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Mark Lawrence

Mark LawrenceMark 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. Find out more at Mark Lawrence’s website. Read interviews with Mark Lawrence at Civilian Reader, Fantasy Faction, and Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist.

Click here for more stories by Mark Lawrence.

The Broken Empire

The Broken Empire — (2011-2015) Publisher: A stunning fantasy debut from a major new talent! When he was nine, he watched his mother and brother killed before him. By the time he was thirteen, he was the leader of a band of bloodthirsty thugs. By fifteen, he intends to be king… It’s time for Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath to return to the castle he turned his back on, to take what’s rightfully his. Since the day he was hung on the thorns of a briar patch and forced to watch Count Renar’s men slaughter his mother and young brother, Jorg has been driven to vent his rage. Life and death are no more than a game to him — and he has nothing left to lose. But treachery awaits him in his father’s castle. Treachery and dark magic. No matter how fierce, can the will of one young man conquer enemies with power beyond his imagining?

fantasy book reviews Mark Lawrence The Broken Empire 1. Prince of ThornsMark Lawrence The Broken Empire 2. King of ThornsMark Lawrence Emperor of Thorns

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The Red Queen’s War — (2014-2016) Publisher: The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire dread her like no other. For all her reign, she has fought the long war, contested in secret, against the powers that stand behind nations, for higher stakes than land or gold. Her greatest weapon is The Silent Sister — unseen by most and unspoken of by all. The Red Queen’s grandson, Prince Jalan Kendeth — drinker, gambler, seducer of women — is one who can see The Silent Sister. Tenth in line for the throne and content with his role as a minor royal, he pretends that the hideous crone is not there. But war is coming. Witnesses claim an undead army is on the march, and the Red Queen has called on her family to defend the realm. Jal thinks it’s all a rumor — nothing that will affect him — but he is wrong. After escaping a death trap set by the Silent Sister, Jal finds his fate magically intertwined with a fierce Norse warrior. As the two undertake a journey across the Empire to undo the spell, encountering grave dangers, willing women, and an upstart prince named Jorg Ancrath along the way, Jalan gradually catches a glimmer of the truth: he and the Norseman are but pieces in a game, part of a series of moves in the long war — and the Red Queen controls the board.

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Prince of Thorns: Sarcastic, action-packed, and economical

Readers’ average rating:

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

CLASSIFICATION: Prince of Thorns is R-rated epic fantasy that combines Robert E. Howard/Glen Cook-like sword-and-sorcery action with George R. R. Martin-inspired court intrigue and a revenge-driven plot that would make Joe Abercrombie proud. Because of a young protagonist whose accomplishments defy his age and abilities, and a fantasy world that seems to be a different version of Earth, I was also reminded of Paul Hoffman’s The Left Hand of God Read More

King of Thorns: Vulgar, mean, harsh, fascinating

Readers’ average rating:

King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

When I find myself laughing on a regular basis while reading a book that is usually a really good sign that I am enjoying it! King of Thorns, the follow up to Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence, had me laughing — a lot! King of Thorns is not a fun and games fantasy romp by any means, but the humor just made a good book even better.

Honorious Jorg Ancraft is tired of being manipulated and told what he can and can’t do. In his world there are a number of shadowy powerful competitors for control who are manipulating events and people through magic and other unsavory means. They are willing to do some terrible things to achieve their ends. Jorg’s family has been slaughtered, his friends have been hurt, and his life has been threatened repeatedly. This has given him boundless motivation to control his fate, no matter the price... Read More

Emperor of Thorns: The ideal ending to an excellent trilogy

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Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

King Jorg, at the ripe ol’ age of 20, rules over seven nations, but that’s not enough — it’s never enough. He’s now ready to make his bid for emperor of the Broken Empire which has been vacant for many generations. This is a position that is technically won by vote, but how one goes about getting those votes is the trick. Also Jorg hasn’t yet accomplished his life-goal; bloody vengeance against his father. All Jorg’s surviving enemies continue to dog his trail but now Jorg has a chink in his armor; his queen and unborn child.

What can I say about the THE BROKEN EMPIRE trilogy — note the word” trilogy”— to describe its total and complete awesomeness? Everything about it is perfect. Each book is a contained story while at the same time each is still a part of a bigger story. The titles themselves, Prince of Thorns, Kin... Read More

Prince of Fools: A slick, well-crafted buddy adventure fantasy

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Reposting to include Tim's new review.

Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence

Prince Jalan Kendeth is the black sheep of the family. A self-confessed untrustworthy scoundrel and coward who has taken every advantage of the life of luxury that comes with being royalty, he is perfectly content with his life as it is and has no plans to change or inclination for greater things. However, when he crosses paths with a courageous Viking named Snorri, Jal discovers that he may have been destined to stand against an undead evil. Snorri is returning north to rescue his family and, despite his unwillingness, Jal is bound by mystic forces to accompany him.

For those (like me) who are already die-hard Mark Lawrence fans, Prince of Fools, the first book in the RED QUEEN'S WAR series, is just what we expected — pure awesomeness and then some. But for those of... Read More

The Liar’s Key: A fun second novel

Readers’ average rating: 

The Liar’s Key
by Mark Lawrence

For better or for worse, The Liar’s Key (2015) — the second novel in Mark Lawrence’s RED QUEEN’S WAR series — is in large part just a second helping of the first book. Readers who enjoyed Prince of Fools will probably find a lot to enjoy this time around as well. Those who might be reading this review in the hopes that I’ll tell them that this one is so much better will probably be disappointed.

Not to say that The Liar’s Key is a bad book by any means. Indeed, it’s rather a good one, filled with the same charm and wit as its predecessor. Jal and Snorri remain engaging leads... Read More

Magazine Monday: Grimdark Magazine, Issue 1

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Grimdark Magazine seeks to fill a gap in the niche market for those who enjoy “grim stories told in a dark world by morally ambiguous protagonists,” according to the editorial in the first quarterly issue. The first issue is promising, if somewhat opaque to one who is not already immersed in this relatively new subgenre.

The first story is “Shadow Hunter: A Shadows of the Apt Story” by Adrian Tchaikovsky, set in his universe in which humanoids take on the characteristics of insects. The Wasp-kinden, for example, are described as savage and angry, and have the ability to deliver a sting that emanates from the palms of their hands. One leader successfully corralled the Wasps into a mighty army and became emperor, but what happens to a Wasp who no longer interested in being a foot soldier? Gaved undert... Read More

FanLit Asks: June 5, 2012

Some of your favorite authors take some time to answer our questions:
Got any news to share with us?
Laura Bickle / Alayna Williams: My first YA novel, The Hallowed Ones, will be released by HMH Graphia on September 25. Pitched as Witness meets 28 Days Later, The Hallowed Ones is a paranormal thriller in which Amish girl must protect her family from a violent contagion, even as fear and denial threaten to erode her community from within.

Mark Lawrence: Why yes I have! My daughter (age 8 and severely disabled) wrote a book that's out-selling my own in the US! It's a picture book and she used a head-switch and communication ... Read More

FanLit Asks: July 10, 2012

Some of your favorite authors take some time to answer our questions:
What are you working on these days?
Mark Lawrence: When not using MS Paint to draw mice and not at work pushing back the frontiers of science (sometimes in the right direction), and not looking after my youngest daughter... I'm writing a book called Gunlaw that's a strange fusion of gunslinger fantasy and sci-fi.

Anne Ursu: I'm in the middle of a new book. It's my first high fantasy, and I'm both intimidated and thrilled by the challenges that poses. Right now, mostly intimidated.
Read any good books lately?
James Barclay: Well, leaving aside anything I’ve ... Read More

FanLit Asks: July 24, 2012

Some of your favorite authors take some time to answer our questions:
Got any personal news to share?
Chaz Brenchley: Hee. Ordinarily I spend my time trying to persuade people that the actual physical day-to-day life of a writer is the dullest thing imaginable (“I sit at a desk and drive a keyboard; I’ve been doing it thirty-five years; my cats lead much more interesting lives than I do; may I tell you about my cats?”) -- but as it happens, I do have personal news. I got married, and moved five thousand miles to a whole new continent. Where the sun shines. A lot. I have ripening chillies in the garden! (And the cats’ lives are still more interesting than mine, or will be once we let them outside...) So, yeah. Newcastle novelist moves to California and gets married, shock horror. My friends are still reeling. So am I... In other news: my ... Read More