- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1136 KB
- Print Length: 389 pages
- Publisher: HarperVoyager (4 August 2011)
- Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers (AU)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005918WU0
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 1,666 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #10,241 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
HarperCollins Publishers (AU)
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Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 389 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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‘Dark and relentless, Prince of Thorns will pull you under and drown you in story. A two in the morning page turner. Jaw-dropping’
‘This is a lean, cold knife-thrust of a novel, a revenge fantasy anchored on the compelling voice and savage purpose of its titular Prince. There is never a safe moment in Lawrence’s debut’
Robert Redick, author of The Red-Wolf Conspiracy
'Prince of Thorns got hold of me from page one and didn’t let go until I finished it on my second reading session on the second day. There’s humour here, gut-wrenching realism, high adventure, something that might be magic in the story, and certainly is in the telling of it. It was almost as if the shade of David Gemmell had returned, somewhat nastier for the experience. Thoroughly recommended. Thanks Mr Lawrence'
'Prince of Thorns is one of this year’s most anticipated fantasy debuts; and now I know why! It's incredible'
About the Author
Mark Lawrence is married with four children, one of whom is severely disabled. His day job is as a research scientist focused on various rather intractable problems in the field of artificial intelligence. He has held secret level clearance with both US and UK governments. At one point he was qualified to say 'this isn't rocket science … oh wait, it actually is'.
Between work and caring for his disabled child, Mark spends his time writing, playing computer games, tending an allotment, brewing beer, and avoiding DIY.
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Rape is just a normal part of this world, and you've got to hurry up and finish in time to lock the burn door before the fire gets to you (no, your rape victim stays in the barn).
This book has major gender issues. Not worth the gross feeling the morning after.
I'd recommend this book for 16+ yo readers because it is very gory.
I particularly liked the writer's style and quality of writing - he reads as someone who has actually worked to hone his craft. The author uses his skills to make his story a captivating and engaging experience. There are too many books these days with incorrect grammar and poor sentence construction - this author is not one of them.
In this novel in particular Jorg is basically an anti-hero but I found myself liking him more for it. This phenomenon continues as the book goes on and really takes root when you start to read the next 2 books in the series. There are hints of secrets and idea that aren't fully explored unless you keep reading and continue into the next 2 books so don't expect to have all the answers at the end of this book.
I will admit that it was difficult to remember all of the characters. It seemed to me that a lot of minor characters were introduced very quickly and seeing as they are all cut from a similar cloth it made it that bit more difficult to remember although I found that it did not detract from the experience much at all.
The character development in this book is quite good and the author manages to make the characters, Jorg in particular, grow in such a way that you may not notice it at first which I found to be quite interesting.
Overall this was a very good read and well worth the price.
Top international reviews
I was expecting grimdark. I was expecting a book that would put me through the emotional wringer. I was expecting blood and torture dripping from every page. I was expecting to have to sleep with the light on. This is a book I've been putting off reading for years because I thought it was the kind of book you had to creep up on, making sure that you had the psychological and emotional strength at hand to cope with an onslaught of pain, terror, and atrocity.
What I got was...
...kind of cute.
The rape and pillage and torture I was expecting nearly all happens off-page, which reduces the shock value quite considerably. Jorg is just a little bit too successful, as well - a few reverses would have heightened the suspense somewhat.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. It was a nice, fun read, and a lot better than many. I liked young Jorg (although a certain revelation towards the end that is supposed to explain his behaviour at the beginning had me rolling my eyes a bit), and it was a pleasant change to read about a young protagonist who is intelligent, driven, and ruthless. It reminded me a lot of Tamora Pierce's The Song of the Lioness Quartet - although the latter has a lot less burning of peasant villages. I suppose the similarity is mostly that the protagonists of both are young people whom who can actually imagine succeeding in their goals.
The setting is quite interesting - a post-apocalyptic Europe - and I have some curiosity regarding what Lawrence will do with it next. I'm not a post-apocalypse-fiction reader in general, and this aspect had rather put me off - but it turned out to slip in rather nicely, and I found that it added to the story rather than taking away.
Essentially, if the prospect of having to read your way through graphic descriptions of rape and torture is putting you off - don't worry. Get stuck in and enjoy.
Will I read the rest of the series? Yes, probably. Maybe not immediately - it didn't quite grab me that hard - but Jorg is an interesting and likeable protagonist, and I'll enjoy seeing what he does next.
This is the first in a trilogy (linked, I understand to a critically aclaimed later trilogy that I've not reached yet). So it has alot of work to draw the world and work up the protagonist: Prince Jorg (or brother Jorg) who we 1st meet in trauma aged only 10. He is 14 through most of the story of how he, so young, comes into his power. There is the lack of doubt or hesitation that typified a psychopath. There is so much focus on that, there must have been a risk of it feeling bleak. However the intelligence and depth put into the character and his 'companions' and tutors, is too engaging and interesting. The book quickly builds layers, challenges and scenarios that illustrate how our 'hero' thinks. The narrative switches between early and later moments, switching from a damaged prodigy aged 10, to a terrifying brigand chief of 14. The depth and variety to the voice of his characters is one of the author's talents and engages the interest and if not sympathy (for such a psycho!) at least empathy.
The detail in even minor parts' characters make this a richly adorned journey into ruthless war. The renaissance world building is good and it's credibility and detail is powerfully vivid. If there are hints of brigand stereotypes they turn out to be hide clever small things that turn out to be important at a second glance.
(1 of 3 in Series)
I finished my reread of Prince of Thorns a few days ago - and I loved it just as much as the first time I read it, about 8 years ago, and started my love affair with Marks writing. Why on earth have I left it so long to revisit this series!?
"There’s something brittle in me that will break before it bends."
Jorg Ancrath is an antihero. I remember Jorg not being a nice guy, but I forgot just how bad. He may be the hero of our story, but you wouldn't know it if you ever crossed him, and he's only 13 when we first meet him. Don't let that lull you into a false sense of security though, there's no end to the levels of depravity he will go to, and where his ambition will take him in his quest to be King by 15.
"Memories are dangerous things. You turn them over and over, until you know every touch and corner, but still you'll find an edge to cut you."
Over the book we see how Jorg has grown to become what he has, we delve into his tragic past and his family history. We also see how the world is landscaped, merging fantasy with science - a concept I never knew I loved until this series.
Don't be put off by my headline, the story is, on the whole very well written and worth the read. The characters are well rounded and quite believable. The main character is no angel but he does have a moral compass and you do grow to respect him as the books progresses, even if not like, perhaps?
Don't be worried about the levels of violence, yes it is there but not in graphic detail and leaves you to imagine as much or as little as you like. There are some shocks but then that's what I think makes the story that much more realistic - not everything is pink fluffy clouds and unicorns, life can be tough and sometimes you have to show it.
But to the elephant in the room and that ending! It's almost like the author just didn't know how to complete the story and gave up - so unsatisfying and by far its weakest point. The third book was building, pun intended, into a new level incorporating the past and the future but it just fizzled out into a damp squib and didn't really conclude. Perhaps I missed something and should read it again but I've not had to do that in any previous book.
So in conclusion, I was left disapointed. It started well, built strongly with interesting potential that unfortunately it just didn't live up to. Give it a go, may be if others feel the same way it might tempt the author to re-think how they ended this trilogy and maybe give them the inspiration to write the ending it richly deserved?
The first half of the book is centred around building the character of Jorg. It becomes tedious after a while, every person he meets becomes part of his psychopathic, murderous visions. The other characters are always two dimensional, all the way through the book, they're never really built upon. The endless back and forth in time is a drag at first, but after a while it adds to the present time of the storyline. I almost stopped reading it after a few chapters, I was tired of the main character gloating and fantasising about killing, he's only a teenager.
After persevering and reaching halfway, the book gets more interesting.There's a few twists and turns that are hinted at through the book. The ending has a good build up ( most of the book actually ) and doesn't disappoint, looking forward to reading the next in the series.
This is the story of Jorg who has suffered a great deal in his past and when we meet him he is travelling in the wilds with a band of men who all respect him and look to him for leadership, although he is their junior by many, many years. The men he travels with are hard, tough men who have lived a long time by destroying their enemies before they could be destroyed and by deciding their own fates before it was decided for them. They are dark, grisly and nasty, but although they have very few redeeming qualities, they fit in nicely with Jorg who is the most evil among them by far.
Jorg is a harsh leader, never one to shy away from discipline, rather he enjoys the hurt and pain he can cause people and he is twisted in his ideas of good and evil. He sees what is right, and chooses the path the furthest from that. He is someone who is feared all across the land, he's known as a the Mad Prince...because he is a Prince, but he ran away when he was just young, in search of vengence and justice and revenge for something truly disturbing that made him how he is today.
The story is told through two parallel storylines, one is present day where Jorg is travelling with his brothers and pillaging villages and searching for revenge, and the other is set 4 years earlier, before he left his home to go on the road with a bandit group. The second storyline fills us in about what it was that drove jorg to become what he is today, and I enjoyed both storylines equally.
I would certainly say that besides Jorg none of the other characters by the Nuban and Makin really made an impression on me. The Nuban seems to be one of the few characters who is truly not as bad as he seems and had a bit of a conscience which Jorg looked up to and respected, whilst Makin was the Captain of the King's Guard before he chose to follow Jorg instead. Bothe of them feature heavily in the story, so I remember them more, but the other brothers are also described here and there and they are all pretty gruesome.
This story is a very fast paced one and is mostly driven along by the voice of Jorg telling you what he is thinking and wishing to do to people. It's not one for the faint hearted as they are ruthless criminals, but it is a very fun and fast paced read so I would recommend it if you like those qualities. I will be continuing with the series in the future and I look forward to seeing what becomes of Jorg after this roller coaster of a tale!
I was recommended this series of three books by a friend, knowing that I enjoyed fantasy novels, so I promptly purchased them, but, having read the first (this) one only so far, I am having mixed feelings. It is written from the point of view of the main character, Jorg, who is essentially a bit of a psychopath, being a 14 year old prince originally, but who has abandoned that life to be part of, or lead, a band of bandit brothers whose main activities appear to being killing people for the sake of it, or for fun, or just to rob them (it's not quite that simple but I don't want to spoil it).
So the author seems to go a bit overboard with the violence for the first half, thinking of many ways to show just how violent Jorg is (and perhaps demonstrate the imagination of the author), but that seems to have been done for effect really, is a bit over the top, and much of it is unnecessary in my opinion - I get it, he's a psycho!
Some of the descriptions of where they are and the space they occupy is virtually non-existent with very little world building - not a patch on the likes of Joe Abercrombie and John Gwynne, which is a real shame as I think that visualizing the fantasy worlds of mountains, ice, fire and wild lands is part of the attraction of the genre.
The storyline is a bit thin too (oops, he appears to have killed someone else in some over the top violent way again) but I get the feeling that this really is a prologue to the main events of the following two books.
Also, significant events that happen seem to get only a sentence to say matter-of-factly that they happened rather than being described as you would get in any other book (it's a bit like Frodo saying "so I went to destroy the one ring, and I did" without the three books of the Lord of the Rings to describe it).
Having said that I quite liked the 'damaged' Jorg character in a lot of ways and once I finished this I picked up the second in the trilogy the same day to start reading it as I wanted to find out what was going to happen next, so it has obviously got me interested in the story in a way I hadn't realised, and after only two or three chapters of reading it seems better written and has a more interesting plot already, so fingers crossed!
The story itself is a little strange at times (still not sure about what Gorgoth looks like after 3 books, all I know is he has 3 fingers...), but it works, Jorg isn't an entirely likable character, very brash, offensive and some of the dialogue leaves a little to be desired. But on the whole, I would say read this book and forsake the rest as they're more of this sort of vein, but with an added spice of obsurdity.
The book follows the story of the boy-prince Jorg Ancrath and his ragged band of companions as he tries to right wrongs and gain what is rightfully his. From being a priveleged royal child, raised by a loving mother, Jorg has become the Prince of Thorns, a charming but immoral boy leading a grim band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities.
The world is in chaos: violence is rife, nightmares are everywhere. Jorg has the ability to master the living and the dead, but there is still one thing that puts a chill in him. Returning to his father's castle, Jorg must confront horrors from his childhood and carve himself a future with all hands turned against him, and some powerful minds too.
It's a brilliant book, taking the concept of anti-hero to a whole new level. It's compelling, mysterious and addicitve - everything you could possibly want from a book. I can't wait to get my hands on the second novel in the series in the near future to learn more of Jorg's tale. I can't recommend it highly enough.
It is clear from the start that Jorg and the brothers are not nice people. They roam the land looting and burning more or less everything and everybody they come across - and Jorg, although the leader, is only 13.
Please don't let this put you off because the differences between Jorg and many other fantasy heroes is what makes this a refreshingly different story (although it probably strikes as similar to Game of Thrones - can't say for sure as I haven't read GoT).
Early on in the story Jorg decides (or is it decided for him?) that he will turn for home and claim his birthright as the son of the king. We learn through flashbacks how Jorg came to be where he is, and these flashbacks really and meat to the bones of what is already a meaty story.
The world of the 100 Kingdoms is our world way into the future after what seems like a massive nuclear event. There are many hints at this, most intended (Jorg reads the likes of Plato, Euclid, Nietzsche and Sun Tzu) and some maybe not so ("Hangings, beheadings, impalements - oh my" - reminiscent of "Lions and tigers and bears - oh my" from The Wizard of Oz, but of all things, would The Wizard of Oz still be remembered several thousand years in the future?). The church is still around, much as you would expect in a medievil setting with 'Dear Jesu' an oft spoken phrase and references to Ave Maria, David and Goliath, Gog and Magog etc.
They also still read and quote Shakespeare in both natural (Is this a dagger I see before me) and bastardized (Now is the winter of our Hundred War made fearsome summer by this prodigal son) forms.
The story has everything you could want from modern fantasy - heroics, quests, betrayal, all set in a well realised land and with characters you will come to enjoy (for all their foibles). It is followed by two more books (King of Thorns - out now and Emperor of Thorns - out August 2013) and if they are half as good as this one I shall be a very happy reader.
The story starts with a brutal and devastating scene, just after a massacre of a town by Jorg and his small band of debauched individuals. It must be said that this book is not for the faint hearted. However, I found Mark Lawrence so eloquent that even when describing scenes of carnage he does so in a poetic way.
“Ravens! Always the ravens. They settled in the gables of the church even before the injured became the dead. Even before Rike had finished taking fingers from hands, and rings from fingers. I leaned back against the gallows post and nodded to the birds, a dozen of them in a black line, wise-eyed and watching.
The town-square ran red. Blood in the gutters, bloom on the flagstones, blood in the fountain. The corpses posed as corpses do. Some comical, reaching for the sky with missing fingers, some peaceful, coiled about their wounds. Flies rose above the wounded as they struggled. This way and that, some blind, some sly, all betrayed by their buzzing entourage.
“Water! Water!” It’s always water with the dying. Strange, it’s killing that gives me thirst.”
Set in a medieval type setting where society is fractured, law and order is confined to within castle gates and kingdoms wage war against one another, themes of torture, violence and even rape are prevalent. Yet, after reading numerous reviews before committing to the read I expected a lot more debauchery to a point where I would become utterly disgusted and unable to continue with the book, this was not the case and in essence it added to the overall situation and setting.
Throughout the story it alternates between past and present, it’s one of those books you can’t put down because of the engrossing storylines. The past depicts Jorg’s encounter with the men of Count Renar and the murder of his mother and younger brother William, it tells us of his teachings and his time with his tutor. It also explains the origins of his band of men. Although each character is fascinating, not much is told of their background, this is probably because it is through the mind of a 14 year old psychopath who cares little for these things. There’s a lot of action throughout, Prince Jorg has many obstacles in his way in his quest for vengeance. Necromancers, witches, mutants and those in his own company threaten to halt his journey to the throne and Prince Jorg will do anything, and I mean anything to dispatch of these threats.
A beautifully written and brilliantly crafted story of one boy’s indomitable quest for vengeance, a unique fantasy world which as you delve deeper reveals more of its history that also grabs the attention of the reader even more. I have to admit that my reviewing schedule was completely put on hold due to this book and the rest of the series, I have read all three books and would love to divulge the secrets and tell how Jorgs tale ends but that wouldn’t be fair. All I can say is that it has become one of my all-time favourite book series’ and I cannot wait to read more of Mark Lawrence’s work.
He murders and rapes within the first at least 2 chapters of the book. He is not a good person, however I like it.
The setting is quite interesting it seems to be a classic fantasy story but set in a future after a huge apocalypse- well from what I can deduce from the text.
The story is dark and compelling, there is a lot of interesting characters and there seems to be an over arching plot with magicians of some sort.
The main plot however is Prince Jorg's attempt of revenge on his Uncle after he murdered both his brother and mother brutally while he suffered and watched. There's also an element of revenge against his father as well who seemed not to have grieved properly for them.
He also attempts to make it back into the Royal Courts after he left- really he ran away- which again brings in questionable motives and results
I like the risks the author has taken with choosing a questionable main character- it seems much more realistic what this guy does. He's not very honourable and he acknowledges that and there are quite a lot of people from his past and his current life who do not like what he's become.
The side characters are interesting with some given more attention than others, I admit there are some I would have liked to have seen developed a little more however for the most part we can understand what their motives are and their characters.
All I can say is if you don't like the idea of the main hero been very very questionable in terms of character I would probably avoid. However if want to try something new where we don't have your stereotypical good guy who thinks he's bad then try it out.