From the critically-acclaimed author of The Broken Empire series comes a brilliant new epic fantasy series, The Red Queen's War.
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 10th 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. Prince of Fools is the first book in the series.
©2014 HarperCollins Publishers Limited (P)2014 Mark Lawrence
I do not know, since I have not read the print version, but Sean Ohlendorf brings the story to life in a magnificent way.
Jalan and Snorri both. It is not possible to choose, since they contrast each other so well.
"It's Broken - don't fix it!"
As a big fan of Mark Lawrence I’d already bought two copies of this in hardback, so I was hoping it would pass muster! The original Broken Empire trilogy formed my favourite fantasy novels over the past couple of years, so obviously I was hoping for something of as high a standard. I’m happy to report Prince of Fools promises a second trilogy equally as strong.
The two main characters comprise a “cowardly rogue” Flashman type, coupled to a “larger-than-life” Viking warrior. The author manages to avoid creating the clichés these characters suggest they could become. Although there are plenty of amusing situations the novel is by no means the comedy I’d been hearing it might be – it’s still dark, though maybe a shade or two lighter than the “Thorns” trilogy. As in that series, it is pleasing to pick-up on the echoes of “the builders’ world”, plus it’s fun to get reacquainted with some familiar dramatis personae, albeit from a different angle. The plot rattles along at a fine gallop, coming to a satisfying ending, though by no means a conclusion. The prose is full of the trademark Lawrence aphorisms his past novels were crammed with. Narrator Sean Ohlendorf does a fine job BTW; it's not his fault if it's slightly jarring to hear characters from the first trilogy speaking with different voices this time around (Watch Me.....).
Should you read (hear) the previous trilogy first? I say yes, you’ll definitely enjoy this vastly more if you do and anyway, at this stage I still consider that trilogy unsurpassed. But, roll on volume two, it’s still all to play for and I would never bet against a beserker Viking....
"A beautiful tale that is as gripping as it is gory"
I would compare this book to Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie
Certainly, it kept me company whilst walking my dog in the wind and the rain
The narration was excellent and added colour to the story
"Broken empire,but fromadifferent view."
You recognize bits of it,it is the same world. But two very different perspectives, from very different characters. It has much more humor, The story is as good and well written, drawing you in and leaving you wanting more.
if you want to make a clean escape getting stuck in a toilet windows not good.
It has to be Jalan or Snorri, but I can not choose which.
I almost did, it just keeps pulling you along.
"Hits the right spot - More please!"
A great follow-up to the broken empire trilogy
Story – 4.5/5
I enjoyed the entire novel, which got better as it moved through the plot. The last 2 hours were superb, and reminded me a little of the film “The 13th Warrior” with the Viking element and the quest to banish evil lurking and getting stronger somewhere.
The story lost the depth provided by the different time frames that ML’s other trilogy had, but it did give the story a lot more focus, so I would say it puts them even. Jalan wasn’t as interesting as Jorg was, but being cowardly and self centered is never a great protagonist choice in a story. Once again though, it was evened out by Snorri the viking, who is the complete opposite in character and much more likeable. The conversations between these two characters and the prose that Mark Lawrence uses are quite witty and clever at times, and had me laughing out loud here and there. Each of the characters develop in their own way, and Jalan becomes much more likeable as the story progresses.
As well as the ending, one of my favourite aspects of the entire book has to be the overlap with the “Prince of Thorns” storyline. This helped to join the dots up in the world, and gain more perspective for how large and wide it is. It was also a very amusing crossover that I hope is done more with future stories in this world.
Performance – 4.5/5
Sean Ohlendorf was excellent – not too dissimilar to Joe Jameson actually. There were no changes in character voices to be concerned about, as apart from one or two small cameos, none of the characters were the same. His voice suited the age and maturity level of the main character perfectly.
All voice acting was distinct, and there was never any confusion between characters. Actions were performed where possible, rather than read out of the book (like sighs and coughs etc), making the story flow more naturally. Sean Ohlendorf was able to sweep us along with the atmosphere, speeding up reading to raise more excitement during the action scenes. All in all, a first rate narrator who I will look out for.
Overall – 4.5/5
"terribly flat & boring narration, which grows on u"
terribly flat and boring narration. his accents are all over the place. nothing like the guy who narrated the last series. shame
I enjoyed his previous series but couldn't shake the feeling that the main character didn't quite work for me - this was so much better. Fantastic pacing and story construction.
"Prince of Fools Rules!!"
I started listening to this not having read or listened to Lawrence's other works and I was pleasantly surprised. With a mixture of great writing and a narrator who has the ability to give each character unique voice I quickly felt thoroughly immersed.
The story itself isn't very typical of the fantasy genre as the main character is more of a Blackadder or Flashman than a Jon Snow or Aragorn, which often results in the protagonist ending up in sticky situations (usually of his own making) and conducting accidental heroics as he attempts to flee the scene.
Due to this The Prince of Fools is a swift paced book which carries you along a gripping story from beginning to end, so much so I went and got the sequel The Liar's Key. This is a must read/listen for any and all fantasy readers!!
Prince Jarlen is a tremendous anit-hero-hero. Charming and cowardly in equal mesaure.
Prince Jarlen - see above!
Excellent distinctions between each character.
The scene where Jarlen escaped the theatre - I thought that was hilarious.
More excellence from Mark Lawrence. He created a fantastic world in the Broken Empire and I'm happy he has continued to write in that world. But you don't need to have read his previous series to get full value from this one.
Yes I really enjoy listening to this story. A good narrator hooks you in and you just can't stop listening.
Mix between Age of Iron, Joe Abercrombie and Lies of Lock Lamora
Brings the characters more to life whilst still allowing your imagination to run free.
Snorri relating the death of his children
"what can I say ? !!! I love books by Mark Lawrence"
I loved listening to this the story is smart funny and dark. Sean You are a fantastic story teller !!! Thank you Mark and Thank you Sean!
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