King of Thorns (Broken Empire Series #2) [NOOK Book]

Overview

The boy who would be king has gained the throne...


At age nine, Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath vowed to avenge his slaughtered mother and brother—and to punish his father for not doing so. At fifteen, he began to fulfill that vow. Now, at eighteen, he must fight for what he has taken by torture and treachery.


Haunted by the pain of his past, and plagued by nightmares of the atrocities he has committed, King ...

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King of Thorns (Broken Empire Series #2)

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Overview

The boy who would be king has gained the throne...


At age nine, Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath vowed to avenge his slaughtered mother and brother—and to punish his father for not doing so. At fifteen, he began to fulfill that vow. Now, at eighteen, he must fight for what he has taken by torture and treachery.


Haunted by the pain of his past, and plagued by nightmares of the atrocities he has committed, King Jorg is filled with rage. And even as his need for revenge continues to consume him, an overwhelming enemy force marches on his castle.


Jorg knows that he cannot win a fair fight. But he has found a long-hidden cache of ancient artifacts. Some might call them magic. Jorg is not certain—all he knows is that their secrets can be put to terrible use in the coming battle...

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Even as a child, Jorg had a clear sense of his life missions: He must avenge the murder of his mother and brother and take revenge on his father. Now as a king, he must live with his failures and the memories of the crimes that he has committed to fulfill his destiny. The second novel of Mark Lawrence's Broken Empire series reveals magical secrets that will upturn everything. Now in mass-market paperback and NOOK Book.

Library Journal
When he was nine years old, Prince Jorg vowed to avenge the murders of his mother and brother and to punish his father for failing to do so. Now, at 18, King Jorg rules in his father's place and must concentrate on holding his kingdom against invading armies who greatly outnumber his own forces. When he discovers a hidden chamber beneath his castle, Jorg realizes that he possesses the means to wield great power against his enemies, if he dares to take the risk. VERDICT The first volume of Lawrence's trilogy, Prince of Thorns, was an Internet sensation before it saw print. This new installment in the life and times of Jorg Ancrath features the true coming-of-age of a warrior king. Reminiscent in tone of Glen Cook's "Chronicles of the Black Company" series, this dark and gritty fantasy adventure should please fans of military fantasy and no-frills action.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101581261
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/7/2012
  • Series: Broken Empire Series , #2
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 8,439
  • File size: 1,017 KB

Meet 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. 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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Read an Excerpt

Prologue

I found these pages scattered, teased across the rocks by a fitful wind. Some were too charred to show their words, others fell apart in my hands. I chased them though, as if it were my story they told and not hers.

Katherine’s story, Aunt Katherine, sister to my step–mother, Katherine who I have wanted every moment of the past four years, Katherine who picks strange paths through my dreams. A few dozen ragged pages, weighing nothing in my hand, snowflakes skittering across them, too cold to stick.

I sat upon the smoke–wreathed ruins of my castle, careless of the heaped and stinking dead. The mountains, rising on all sides, made us tiny, made toys of the Haunt and the siege engines strewn about it, their purpose spent. And with eyes stinging from the fires, with the wind’s chill in me deep as bones, I read through her memories.

From the Journal of Katherine Ap Scorron

October 3rd, Year 98 Interregnum

Ancrath. The Tall Castle. Fountain Room.

The fountain room is as ugly as every other room in this ugly castle. There’s no fountain, just a font that dribbles rather than sprays. My sister’s ladies–in–waiting clutter the place, sewing, always sewing, and tutting at me for writing, as if quill ink is a stain that can’t ever be washed off.

My head aches and wormroot won’t calm it. I found a sliver of pottery in the wound even though Friar Glen said he cleaned it. Dreadful little man. Mother gave me that vase when I came away with Sareth. My thoughts jump and my head aches and this quill keeps trembling.

The ladies sew with their quick clever stitches, line stitch, cross–line, layer–cross. Sharp little needles, dull little minds. I hate them with their tutting and their busy fingers and the lazy Ancrath slurring of their words.

I’ve looked back to see what I wrote yesterday. I don’t remember writing it but it tells how Jorg Ancrath tried to kill me after murdering Hanna, throttling her. I suppose that if he really had wanted to kill me he could have done a better job of it having broken Mother’s vase over my skull. He’s good at killing, if nothing else. Sareth told me that what he said in court, about all those people in Gelleth, burned to dust . . . it’s all true. Merl Gellethar’s castle is gone. I met him when I was a child. Such a sly red–faced man. Looked as if he’d be happy to eat me up. I’m not sorry about him. But all those people. They can’t all have been bad.

I should have stabbed Jorg when I had the chance. If my hands would do what I told them more often. If they would stop trembling the quill, learn to sew properly, stab murdering nephews when instructed . . . Friar Glen said the boy tore most of my dress off. Certainly it’s a ruin now. Beyond the rescue of even these empty ladies with their needles and thread.

I’m being too mean. I blame the ache in my head. Sareth tells me be nice. Be nice. Maery Coddin isn’t all sewing and gossip. Though she’s sewing now and tutting with the rest of them. Maery’s worth talking to on her own, I suppose. There. That’s enough nice for one day. Sareth is always nice and look where that got her. Married to an old man, and not a kind one but a cold and scary one, and her belly all fat with a child that will probably run as savage as Jorg Ancrath.

I’m going to have them bury Hanna in the forest graveyard. Maery tells me she’ll lie easy there. All the castle servants are buried there unless their families claim them. Maery says she’ll find me a new maidservant but that seems so cold, to just replace Hanna as if she were torn lace, or a broken vase. We’ll go out by cart tomorrow. There’s a man making her coffin now. My head feels as if he’s hammering the nails into it instead.

I should have left Jorg to die on the throne–room floor. But it didn’t feel right. Damn him.

We’ll bury Hanna tomorrow. She was old and always complaining of her aches but that doesn’t mean she was ready to go. I will miss her. She was a hard woman, cruel maybe, but never to me. I don’t know if I’ll cry when we put her in the ground. I should. But I don’t know if I will.

That’s for tomorrow. Today we have a visitor. The Prince of Arrow is calling, with his brother Prince Egan and his retinue. I think Sareth would like to match me there. Or maybe it’s the old man, King Olidan. Not many of Sareth’s ideas are her own these days. We will see.

I think I’ll try to sleep now. Maybe my headache will be gone in the morning. And the strange dreams too. Maybe Mother’s vase knocked those dreams right out of me.

Chapter 1

Wedding day

Open the box, Jorg.

I watched it. A copper box, thorn patterned, no lock or latch.

Open the box, Jorg.

A copper box. Not big enough to hold a head. A child’s fist would fit.

A goblet, the box, a knife.

I watched the box and the dull reflections from the fire in the hearth. The warmth did not reach me. I let it burn down. The sun fell, and shadows stole the room. The embers held my gaze. Midnight filled the hall and still I didn’t move, as if I were carved from stone, as if motion were a sin. Tension knotted me. It tingled along my cheekbones, clenched in my jaw. I felt the table’s grain beneath my fingertips.

The moon rose and painted ghost–light across the stone–flagged floor. The moonlight found my goblet, wine untouched, and made the silver glow. Clouds swallowed the sky and in the darkness rain fell, soft with old memories. In the small hours, abandoned by fire, moon and stars, I reached for my blade. I laid the keen edge cold against my wrist.

The child still lay in the corner, limbs at corpse angles, too broken for all the king’s horses and all the king’s men. Sometimes I feel I’ve seen more ghosts than people, but this boy, this child of four, haunts me.

Open the box.

The answer lay in the box. I knew that much. The boy wanted me to open it. More than half of me wanted it open too, wanted to let those memories flood out, however dark, however dangerous. It had a pull on it, like the cliff’s edge, stronger by the moment, promising release.

“No.” I turned my chair toward the window and the rain, shading to snow now.

I carried the box out of a desert that could burn you without needing the sun. Four years I’ve kept it. I’ve no recollection of first laying hands upon it, no image of its owner, few facts save only that it holds a hell which nearly broke my mind.

Campfires twinkled distant through the sleet. So many they revealed the shape of the land beneath them, the rise and fall of mountains. The Prince of Arrow’s men took up three valleys. One alone wouldn’t contain his army. Three valleys choked with knights and archers, foot–soldiers, pikemen, men–at–axe and men–at–sword, carts and wagons, engines for siege, ladders, rope, and pitch for burning. And out there, in a blue pavilion, Katherine Ap Scorron, with her four hundred, lost in the throng.

At least she hated me. I’d rather die at the hands of somebody who wanted to kill me, to have it mean something to them.

Within a day they would surround us, sealing the last of the valleys and mountain paths to the east. Then we would see. Four years I had held the Haunt since I took it from my uncle. Four years as King of Renar. I wouldn’t let it go easy. No. This would go hard.

The child stood to my right now, bloodless and silent. There was no light in him but I could always see him through the dark. Even through eyelids. He watched me with eyes that looked like mine.

I took the blade from my wrist and tapped the point to my teeth. “Let them come,” I said. “It will be a relief.”

That was true.

I stood and stretched. “Stay or go, ghost. I’m going to get some sleep.”

And that was a lie.

The servants came at first light and I let them dress me. It seems a silly thing but it turns out that kings have to do what kings do. Even copper–crown kings with a single ugly castle and lands that spend most of their time going either up or down at an unseemly angle, scattered with more goats than people. It turns out that men are more apt to die for a king who is dressed by pinch–fingered peasants every morning than for a king who knows how to dress himself.

I broke fast with hot bread. I have my page wait at the doors to my chamber with it of a morning. Makin fell in behind me as I strode to the throne–room, his heels clattering on the flagstones. Makin always had a talent for making a din.

“Good morning, your Highness,” he says.

“Stow that shit.” Crumbs everywhere. “We’ve got problems.”

“The same twenty thousand problems we had on our doorstep last night?” Makin asked. “Or new ones?”

I glimpsed the child in a doorway as we passed. Ghosts and daylight don’t mix, but this one could show in any patch of shadow.

“New ones,” I said. “I’m getting married before noon and I haven’t got a thing to wear.”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 47 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 47 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 10, 2012

    King Jorg celebrates his wedding day but all is not auspicious:

    King Jorg celebrates his wedding day but all is not auspicious: the Prince of Arrow has surrounded the Haunt with thousands of men. On his way to becoming emperor, the prince will defeat all and any in his path - and Jorg is in the way.

    Jorg has a necromantic power he does not want, a mysterious copper box he fears to open, and a ghost who haunts him in private moments. His new, determined wife is an intriguing addition to the mix - young but fearsome - and Katherine has her own, most welcome point of view. Chella the necromancer appears again, and new characters are added, both allies and enemies.

    King of Thorns, like Prince of Thorns, is a tale told on many levels. First, the battle plays out in breathless action and presents a series of strategic puzzles to be solved. Second, the pages of Katherine's diary, which are found blowing through the mountain valleys, are similarly scattered throughout the book. Third, intense flashbacks bring Jorg in contact with his family and new allies.

    Told in Lawrence's trademark, lush prose, and never ceasing to surprise, King of Thorns pushes young Jorg ever more towards adulthood. I strongly recommend this book.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Simply an amazing continuation of this series! It grabs you and

    Simply an amazing continuation of this series! It grabs you and slowly embroils you in the plot and with a few twists has you begging for more. A great book by a great author.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2012

    A Must Read

    I was drawn in at the start with this book. It keeps you wanting to know what happens next. I liked this book so much that I am on the pre-release list for the next one in the series. Read it, you will enjoy it.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 26, 2013

    Good book! This is the 2nd in the series & I did'nt think i

    Good book! This is the 2nd in the series & I did'nt think it was good as the first. Jorg our ruthless "hero" stays the same & we get to meet the "brothers" in more detail. Mr. Lawrence does try to let you know when he is going back in time, but it becomes disjointed at times, making the shift between past & present confusing. At times he can focus too much detail of the land which can get a little boring. Over all a solid read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2014

    Ui .jk

    Yiyim nmbmdjgj .nm . ?nmuinm yugjbmtijk

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2013

    Amazing

    King of Thorns hooked me even deeper into Jorg's tale I can't to reach the end

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2013

    recomend

    I enjoyed the trilogy. Not super but good and worth the time to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    A very good continuation of the series, though slightly lacking

    A very good continuation of the series, though slightly lacking from the first book. I still enjoyed it, even with all the jumping around and confusion, in the end the story was connected, fascinating and I can't wait for the next one.

    Reminiscent of fantasy/"game of thrones" type of genre, with dark humor and cocky wit. So glad I stumbled across this series!

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  • Posted May 5, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    PRINCE OF THORNS, the first book in THE BROKEN EMPIRE, was proba

    PRINCE OF THORNS, the first book in THE BROKEN EMPIRE, was probably my favorite discovery of 2011. The pace was swift, the action sharp as a knife, the prose subtly effective and the characters hiding unseen depths beneath their violent exteriors.
    So it’s high praise indeed that KING OF THORNS is even better than its predecessor.
    In the opening book, Lawrence chose to tell his story by introducing Jorg at his worst and then providing backstory primarily in the second half of the book. While I admire the tactic, I wonder how many readers Lawrence lost, people who never read to the second half of the book to find that while Jorg may not be a character you want to root for, he’s at least an understandable character.
    Of course, I love a good anti-hero — Raistlin Majere, Gerald Tarrant, Nicomo Cosca, anyone? — so Jorg was right up my alley.
    In KING OF THORNS, the tale bounces back and forth between the current action, in which an overpowering army prepares to invade the kingdom Jorg won in PRINCE OF THORNS, and four years earlier, when Jorg begins to explore his newly-won territory. It’s easy enough to tell which story thread each chapter addresses, as the chapters are all titled either “Four Years Ago” or “Wedding Day.”
    The two storylines work well together and take full advantage of the dynamic world Lawrence has created, one that can host ghosts and dreamwalkers and computers and trolls without feeling like an awkward mash-up.
    The secondary characters in the book aren’t given much time, but there are surprisingly likeable characters mixed in amongst the thugs who typically surround Jorg. In the first book, I liked characters such as The Nuban, Gorgoth, Gog and Morgog. In this book, Makin fills a similar role to that of The Nuban, and Gorgoth and Gog are key to the first half of the book. The two main female characters are also interesting. Nonetheless, none of the characters are explored too closely — in fact, Jorg is surprised in this book to learn the Nuban’s name.
    Of course, Jorg is a self-centered character, so it wouldn’t make sense for him to be too concerned about his compatriots’ back stories and motivations, but it also takes away some of the impact when members of the band die. At one point, Jorg gets angry and avenges a comrade’s death in bloody fashion, but afterwards he’s asked why he bothered — he never liked that fellow in the first place. Jorg has no answer to this query.
    Other characters die with only a passing mention.
    It fits, of course, with Jorg’s worldview — he truly doesn’t treasure the lives around him, so why would he stop and weep for the fallen? At times I’d like to see more reaction when one of my favorite characters dies, but that really doesn’t fit with the tone of these books — it’s a violent world with a violent protagonist.
    It’s a recipe that makes for a bloody (good) read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    Loved both books from this series

    I love the anti-hero, he just speaks to the rebel in all of us. That need to push back for no other reason than we are being pushed.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Jorg said he would be King, and King he is, but can he keep hold

    Jorg said he would be King, and King he is, but can he keep hold of his throne?
    Book 2 picks up four years later and Mark Lawrence still delivers a good read! Now I have to wait until the next book comes out? Ugh!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2012

    Good

    I look forward to the next book

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  • Posted October 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    IN YOUR FACE AGAIN - This book like the first in the series is a

    IN YOUR FACE AGAIN - This book like the first in the series is a fast paced romp through an apocalyptic medieval landscape where a nuclear holocaust in ages past has caused the veils between reality, sorcery and death to be very thin. This book also as in the first book of the series switches from the present involving a siege of the Haunt in Renar by the Prince of Arrow to the past involving a quest to find the fire mage, Ferrakind and the charred pages of the journal of the woman he loved. Jorg on the surface appears to be more humane and ethical as he is haunted by memories of his past actions to include the thousands he killed in Gelleth with a nuclear weapon – so haunted that he has some of his crushingly painful memories suspended in a small copper box. He also explains some of his seemingly cold blooded murders in the first book as being preemptive and rationale rather than psychotic. Jorg recognizes that some of his actions have been at least in part influenced by sorcerers – powers hiding behind the lords of the land. However, Jorg finds that he wants to be emperor much worse than he wants to be humane and ethical. The stratagems and tactics Jorg employs to snatch victory from defeat are entertaining although I grew a bit weary with the emphasis on fire throughout the book. Nevertheless, I am impatient to get my hands on the next book of this series.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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