Prince of Thorns (Broken Empire Series #1)

Prince of Thorns (Broken Empire Series #1)

4.2 140
by Mark Lawrence
     
 

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When he was nine, he watched as his mother and brother were killed before him. At thirteen, he led 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 hung pinned on the thorns of a briar patch

Overview

When he was nine, he watched as his mother and brother were killed before him. At thirteen, he led 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 hung pinned on the thorns of a briar patch and watched 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 his will, can one young man conquer enemies with power beyond his imagining?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This book is brilliant.” —Galaxy Book Reviews

“[A] morbidly gripping, gritty fantasy tale.” —Publishers Weekly

“The best book I’ve read all year…[Lawrence] pulls you in and doesn’t let go.” —New York Times bestselling author Peter V. Brett

Prince of Thorns deserves attention as the work of an iconoclast who seems determined to turn that familiar thing, Medievalesque Fantasy Trilogy, entirely on its head.” —Locus

Publishers Weekly
This morbidly gripping, gritty fantasy tale is not for the squeamish. Prince Jorg was 10 years old when Count Renar's soldiers hung him on a hook-briar while his mother and brother were murdered. Vicious and desperate for revenge, he joined a bandit gang. Four years later, he's their leader and determined to end a multigenerational war by resurrecting the old empire and becoming emperor. Jorg is the epitome of the antihero, killing not just in battle but whenever he feels the need to set an example. Only toward the end of the book does a startling revelation focus his violence on clearly deserving targets. But Jorg is a product of his world, no worse than any other power there, and Lawrence increasingly makes readers believe that Jorg may indeed be able to use small savageries to end the ongoing greater ones. (Aug.)
Library Journal
The only survivor of a treacherous ambush that killed his mother and younger brother, Jorg Ancrath learned to survive by his wits and his gifts for combat and leadership. By the time he turned 13, he commanded a group of cold-blooded mercenaries. On his 14th birthday, Jorg decides to return to the castle of his boyhood and reclaim his rightful title as Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath. Lawrence's debut features a young protagonist with the sensibilities of a man many years older, whose hard life and harder companions lead to a brotherhood based on loyalty and blood. Dark sorcery and fierce combat are the hallmarks of this action-packed tale of revenge and intrigue set in a darkly somber medieval world. VERDICT Strong writing and an unforgettable narrator lend firsthand intimacy to this series opener. The author's style is reminiscent of Glen Cook's "Black Company" series and should appeal to readers who enjoy their fantasy tempered by gritty realism and gore.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781937007683
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/31/2012
Series:
Broken Empire Series, #1
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
48,304
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

“This book is brilliant.” --Galaxy Book Reviews

“[A] morbidly gripping, gritty fantasy tale.” --Publishers Weekly

“The best book I’ve read all year…[Lawrence] pulls you in and doesn’t let go.” --New York Times bestselling author Peter V. Brett

Prince of Thorns deserves attention as the work of an iconoclast who seems determined to turn that familiar thing, Medievalesque Fantasy Trilogy, entirely on its head.” --Locus

Meet the Author

Mark Lawrence is a research scientist working on artificial intelligence. He is a dual national with both British and American citizenship, and has held secret-level clearance with both governments. At one point, he was qualified to say, “This isn’t rocket science—oh wait, it actually is.” Married with four children, he lives in Bristol.

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Prince of Thorns 4.2 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 140 reviews.
tottman More than 1 year ago
Prince of Thorns starts off right in the middle of the action. The first few pages make it clear that you are not going to feel much love for Jorg, the hero of the story. He is amoral and ruthless, but you come to admire and root for him. Anytime you start to feel more than that, he reminds you how truly twisted he is. Prince of Thorns is the story of Jorg. Jorg, as a young boy, was forced to watch his mother the Queen and his younger brother brutally murdered. He was spared by being tossed into a thicket of thorns that trapped and nearly killed him, but concealed him. This is Jorg's story of revenge. Revenge on those who murdered his brother and mother, revenge on a father who traded political expediency for justice, and revenge on anyone who stands between Jorg and his desire. The book starts off with Jorg on the cusp of his 14th birthday, but fills you in on his past by alternating between events of four years ago and the present. Alternating between two timelines works because both timelines are equally fascinating. The setting is fascinating as well. Early clues are dropped as to where this story is set. I found it a bit confusing at first, but as hints and references were dropped, it became more and more clear where and when this story was taking place. The action moves along very briskly. Concentrating on a few main characters keeps the story tight, focused and exciting. The world feels both fully fleshed out and with a lot left to explore. Jorg leads a bit of a charmed life, but other characters who feel like they might be main cogs in the larger story are dispatched with impunity. This creates real suspense in battle scenes or dangerous situations because you can't be sure that any of the characters you are rooting for will survive. This is the first book in a planned trilogy, but it has the feel of a world with a lot more stories in it. It reads as a complete story and leaves you anticipating the next leg in the journey. Jorg is a unique protagonist and he'll leave you anxiously awaiting what he has planned next. Highly recommended.
harstan More than 1 year ago
When Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath was ten years old, Count Renar's soldiers murdered his mother and younger brother, and hung him from briar patch thorns to watch them die. Raging with vengeance, he joins an outlaw gang. Less than four years later, he becomes the chief of the gang. However, Jorg has goals beyond the gang. He plans within a year to sit rightfully on the throne. To do this he must end the civil war by reuniting the empire under his rule. The time to kill Count Renar and those who executed his loved ones is at hand. However, betrayal and dark magic awaits the former prince who would be emperor. The first Broken Empire thriller is a dark gritty fantasy starring a pragmatic protagonist who kills without remorse; a lesson his uncle taught him. With the help of a kindred blood thirsty spirit, Jorg's quest for the throne is not for anyone with a weak stomach. Mark Lawrence portrays a realistic landscape as in many ways the "hero" is as brutal as the villain yet whether one describes Jorg as the lesser of two evils or not he is the glimmer of hope. Harriet Klausner
Teresa_Frohock More than 1 year ago
Nothing, NOTHING piques my interest more than a novel that causes other reviewers to either love or condemn a story. When I see such vacillation, I know I have to read it so that I can decide for myself. And so I did. Mark Lawrence tells the story of Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath, a young man who was once a privileged royal child. At the age of nine, Jorg witnesses the brutal murder of his mother and younger brother. By the time Jorg turns thirteen, he leads a gang of outlaws with the sole objective to extract revenge against the Count of Renar, the man who ordered his mother's death. Jorg has nurtured his rage and tends it like a dark garden in his heart. He seeks vengence and his days with his outlaw brothers have taught him the brutality he needs to achieve his goal. There is only one thing that frightens Jorg and that is returning to his father's castle where he must confront the horrors from his childhood and win his place as the true prince of Ancrath. Lawrence gives us a broken empire in chaos where violence is rampant, but it is our world, easily recognizable. The novel is told entirely from Jorg's point of view, and Lawrence handles Jorg's character with the right amount of verve and pathos thrust in equal measure to keep the reader engaged. Just when Jorg's violence becomes extreme, Lawrence slows the pace and gives the reader a clear-eyed view into the heart of a child who has known nothing but grief. Only the coldest soul could not see the armor Jorg has placed around himself, caustic wit shields his fear and he buries his sorrow beneath rage. He is a young man who tries to scald love from his heart and he often succeeds. Yet no man is ever completely untouched by those around him, and Jorg is no different. Jorg is a complex character in a world both familiar and strange, and though the Broken Empire is seen entirely through Jorg's eyes, the other characters are just as intricate as Jorg himself. Lawrence's pacing is exquisite and he exhibits a penchant for horror with several well crafted scenes. It is a dark tale well told, you'll be up into the wee hours as you follow Jorg and his brothers down their bloodied path.
Wordworker More than 1 year ago
If you like the show Dexter, Young Adult Fantasy, and some of the better Stephen King ideas, you'll love this book. Actually, you may love it if you just like really well-written fiction. New writer Lawrence already wields first-person narrative like a master, making the story alternatively wince-worthy, beautiful, and enigmatical. Read it and wait for more from this prodigy.
deesy58 More than 1 year ago
This dark and heavy story is set in the far distant future when scientific knowledge has been lost, and medieval conditions prevail in the world. It is very well written, however, and editing errors are not to be found. The primary character is a violent, ruthless individual, as are most of the characters that surround him. The action is constant, making it difficult to stop reading at any point in the book. The author ties up all loose ends at the end of the story, but paves the way for a sequel.
Mistb0rn More than 1 year ago
Not a bad read. Can be graphic at times so if thats not your cup o tea than I suggest moving on to something else. I agree with another reviewer who said it had a lot of potential but missed the mark by not delving into the world and characters more. I enjoyed it enough to want to read the second book. Its perfect as an "in between" book while you're waiting for the next book in your favorite series. I was struggling to decide between 3 and 4 stars and eventually went with three.
SmalltownSR More than 1 year ago
I liked the premise of this book, but really couldn't get into it. I thought it would be a quick read because it isn't very long, but it just drug on and on. It is mostly a fantasy book set in times where kings rule, and then out of the blue, throws in a space ship with nuclear weapons. Save your money.
LN_Adcox More than 1 year ago
This book will appeal to those that enjoy a fast paced, medieval flavored treat with a side dish of dark sorcery and an apocalyptic undertone. The attraction is also based upon the excellent character development of the youthful protagonist, Prince Jorg Ancrath. This book is his story told first person and is strongly flavored with his humor, cynicism, recollections and thoughts. He is haunted by the murder of his mother and brother, his bitterness toward his father, his desire for revenge, and a deep inner voice that he cannot fully understand. However, his brutal, ruthless practicality, cunning, audacity, and confidence are the qualities that were required of a conqueror in ages past and perhaps are not all that different from the qualities of some successful politicians today. Nevertheless, part of Jorg’s appeal is that he does understand the moral actions and choices that others would have him take even when he chooses to ignore them. I read the comments from other reviews that compared Mark Lawrence with George Martin, Glen Cook and Joe Abercrombie. His style is different from that of George Martin as again this tale is told first person through a single character and the setting is very different. Jorg’s supporting cast of violent road brothers whom we sometimes are drawn toward despite their total absence of accepted morality is reminiscent of Glen Cook’s Black Company of mercenaries. The plot and setting of this book are more similar to Joe Abercrombie’s “Best Served Cold” than to George Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. Mark Lawrence’s Jorg is also reminiscent of Joe Abercrombie’s Monza Murcatto At any rate, if you enjoy the books of George Martin, Glen Cook and Joe Abercrombie, you will love this one. If not, then this is not your treat.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Besides being a great read, this book was one of the most original books I've read in a long time. It does have a lot of graphic violence, which I usually don't care for, but once you get used to the author's style you come to realize that it is not gratuitous violence. There is a reason for it, as it helps you understand the main character's background and his motivation. This was the best book I've read in a long time, and I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Important: I stopped after chapter four. I opened this book with excitement. I really did. I had heard that it was a great book from multiple sources. I can now firmly say that these people don't know what a good book is. The writing isn't exactly bad, but it wasn't really painting any pictures for me. The setting seemed interesting, from where i stopped anyway. The characters on the other hand were.... sub-par. Now i can't say much for the side-characters, as i did stop very early. The main character however is down right awful. Both in personality (This didn't impact anything really, cause i knew this was an anti-hero, and a dark fantasy story) and his writing. I came in knowing he was an anti-hero type of character, which is great. I normally love those type of characters, but he's just an "edgy teenager". Honestly, i can't go too much into why i don't like him. The review guidelines basically states that you shouldn't spoil anything, so i won't. I'll just leave it at that.
Rusterkat More than 1 year ago
Post apocalyptic Europe reverts (mostly) to medieval technology. Mature audiences, not for timid or younger readers (this is a good thing). Violent, brutal, feces, mud, some sex, rotting flesh, and lots of blood (i.e. probably fairly realistic vs idealistic SF - at least regarding human behavior and what we are capable of doing to each other). Just finished the whole series. Well written. Enough depth, back story, and mystery to hold my sustained interest but lots of action to keep it moving. The main character is terminally flawed but I was still able to connect. A violent boy/man for a violent time.
USBTrash More than 1 year ago
A must read. Lawrence knows how to twist your emotions about a protagonist.
Edgar_Allan_Johnson More than 1 year ago
Pretty good story. A bit too "deus ex machina" in places, and the protagonist is almost impossible to like (unless you're a sociopath), but the writing is crisp, and moves the story along rapidly. Will most likely check out the second book in the series, to see what happens next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I highly reccommend the book. It is very difficult to like the "hero" at first, but you end up cheering for him anyway. I can't wait for the sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can only assume Mr. Lawrence was writing with the intent of meeting a word count through this book. He blinks past scenes that should have spent pages to describe. He offhandedly acknowledges the rich past of characters, possibly in the vague hope of building an air of mystery. In all, what could have been an excellent story was rushed and flat. The setting is also vague, having a pseudo-historical feel, but never grounding the reader in the world. I had high expectations for this novel, but can honestly say I am disappointed.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Anonymous 6 months ago
Loved it!!!!!!
WickedAK More than 1 year ago
Great read, it was a quick read. I finished it in one sitting. I loved the story line and the utter hatred of the main character. The ending shocked me, definitely did not see that one coming. It really his a morbid tail. Can't wait to devour the next one!
hectorcartel More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fast paced, brutally violent, Jorg lives in defiance of everyone who stands in his way. He kills indiscriminately and reaches for goals that might be beyond even his ambition.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What was a randomly pick book, is now a must read series. I love it when I find an author who knows exactly what kind of story I want to read.
JDBrink More than 1 year ago
A Dark, Page-Turning Fantasy Ride My first impression of Jorg, the narrator and hero of Prince of Thorns, was that I might not like him, even though he did remind me of Alex from A Clockwork Orange.  (Turned out I hit that right on the nose, as the author himself directed me to an article where he said that Burgess’s classic was the inspiration for this book!)  Jorg is driven by rage and revenge and, being a teenager, that fit him well.  What else motivates young men other than passion?  Even though he wasn’t always a “good guy,” Jorg did mature a bit over the course of the book and I got to like him. The book also enjoyed (as I did) a very quick pace, cool quests, an unruly band of thugs as heroes, some cool monsters and magic, and some surprising world-building.  I’m definitely interested in Book Two and will add it to the list.  4.5 stars from me (rounded up to 5). 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago