Prince of Thorns (Broken Empire Series #1)

Prince of Thorns (Broken Empire Series #1)

by Mark Lawrence

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781937007683
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/31/2012
Series: Broken Empire Series , #1
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 26,989
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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.” He is the author of the Broken Empire trilogy (Prince of Thorns, King of Thorns, and Emperor of Thorns), the Red Queen’s War trilogy (Prince of Fools, The Liar’s Key, and The Wheel of Osheim) and the Book of the Ancestor series (Red Sister).

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Excerpted from "Prince of Thorns"
by .
Copyright © 2012 Mark Lawrence.
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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

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Prince of Thorns 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 171 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.
Millie_Hennessy More than 1 year ago
Yo, this book was really good. I really love the band of bandit brothers trope and this book hit the spot. What’s more fun than a hoard of grimy, bloodthirsty men marauding through towns, burning and pillaging? Well, a hoard of grimy, bloodthirsty men marauding through towns, burning and pillaging and led by a deranged teenage boy! After witnessing the murder of his mother and brother while trapped in a particularly vicious thorn bush, Jorg was never the same. Really, who would be? His father fails to avenge the murders and Jorg is plagued by the poison from the thorns. When a chance to escape his home arises, Jorg seizes it and never looks back. Through the occasional flashback, Jorg’s escape and climb to the top of the gang is revealed. I’m not entirely convinced a group of grown men would follow a thirteen-year-old boy, no matter how bloodthirsty and brutal he is. But, Jorg doesn’t feel thirteen, so maybe that’s part of it. I realize his circumstances would have caused him to mature faster (and there’s the argument that children in ye olden tymes were more mature than those of today’s world), but I still think he should have been a touch more…vulnerable. Or something. He felt sixteen or seventeen. Not a huge difference, but it was something that niggled at me. Oh, also he’s apparently six feet tall?! Wild. Despite my hang-ups about Jorg’s age, he had a compelling narrative. He’s a complete jerk and totally unlikable, but his journey was entertaining and I enjoyed the little snippets about his fellow bandits. Jorg is headstrong and not the best at making decisions, but I never wanted to stop reading. More compelling than Jorg’s murderous path back to his father’s castle was the world itself. There’s a map, which I looked at approximately twice. From what I understand, the Broken Empire is splintered into like 100 little factions or something. Each family feels they’re entitled to the throne and there’s a lot of fighting and alliances. Also, there’s a lady pope! More interesting than that though, is that there’s magic AND high technology that is apparently left over from a nuclear blast or something that destroyed the previous way of life. So it’s like medieval times that resulted after some sort of apocalyptic event in “our times” PLUS magic! Those are hard ingredients to blend, but Lawrence pulls it off with subtle clues along the way. Jorg isn’t riding around on a motorcycle or hovercar or anything. There’s only a hint of some advanced tech that left me very curious. There are mages (one in particular who is all tattooed and seemed to be tracing them to cast spells) and necromancers and strange monster-like people who live hidden in caves and also have powers that maybe resulted from a chemical leak. There are also mentions of Plato, Nietzsche and Shakespeare, leading me to believe that Jorg’s world is a sort of continuation of the world we live in now. I flew through this in two sittings – it’s very readable. It’s got the depth of detail and world-building I expect in my fantasy, without being heavy. If you like unlikable narrators, murderous bandits, pillaging and plundering, magic, genre mixing, fractured kingdoms and brotherhood, I think you’ll enjoy Prince of Thorns. I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequels!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book came so highly recommended, but from the opening gangrape of innocent girls the story never seemed to improve. I'm a fan of anti-heroes but Jorg want believable or redeemable. The story wandered all over the place and it was such an absolute chore to finish. I hate not completing a book but I contemplated it a few times. I did enjoy the authors writing style and that was the one shining star. Definitely not recommend.
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 6 days ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great book that mixes old would without New world. And the lead has a bloody sense of humor too.
bookstopshere on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this. It¿s a very quick read (2 lunch hours) featuring an amiable character with a catchy back-story; it engages the reader and moves quickly through its tale. Though I¿m not sure I can imagine the main character¿s redemption in future volumes, I look forward to reading the rest of the story. It¿s a breezy style ¿ my main quibble being the presentation of phrases masquerading as sentences. Yeah, I get the nearly stream-of-consciousness first person narration, but my eye-brain connection still demands that things dressed up like ¿sentences¿ actually be sentences. Reading this aloud, it works fine; my ear can see colons (and hearts, livers and other guts.) Punctuation aside, I found this fantasy novel dark and thought-provoking, but frustratingly incomplete. The book actually pauses at a sensible spot, but I¿m impatient with the wait for the moral sorting-out to follow. Eagerly awaiting volume two . . .
tottman on LibraryThing 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.
Lavinient on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Prince Jorg has just turned 14. For the last three years he has been leading a group of ruffians around the countryside thieving, murdering, and raping. He's really not a good guy (or kid), at all. He is a prince who, at the age nine, watched his little brother and mother murdered in front of him at the orders of a neighboring ruler. Jorg left his princely life and his father, the king, when his father chose a political partnership rather than revenge against the man who killed his wife and child. Prince Jorg now sees life as a game. He really has no problem killing whoever and taking whatever he wants. The author does not present this immorality in a vague way. He does not just tell us the character is immoral and leave it to our imagination. We get to see Jorg do these evil acts throughout the entire book. This isn't a story about Jorg turning from his immoral ways or finding redemption. He might see things a little differently by the end of this book, but he never apologizes or regrets any of his past actions. But I found it hard not to like Jorg. He is clever and complex. The entire book is from his viewpoint; it was fun being inside his head, and seeing how he sees the world. In the first chapter he promises he will be king by the age 15. He decides it is time to head back to his father's castle, and he brings his ragtag team with him. Throughout the book we get to know some of these men. His ¿brothers¿ are all sinful in their own way. Little snippets of how Jorg sees these men are at the beginning of some of the chapters. My favorite - ¿Most men have at least one redeeming feature. Finding one for Brother Rike requires a stretch. Is ¿big¿ a redeeming feature?¿ Once back home, he finds a cold welcome by his father and a new obstacle in his father's mysterious adviser. I really enjoyed Lawrence's world building. At first I thought the setting was a typical medieval type fantasy world, but was completely and happily wrong. Won't spoil it for other readers. But I will say, this type of setting has been used before, but the author used it subtly enough not to be distracting and actually made me very intrigued and wanting to learn more.This is the first book of a trilogy. Looking forward to reading what Lawrence has in store for Jorg next.
donaldmcobb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
With Prince of Thorns, new author Mark Lawrence comes out swinging, and my god does he connect. This is quite likely the darkest fantasy novel I've ever read - it would be comical in less-talented hands. This is the first chapter in the story of Jorg, a different sort of hero. His history is not unfamiliar to fans of the fantasy genre: he witnessed his mother and younger brother murdered by a rival kingdom's soldiers. His father, the king, allows himself to be bought off rather than seek revenge, an act Jorg deems cowardly and refuses to accept, so he sets off on a mission or revenge.This is largely where the similarities to every other antihero or dark hero end, though. You see, Jorg is a complete bastard. We meet him as he and his band of miscreants are finishing up murdering, raping, and pillaging their way through a village. A further departure from the "norm" is that Jorg doesn't just sit back and watch disdainfully, he takes an active part in every foul deed. He is not a good person, and he is fully aware of it, in fact even proud of it. He treats life as a game and people as pawns to be used and sacrificed in whatever way best serves his goals. Even his companions are not excepted - several meet their end at Jorg's hands.Of course, it wouldn't be much of a story if we simply followed Jorg and company as they terrorized villages. Events transpire that convince Jorg to return to his homeland,a homecoming he knows won't be celebrated. In fact, he counts on an icy reception. It's all part of the game, and he's playing to win.Naturally, there's more to Jorg than being evil for the sake of being evil. As the story progresses, forgotten events are remembered, and we see that there are reasons he acts as he does. Don't mistake this for a tale of redemption, though. Nothing will keep Jorg from his revenge, and there's little he won't do to get there.This is a relatively short book, coming in at just over 300 pages. This is actually somewhat refreshing - too many fantasy novels are needlessly bloated with extraneous plot lines and details. The story moves along at a nice pace and tells a complete story. There is ample room for continuing the story, which Lawrence obviously plans to do (as this is book one of a series), but the primary conflict of this book is settled and the next can start fresh with Jorg's next step. The only real weakness with the book is the somewhat haphazard manner in which the Brothers (Jorg's companions) are introduced. While reading through three pages of introductions in the first chapter would be frustrating, it's a tad absurd to have new (to the reader) Brothers being introduced after the halfway point. And from a more technical standpoint, the book could have used another round of proofreading; various grammatical errors aren't glaring, but they're there.Prince of Thorns is definitely the strongest fantasy debut of the year thus far, and I doubt anything coming out in the next five months will change that. It is an engaging story with an interesting protagonist, and it turns a great many of the cliches of the genre on their head. I am going to be eagerly anticipating the next volume of Jorg's tale.
JR.Raluces on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A promising, exciting debut novel from Lawrence that left me impatient to read the next (yet to be released unfortunately!)It is a powerful, brutal, violent novel, set in an equally powerful brutal vieolent world. A story of revenge, redemption, and confronting nightmares. Based upon a character born as a privileged royal child Jorg, but circumstances mean he soon finds himself at a very young age a ruthless, immoral, moody, at times charming leader of a grim cold blooded mercanary gang of outlaws who commit a wide range of atrocities. Witnessing the tragedy of his mother and brother murdered in cold blood changed the man is was to become. Now dark, sly and calculating with an irrational streak that resides within. Any word or deed that upsets, irritates or angers him can set him off and mean dire consequences for the person who caused it. Usually death. However, there is an hidden depth to Jorg, beyond this side of his character portrayed and it's a face his has to maintain within his gang, who do not know that he is in fact a Prince. He has capabilities to master over the living and the dead which I expect to be expanded upon in the second book. The first person narrative works very well, and the insight it provides into Jorg, his motivations, fears and thoughts is superb, and creates an udnerstanding of the characters and what is driving him, and lends to a liking of this otherwise immoral ruthless person. The storytelling is concise, absorbing and engaging. Fast paced, action detailed well, and there is a lovely flow to the book. The only minor downsides I can say are that the world building is not as indepth or as challenging as it could have been, but then again, the book is reasonably short, and does not get bogged down in uneccessary detialing, which just highlights the story all the more. Other characters, like with Douglas Hulick aMong Thieves book, all have potential that I hope the second book goes on to expand upon since it is somewhat missing in this book. All in all, another cracking debut novel from a promising and challenging author, one who again I can't wait to read the next book in the series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Meh
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like the way this book looks at evil and it's source.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PRINCE OF THORNS is dark and haunting and beautifully written. I could barely put it down and finished reading this book in just a few days. At first, the reader's mostly being introduced to the characters and the world. But then this book gains speed with prose that is startling in its beauty, characters who are fascinating and insights that are profound. I was so blown away by Chapter 38, I ended up highlighting the number 38 at the top, so that I’d remember the incredible chapter about Jorg and the angel that begins “I swallowed darkness, and the darkness swallowed me.” Jorg is the perfect antihero. After watching the murder of his mother and little brother, he embraces evil and revenge. Set in medieval times, PRINCE OF THORNS paints a clear picture of the sheer brutality and ugliness of the fight for survival back then, both among royalty playing the game of thrones and the peasants affected by them. After we get to know Jorg and the inner workings of his disturbed mind, the story becomes more complicated with magic and necromancers, death and an angel. Those sections of the book will stick with me for a long time. Mark Lawrence uses extraordinary language to describe the characters’ experiences of falling under the spell of otherworldly powers. The character arc of Jorg is fascinating. He’s a deeply wounded person whose childhood has left him damaged and vengeful. The book redeems him at times by showing how he felt as a child, how much he loved his mother and brother and also his cold, brutal father. When the story returns to the present, Jorg’s violent behavior is jarring. We see him battling both inner demons and the world at large. Along the way, he develops a tremendous thirst for power. Upon finishing this book, I immediately purchased the remaining books in the trilogy.