborate flutings would cause the wind to make ‘eerie melodies’; and lastly, Raven’s Reach, the palace of Duke Nicovante, and the tallest of all towers. A network of Elderglass cables cobwebs the tips of these towers, carriages bearing passengers and cargo are hauled across; a convenient - if somewhat audacious - method of transport.
Coin-Kisser’s Row is said to be ‘the oldest and goldest financial district on the continent’ and its ostentatious three/four storey buildings reflect this claim. The northern half of this district lies opposite to the Fauria, a crowded island consisting primarily of ‘multi-tiered stone apartments and rooftop gardens’.
The Videnza district is a comfortable part of the city (though possibly not as much as the Alcegrante), clean and spacious and well patrolled; its shops, despite being situated within old buildings, are well kept and sport brightly coloured roofs and recognisable names of distinguished merchants not inclined to face the Shifting Market.
The Narrows is located at the tip of the bad part of the city. Forty feet beneath the outer edges of Camorr, it is a labyrinth of ‘warrens and hovels’ consisting of rows upon rows of ‘tenement housing and windowless shops’ with countless narrow alleys snaking between these structures barely wide enough to fit two men walking abreast.
The Shifting Market is a lake about half a mile in circumference, packed with hundreds of merchant barges selling their wares to civilians on breakwaters. The Shifting Revel, where observation barges are secured to the breakwaters and occupied by hundreds of Camorri wanting to see the performances, replaces the Market once a month. These performances are conducted atop sunken iron cages, and include the Teeth Show, Judicial Forfeitures and Penance Bouts.
Opposite the Shifting Market are the Alcegrante islands, home to the minor nobility of Camorr. It is a place of ‘walled gardens, elaborate water sculptures and white stone villas’ where any persons appearing as low-class are brusquely discouraged to enter. The Alcegrante is located in the Upper City.
The Mara Camorrazza (described as ‘openly dangerous’) and Twosilver Green are both open parks, the latter being safer than the other courtesy to constant patrols by yellowjackets.
The Wooden Waste, located south in Camorr, is a sheltered bay open to the sea, acting as a ship graveyard. It is also the location of Capa Barsavi’s home and headquarters, the Floating Grave, an anchored, dismasted ship sixty yards long and thirty yards wide.
The Dregs are described as ‘poverty-wracked’, the Snare ‘disreputable’, and Ashfall ‘dirty and falling apart’.
The Cauldron is the worst part of Camorr, the name possibly originating from claims that the Cauldron is an amalgamation of all the bad parts of the city. One in three of all Right People reside in the cramped, stinking streets and crumbling hovels of this dreary location. Even the yellowjackets refuse to enter the place unless in well-armed squadrons.
There are three main graveyards in Camorr: Beggar’s Barrow (where the common, lower class individuals are buried by convicts), Shades’ Hill (long since converted to the home of the Thiefmaker’s orphans) and the Hill of Whispers (where the most prestigious folk are buried).
Laws, Politics and History
Even when Camorr had once knelt to a single Throne like the rest of the Therin people, they still possessed a royal family. As far as we can discern, an Absolute Monarchy rules Camorr, with Duke Nicovante definite leader of the city.
The Duke’s Magistrates, located inside the Palace of Patience, uphold the law and are, essentially, the only judges in Camorr’s court. Below these are the yellowjackets (also known as the watchmen) and their officers, who are similar in function to our police force, and reside outside the Palace of Patience in Old Citadel alongside tax collectors. ‘Blackjackets’ is the given name for the Duke’s army. Alongside this constabulary force are the Duke’s Ghouls, a group who have survived plagues and thus possess natural immunity, and are made to work among quarantine areas and sick poeple.
A single Capa, Vencarlo Barsavi, rules the underworld of Camorr and the hundred gangs that infest its bowels. Five years prior to the beginning of The Lies Of Locke Lamora, the underworld was ruled by thirty capa, and they were constantly warring with each other and the yellowjackets. Barsavi gradually murdered his way to power, claimed undisputed reign over every gang in Camorr, and founded the Secret Peace. Anyone who becomes Barsavi’s pezon must answer to his laws or face punishment.
The punishment of broken laws in Camorr can be considered as unnecessarily harsh; thieves of all ages are hung from bridges, other convicts are chained to oars and forced to row. Other means of punishment are unusually cruel and brusque, for example, ‘anyone going in the wrong direction on a catbridge’ can be ‘shoved off by those with the right of way’. There are, of course, prisons, as well as cages and the Teeth Show.
The native, pure blood Camorri resemble our Mediterranean inhabitants; ruddy complexion, dark hair and dark eyes, Lynch describes their appearance as anything from ‘Portuguese to Italian to Greek’.
Camorr is known throughout the world to be a highly unpleasant, sadistic, downtrodden place (Locke dismisses any concerned probing about his and Jean’s safety when entering the rough city of Port Prodigal by saying ‘We’re from Camorr’, and when Locke expresses his distaste for the Amusement War in Salon Corbeau, a noble dismisses its cruelty by saying ‘Have you ever seen Camorr, by chance? Now there’s a basis for comparison that might have you thinking more soundly’) and the Camorri are thought of no better. It’s expressed that Lashani, Verrari and Karthani all consider Camorri ‘crazy’. They are obviously not a liked nation of people.
- Camorr is famous for its Eight Beautiful Arts, the name given to the highest mastery of cuisine preparation. The chefs get a tattoo on their fingers of the respective Art mastered. Examples of the Beautiful Arts are vicce enta merre, the first art, the cuisine of sea creatures; and the fifth art, which is the preparation of desserts.