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Emperor of Thorns (The Broken Empire) Hardcover – August 6, 2013

511 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the Broken Empire Series

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Editorial Reviews


“A hard-edged tale of survival and conquest in a brutal medieval world well told and very compelling, it is different than anything I have ever read.”—Terry Brooks, New York Times bestselling author of the Shannara series

“Mark Lawrence is the best thing to happen to fantasy in recent years.”—Peter V. Brett, international bestselling author

"One of fantasy’s most talented authors.”—Fantasy Faction

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.” Married with four children, he lives in Bristol.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Broken Empire (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Ace (August 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425256855
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425256855
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (511 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More 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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Peter on August 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover
There's a certain type of magic that some authors possess which sucks me deep down into their novels and makes me never want to leave the pages. I become so utterly invested in the characters and story that I almost can't bear reaching the end, particularly when it comes to final book of a series. It makes my heart ache - but in an entirely good way. Mark Lawrence is definitely one of those writers, and with Emperor of Thorns he has cemented himself as one of the best, and one of my favourite, authors period. Emperor of Thorns, and the Broken Empire Trilogy that it concludes, is superb!

Jorg is one of the most unique characters I've read and watching the way he has developed and changed over the course of this trilogy has been perhaps the best thing about the series. He breaks all of the rules of a conventional protagonist and you will never be able to predict what he will do next. In Emperor of Thorns I found myself thinking I knew his character after two books but Mark Lawrence continually found ways to defy my expectations. There is a scene in this book involving one of Jorg's companions in the badlands that made my mouth fall stupidly open, whilst I floundered about in shock and reminded myself that I shouldn't have grown complacent with how I thought Jorg should and would act. He is a ruthless, vicious and compelling character that bears some of the qualities that would make some people identify him as a villain. This is far from a bad thing, however. It is refreshing to question the choices of the main character of a novel and to sometimes contemplate whether you should actually be rooting for him or not.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Nadine on August 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover
There is a quote from Ender's Game that has always stuck with me: "I think it's impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves."

Perhaps this is what scares people about Mark Lawrence's main character. By making Jorg the protagonist instead of an abstract villain, we are forced to understand him. The first person narrative draws us into his head. The more we learn about his past and the events that shaped him, the more we find ourselves understanding his actions (reprehensible though they may be).

I challenge anyone to walk with Jorg through his journey and not understand him, love him. I shared the journey with Jorg on the road to Empire. I shared his journey of growth from boy to man, from child to father. At the end of the road, I found myself shaking with emotion. I am sad that the journey is ended. I am so very glad that I took the trip.

An incredible end to an incredible journey (literally, emotionally and spiritually).

Read this book.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By scott on August 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are a fan of fantasy, you must read "Emperor of Thorns" and the two books that precede it in this amazing trilogy. It is, quite simply, one of the best fantasy books of the last twenty years. It should make almost every fantasy fan's top 10 list. It is just that good.

Superlatives aside for a brief moment, in "Emperor of Thorns" Mark Lawrence concludes the tale of Jorg of Ancrath. The boy who lost his brother and mother--saw them assassinated before his eyes--two novels ago is now nearing the end of his quest to sit atop the throne of the Broken Empire. He is also nearing the end of his journey to understand himself, and his journey to understand the world that he lives in. The fallen world that has been inherited from the Builders: men who walked the Earth a thousand years before, achieved incredible feats, and then destroyed it all with fire and light, leaving nothing but scattered remnants of their technology and lives to puzzle their descendents.

All three of these quests are tightly interwoven, and take place across two timelines in the novel--the present where Jorg journeys to Vyene to claim the throne, and 5 years past, where he journeys the broken Earth to unravel what has happened, how the Builders broke the Earth, and how how to save it.

Throughout it is clear that Jorg is damned. Damned like no other "hero" in contemporary fantasy writing; for he is an anti-hero, a near villain, to his core. He is more damned than Elric, more damned than the Bloody Nine, and he gleefully walks the dark and bloody path to his goals. He burns to achieve his heart's desire, and slaughters any and all who stand in his with a psycopathic intensity of desire.

But although he may be almost entirely missing compassion or empathy, he is not unsympathetic.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bob Milne on August 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
`Dark times call for dark choices. Choose me.'

For all you Jorg haters out there, that one line, that simple declaration, sums up The Broken Empire better than anything I might be able to coax from my tired brain. Yes, for the second night in a row, a book has gotten its hooks into me and demanded I stay up far too late reading the final 200 pages. Fortunately, Emperor of Thorns delivered in almost every respect, defiantly answering my every conflicting emotion resulting from its predecessor, King of Thorns.

Mark Lawrence has taken the successful formula of the first two books, tweaked it, twisted it, and triumphed over the most problematic - and predictable - portions. Once again we find ourselves on a journey, but it's rediscovered some of the novelty and macabre sense of wonder that made the first book so fun. As was the case with the first two books, we have two interwoven stories, but whereas I found the flashback portion of the second book a bit weak, here it's strong enough to carry a tale all on its own. As for my concerns about the artifacts of Builder technology playing such a crucial role in the climax of the first two books, I am very pleased to say that they've proven to be completely unfounded. In fact, what Lawrence does to bring that aspect of the tale to the forefront here is one of the novel's most pleasant surprises.

Another pleasant surprise is the continuing growth of Jorg. Yes, he's a right royal bastard, and about as far from a knight in shining armor as you can get, but he's human. We saw some growth in the second book as he matured and grew into his role as king, but here we see him grow into the role of expectant father as well.
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