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King of Thorns (The Broken Empire) Hardcover – August 7, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

It’s been four years since Prince Jorg avenged his mother’s death by killing his uncle and taking his throne. In that time, the young prince has matured mentally and physically and has prepared his small mountain kingdom for war. Opening with the arrival of an army of more than 20,000 soldiers and Jorg’s hasty wedding to a young princess, the novel is split between the war in the present and lengthy flashbacks to earlier years; the source of the flashbacks is a mysterious copper box that Jorg keeps with him at all times. The box, which holds the king’s memories, is designed to keep his past safe from his dream-walking enemies. Lawrence masterfully builds tension here, using the few frantic days of battle as the framework for his larger story. Readers who first met Jorg in Prince of Thorns (2011) will cheer for the return of one of fantasy’s most violent, yet strangely likable, antiheroes, and those new to his story will find it easy enough to start here (but they will be eager to jump back to book 1). Set hundreds of years in the future after a disaster ended the time of the Builders, this is epic fantasy only lightly touched by science fiction, and the combination of dark fantasy, male characters, and plenty of violence makes it a perfect read-alike for fans of Brent Weeks and Joe Abercrombie. --Jessica Moyer


"Definitely a series that will hit with a bang."
Falcata Times

"Mark Lawrence's wonderful prose is vivid without being flowery, succinct without being plain. He pulls you in and doesn't let go."
New York Times bestselling author Peter V. Brett

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Product Details

  • Series: The Broken Empire (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; 1 edition (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937007472
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937007478
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (459 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,158 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

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By little_elf10 on September 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just finished Mark Lawrence's, "King of Thorns" last night, and I must say that while I enjoyed "Prince of Thorns," it's predecessor, the sequel solidified my admiration of Lawrence as an up and coming fantasy author.

Lawrence is gutsy, to say the least. In the first book, he chose to tell a conflicted coming of age story, but in reverse order, starting with Jorg and his band of brutal, unmerciful bandits raping and pillaging the land, only giving the backstory of the troubled Prince of Ancrath later. Lawrence must have known that he would lose readers - especially those who found Jorg's morality, or lack there of, a little too much to handle. We eventually got our explanations and the origin story for his sociopathic nature. Still, as a reader, Jorg was difficult to identify with because of the shock of the first half of the book.

Enter the second book. Here, Lawrence gives us much more backstory and situates Jorg with character-types we weren't privy to in the first - characters that remind Jorg that human lives might indeed be worth something. In this context, Lawrence gives us several emotionally gut-wrenching scenes, offering us glimpses into the complexity of Jorg's character. Readers who did not enjoy the first book should definitely try the second. Very rarely do authors make readers bleed the injuries suffered by their characters, and Lawrence does that successfully in several scenes.

The book is told in two primary time frames, the present, while Jorg is 18, and 4 years prior, directly following the events of the first book. Interspersed between these time-jumps were diary entries told from Katherine's perspective.
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Beatmuppet on August 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
King of Thorns (#2 Broken Empire) by Mark Lawrence.

Hmm, What to say about this Author and this series, without spoiling any of the twists or surprises. Book one, Prince of Thorns was one of the surprises of 2011. If you didn't get it on your to do list you should add it now. I'll wait while you do.

Ok? Done?

At it's essence, this series is a VERY dark and violent tale, told first person, from the point of view of Jorg the young and disturbed ringleader of a brutal band of wandering misfits (Brothers), that, for want of a better description, go round raping and pillaging and murdering whomever they like, and unashamedly, loving every minute of it.

I did say it was dark.

It's not grotesquely violent. It's not horror, but it does not 'hollywoodize' the violence. Its real and raw. It's the Tarantino of Fantasy. The violence is somewhat confronting because Jorg is so calm about it. It's not an angry reacting to an insult. It's not vicious self defence. It's not heroic winning after an honourable sword-fight. If that guy is annoying, or smiles oddly, and needs a dagger pushed gently into his eye, then that's what he gets.

It's not all violence though. I'm just giving you fair warning that there's some moments in there that may turn your nails black (in a good way).

It is, in a way, the journey, both physical and mental, of Jorg, as he discovers where he came from and remembers what made him as he is. It's actually pretty insightful.

It could be the journey of a boy becoming a man. A man learning to control the primitive angry beast that wriggles in the shadow of many of us.

There's some superb humour stirred into the mix as well. I do get a big kick out of black humour.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bob Milne on July 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I opened my review of Prince of Thorns, book 1 of The Broken Empire saga, by saying:

"Damn, but this was one hell of a book!"

I would like to begin this review in a similar spirit, by saying:

"Damn, but this was one hell of a book to review."

I've let it settle and digest for a few days, but I'm still very conflicted in my thoughts regarding King of Thorns. Mark Lawrence has improved upon many aspects of that first book, particularly in the areas of character development and world-building, but the converging paths of the narrative structure that didn't work so well for me this time around.

Generally, I'm not a big fan of stories that jump back and forth in time, balancing flashbacks with the 'current' or 'present day' narrative. It's just not a device that works for me. Having said that, it did work for me in the first book, largely because Jorg was such a unique sort of protagonist that I was truly interested in just what happened to place his feet upon such a path. Here, the 'present day' narrative jumps ahead four years, forcing a gap that allows for the same device to be used again. The problem is, with my curiosity about Jorg's origins already sated, the flashbacks here lacked the same drawing power. As much as I appreciate what Lawrence attempted to do with the copper box - I thoroughly enjoyed the way in which his banked memories altered the course of battle - I didn't find the 'big' memory a compelling enough mystery to justify taking us away from the events of his wedding day.

Of course, it doesn't help that the story of Jorg's wedding day is such a strong story on its own.
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