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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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A bit much like Got but lovely

Very fun and witty book and an excellent performance.
The creatures/universe seems a bit too similar to Game of Thrones but it's still quite awesome.

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Magnificent!

great story, good narrator.
fully recommend this one, especially if u liked the broken empire series.

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Fast-paced, funny and heartbreaking

Would you consider the audio edition of Prince of Fools to be better than the print version?

I do not know, since I have not read the print version, but Sean Ohlendorf brings the story to life in a magnificent way.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Jalan and Snorri both. It is not possible to choose, since they contrast each other so well.

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started good but not witty enough for me

the character set up was good but I soon bored of just two characters and the shallow storyline. Not a big zombie fan.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • D. Menashy
  • 07-09-14

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....

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Christopher
  • 07-02-14

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


3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • iain
  • 10-08-14

A beautiful tale that is as gripping as it is gory

What other book might you compare Prince of Fools to, and why?

I would compare this book to Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Certainly, it kept me company whilst walking my dog in the wind and the rain

Any additional comments?

The narration was excellent and added colour to the story

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • tim
  • 07-05-14

Broken empire,but fromadifferent view.

What did you like most about Prince of Fools?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Prince of Fools?

if you want to make a clean escape getting stuck in a toilet windows not good.

Which character – as performed by Sean Ohlendorf – was your favourite?

It has to be Jalan or Snorri, but I can not choose which.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I almost did, it just keeps pulling you along.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Dermot
  • 06-14-16

Superb

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jake
  • 01-20-16

Prince of Fools Rules!!

Any additional comments?

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!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Macmedal
  • 07-24-15

Good Story

Would you consider the audio edition of Prince of Fools to be better than the print version?

Yes I really enjoy listening to this story. A good narrator hooks you in and you just can't stop listening.

What other book might you compare Prince of Fools to, and why?

Mix between Age of Iron, Joe Abercrombie and Lies of Lock Lamora

What does Sean Ohlendorf bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Brings the characters more to life whilst still allowing your imagination to run free.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Snorri relating the death of his children

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Debbie Mullen
  • 05-12-15

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!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Nozmon
  • 08-09-17

Fun Book To Listen To

At first, I wasn't sure what to think of as the main character isn't your average heroic type - but once I embraced this as part of the story, the whole experience was quite fun! It gets me laughing as much as it gets me furrowing my brows, wanting to punch a character or two.

The voices are well acted out as well, you can easily distinguish which character is speaking from the accents and voices.

If you've been listening to a lot of serious fantasy stories with gritty struggles and tragic, heart-wrenching deaths... This is a good and enjoyable listen to break up the black, grey, and blood red.

As in, it'll at least have a giggle between the grey and blood red.

Give it a listen!

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  • Asbjørn
  • 07-29-17

Decent Fantasy

Entertaining fantasy - with Mark Lawrence own brand of unrighteous narrative. I enjoy the characters - though some can be a bit simple. I really like the reasoning around bravery being another form of cowardice.

Yet, as with his first trilogy in this universe - his story does not manage to grip me. I fall off the plot...

(This is not a problem in the author's new series "Red Sisters". No doubt his best work so far - highly recommended)

I will continue with the story though.

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  • Louise
  • 07-22-17

Great story and narration

my first Lawrence novel, I read and listened to this story ans loved both forms.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Leah
  • 05-30-16

Great book, narration a bit off.

What aspect of Sean Ohlendorf’s performance might you have changed?

The story and writing are great but Sean Ohlendorf's performance doesn't quite capture the main characters personality. The narration sounds (to me at least) a bit flat. I might have a bias opinion of the books narration though having listened to it originally with Tim Reynolds who does an amazing job. I suggest playing samples from each narrator and making your own choice but I would definitely suggest Tim Reynolds version.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • michela
  • 02-14-18

Loved it

Loved everything about it- (newly introduced to Mark Lawrence, his writing is hilarious) and thought the narrator was amazing!