The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire fear her as they fear no other.
Her grandson Jalan Kendeth is a coward, a cheat and a womaniser; and tenth in line to the throne. While his grandmother shapes the destiny of millions, Prince Jalan pursues his debauched pleasures. Until he gets entangled with Snorri ver Snagason, a huge Norse axe man, and dragged against his will to the icy north.
In a journey across half the Broken Empire, Jalan flees minions of the Dead King, agrees to duel an upstart prince named Jorg Ancrath, and meets the ice witch, Skilfar, all the time seeking a way to part company with Snorri before the Norseman’s quest leads them to face his enemies in the black fort on the edge of the Bitter Ice.
Experience does not lend Jalan wisdom; but here and there he unearths a corner of the truth. He discovers that they are all pieces on a board, pieces that may be being played in the long, secret war the Red Queen has waged throughout her reign, against the powers that stand behind thrones and nations, and for higher stakes than land or gold.
Mark Lawrence’s debut novel Prince of Thorns is still one of my favourite debuts I’ve read since starting A Fantastical Librarian. And while it took me a while to get to reading King of Thorns, I loved that as well, so much so that I’ve yet to read Emperor of Thorns; partly because reviewing obligations, but also because I’m not sure I want Jorg’s story to be over. But as I unlocked it as one of my unstretch goals last month, sooner or later Jorg’s journey well have to end for me too. So I was really excited to start a new adventure set in the world of the Broken Empire, this time focusing on a different part of it, but set concurrently with Jorg’s tale. And to be honest, I might be even more reluctant to finish this one when book three comes out, because Jalan is just a wonderful narrator and his story is great. Read More …