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Publisher's Summary

Prince of Thorns is the first volume in a powerful new epic fantasy trilogy, original, absorbing and challenging. Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies in my mother's tomb. Now I have many brothers, quick with knife and sword, and as evil as you please. We ride this broken empire and loot its corpse. They say these are violent times, the end of days when the dead roam and monsters haunt the night.

All that's true enough, but there's something worse out there, in the dark. Much worse. From being a privileged royal child, raised by a loving mother, Jorg Ancrath has become the Prince of Thorns, a charming, immoral boy leading a grim band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities. The world is in chaos: violence is rife, nightmares everywhere. Jorg has the ability to master the living and the dead, but there is still one thing that puts a chill in him. Returning to his father's castle Jorg must confront horrors from his childhood and carve him a future with all hands turned against him. Mark Lawrence's debut novel tells a tale of blood and treachery, magic and brotherhood and paints a compelling and brutal, and sometimes beautiful, picture of an exceptional boy on his journey toward manhood and the throne.

©2012 Mark Lawrence (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"Dark and relentless, Prince of Thorns will pull you under and drown you in story. A two in the morning page turner. Jaw-dropping." (Robin Hobb)
"This is a lean, cold knife-thrust of a novel, a revenge fantasy anchored on the compelling voice and savage purpose of its titular Prince. There is never a safe moment in Lawrence’s debut." (Robert Redick, author of The Red-Wolf Conspiracy)
"Prince of Thorns got hold of me from page one and didn’t let go until I finished it on my second reading session on the second day. There’s humour here, gut-wrenching realism, high adventure, something that might be magic in the story, and certainly is in the telling of it. It was almost as if the shade of David Gemmell had returned, somewhat nastier for the experience. Thoroughly recommended. Thanks Mr Lawrence." (Neal Asher)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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  • lum
  • singapore, Singapore
  • 08-21-12

Dark, violent, sarcastic and unapologetic about it

Any additional comments?

Prince Jorg was faced with the murder of his mother and brother and it transformed him and his world view. He is not a “BATMAN” out to save the world, but just one more “BAD MAN” living in it but not giving in to it. Equipped with his own unique ultra-morals he makes his merry way and to hell with those living or dead who cross him.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Eivind
  • New York, New York
  • 08-27-12

Humerous kid anti-hero

Young prince travels with a gang of cutthroat mercenaries raping and pillaging through a war-torn world divided into a hundred tiny kingdoms all run by kings whose brutality is only surpassed by their cruelty and greed. So our hero is not really a likeable fellow, he is a little evil vengeful brat to be quite honest. But he is also at times a quite funny and not to mention a clever fellow. That and the fact that we are early on introduced to the event that made him such a monster helps us understand him somewhat, combined with the fact that everyone else seems like such complete bastards and we end up cheering for him anyway.
He is clearly traumatized, ensorcelled even, but he keep going. Brutally so. Now there isn’t really that much violence in this novel. Oh, they speak of violence all the time as they threaten each other or reminisce, but it is more a book about trauma and vengeful thoughts than and a true action novel. It is dark though, there is no hiding that. Dark and at times quite humorous:

“Most men have at least one redeeming feature. Finding one for Brother Rike requires a stretch. Is 'big' a redeeming feature?”

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A cunning, cruel and ruthless protagonist.

Joe Jameson's captivating performance is the reason I finished this book in record time, though his accent may present an obstacle to non native English speakers.

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good and bad

entertaining, fast phased, interesting, but messy, lacks a climax, don't know if ill read the next book, at least not yet.

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If you are tired of the stupid heroes, come here

What did you love best about Prince of Thorns: Broken Empire 1?

that there is no stupid hero who has to save the day just cause they are "good"<br/><br/>These kinds of dark books are hard to find, im hoping to be able to dig up a few others because i heavily dislike the save the world because evil is bad crap.

  • Overall
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A dark violent tale

I was starting to worry that audio book delivery of fantasy titles would never be as enjoyable as wading through a paperback. However I am pleased to say that the combination of Mark Lawrence's tale and Joe Jameson's narration has reassured me that audio book fantasy can deliver a quality product.

This is a dark and violent tale of an angry young man with no fear. The story twists and turns as we learn that what is on the surface is not always the real story.

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  • Ivan
  • MelbourneAustralia
  • 09-15-12

A real surprise

Any additional comments?

I expected more of the same cliché fantasy characters and plots. This is far from cliché. I loved the dark, human, aspect of the lead character. Also, the back story is very interesting. More of it develops in the second book and hints at real complexity in the story.

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  • Geert
  • Erpe-Mere, Belgium
  • 10-25-13

Hmmm... morbid and far fetched

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

This was beyond saving for me I'm afraid. This story was boring in it's eccentricity. Just didn't do it for me.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The story starts out kinda promising but soon turns morbid with a semi humorous twist. Hard to describe it. It's so over the top that I had trouble listening any further beyond the first couple of hours.

What didn’t you like about Joe Jameson’s performance?

Very UK, the man is a voice magician. But he made the unbelievable story only more far fetched and for me that resulted in sort of a turn off.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Daniel
  • Mt. Lawley, Western Australia
  • 10-24-13

Disappointing

What would have made Prince of Thorns: Broken Empire 1 better?

The smugness of the protagonist is painfully off-putting. I'm sure there are people who would write it off as the character being a 'hot-headed teenager', but it made for tough going. I had hoped that as the story progressed, the needless killing, boastful nature, and general douchebaggery of the character would subside for a character that realises the errors of his ways, but instead these aspects intensify.<br/>The story itself is less than inspiring - feeling like something that was dreamed up (ie rehashing every other novel of it's ilk) in and afternoon with a bit of time to spare.

Would you ever listen to anything by Mark Lawrence again?

No. I feel like he finished the last page of A Dance With Dragons and thought to himself "you know, I think I could probably do this as well" and picked up his quill.

Which scene was your favorite?

Every point where it seemed the main character would die.

What character would you cut from Prince of Thorns: Broken Empire 1?

Prince Jorg.

Any additional comments?

I simply cannot understand the plaudits going out to this book.<br/>The narration/performance was very well done, for the record.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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excellent storyline

What did you love best about Prince of Thorns: Broken Empire 1?

The hero is actually shaped by his environment and circumstances and has evolved naturally

What was one of the most memorable moments of Prince of Thorns: Broken Empire 1?

When you realize that this civilization has come after our own was decimated in wars, and the similarity it holds to our middle ages

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • David
  • 09-10-12

Brilliantly dark story, fantastic narration

Bought this audio book on a whim and it is easily the best audio book I have heard. Brilliantly complex, and often dark, characters brought to life by the excellent narration of Joe Jameson. An excellent cross between medieval epic and fantasy adventure. Highly recommended.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Keshnee
  • 04-14-13

How cool is the narrators accent? Loved it!

Twisted and gruesome, but extremely entertaining. It's great to find a book that expands the boundaries of what is acceptable... I find that I want Jorg to win, even with his twisted and warped sense of morality. Actually in his world - where everything is just a game - he somehow seems the right saviour for it all!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mitriel
  • 03-28-13

Thank you for a great book!

I've been a member here for over six years but never wrote reviews before. Yet having just finished Prince of Thorns: Broken Empire 1, I felt I had to say few words.

I started this book three times. First time around I thought this just wasn't my cup of tea. Second time around I thought it was just a bit too dark, too violent for me. Third time I just kept on going and by the time I reached chapter 5 I was hooked. By the time I reached chapter 7 I was in love with the style of writing and the narration. One of the best audiobooks I heard so far and can't wait to start the second book. Thank you so much Mark Lawrence and Joe Jameson!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Janine
  • 03-19-14

Mindblowing

Utterly unique, utterly compelling. The best fantasy in years.

The story bounces back and forth in time which can be confusing. It works, though.

Jorg is the strangest, most charismatic character I've ever read. He's depraved, despicable and thoroughly charismatic. You'll bleed for him and in the end, love him.

Without spoiling too much, Prince Jorg is a young man who witnessed the murder of his mother and brother and then absorbed the indifference of his father. He broke away and renounced everything of his former life except the drive for revenge.

His life is being manipulated, though, by magics that entered his world. His world is a strange dytopian version of ours. The hints suggest that it's our world in the future, destroyed by tinkering of mankind with fundamental science.

There's a joyful exuberance about the book that will have you 'turning' pages. I couldn't listen fast enough!

Very, highly, completely, ,firmly recommended!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr. Cornelis Roos
  • 01-21-15

Cold and brilliant

I was advised to read this book by a friend who knows me well and did not have any expectations. However, after 5 minutes in the Audiobook I was hooked - the narrator playing to his strengths and living the characters. Fantastic storyline twists and clever use of phrases and words rather than blatantly stating facts.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • darren
  • 08-14-14

A Royal delight

Where does Prince of Thorns: Broken Empire 1 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

If you liked Game Of Thrones you'll have no problem getting to grips with this, it's right up there with the likes of GOT, and anything by Joe Aberchrombie and Conn Iggulden

What was one of the most memorable moments of Prince of Thorns: Broken Empire 1?

The opening sequence is spell binding

Have you listened to any of Joe Jameson’s other performances? How does this one compare?

FIrst listen to Joe Jameson, but already downloaded the next in the series

Any additional comments?

The Story moves along at a fair pace, with plenty of twists and unexpected moments to keep you interested along the way. The versatile narration lends to the overall experience and you may find yourself loosing time or making excuses to just listen for a while longer.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Ann
  • 03-26-14

Excellent story and very good narrator

What did you like best about this story?

Complex story with a twist at the end

Any additional comments?

Up there with the Games of Thrones and The Name of the Wind

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Neil
  • 04-07-13

Fantastic

What a story! Jorg has lifted through some horrible things and he sets out to get revenge, if you only pickup one author your haven't read before it has to be this, it's a little short, but so good I couldn't stop listening, at one section as I was driving home I parked simply to hear the next part before having to turn it off, I haven't done that with any other story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • nick
  • 12-23-12

Wow

I had no idea that this is more than just fantasy until I'd read it; it's also post-apocalyptic! Lawrence does a fantastic job of creating a far future Earth that has reverted to a dark age that also seems to incorporate magic. A stunning listen, try it today

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • MRS
  • 08-26-12

Deserves to be Heard

Jorg isn't the most likeable character but I enjoyed this book so much I downloaded the next immediately. The story rolls along at pace. Beautifully written, yet dark and relentless. Very well narrated.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • stephanie joanne
  • 09-22-17

Brutal

Grimdark at its finest. Bloody brutal in every aspect, I cannot wait to finish the series!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-09-16

One of my favorites

Love this book and series.
Great to listen to the Audible version.
This book is excellent, you should download it!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful