Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Prince of Fools: By Mark Lawrence



The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire dread her like no other. For all her reign, she has fought the long war, contested in secret, against the powers that stand behind nations, for higher stakes than land or gold. Her greatest weapon is The Silent Sister—unseen by most and unspoken of by all.

The Red Queen’s grandson, Prince Jalan Kendeth—drinker, gambler, seducer of women—is one who can see The Silent Sister. Tenth in line for the throne and content with his role as a minor royal, he pretends that the hideous crone is not there. But war is coming. Witnesses claim an undead army is on the march, and the Red Queen has called on her family to defend the realm. Jal thinks it’s all a rumor—nothing that will affect him—but he is wrong.

After escaping a death trap set by the Silent Sister, Jal finds his fate magically intertwined with a fierce Norse warrior. As the two undertake a journey across the Empire to undo the spell, encountering grave dangers, willing women, and an upstart prince named Jorg Ancrath along the way, Jalan gradually catches a glimmer of the truth: he and the Norseman are but pieces in a game, part of a series of moves in the long war—and the Red Queen controls the board.

Mark Lawrence is one heck of a writer.

Lawrence, who rose in fame because of Grimdark fantasy books. His books were dark, full of death, wit, and violence. Yet at the same time Lawrence was able to bring a delectable amount of dark sarcasm to the protagonist, Jorg, transforming him from single-minded madman conqueror, to a likable single-minded madman conqueror, that had readers cheering for as he destroyed the normal protagonist, purely because he could.

Now, in Prince of Fools, Lawrence has taken a much lighter tone to his writing, and yet it is still utterly fantastic. Prince of Fools is hilarious, filled with action, magic, and amazing characters such as Jal and Snorri. Yet beneath it lurks dark undertones that fans of Lawrence’s previous series will adore.

Further, it is utterly shocking that Lawrence is able to take the same world from his Broken Empire series and turn it into such a difference landscape by changing the protagonist. While Jorg was plagued by his demons, single minded in his desires, and utterly vicious, Jal is the complete opposite, he is likable, he would rather loaf about and sleep around than grasp power, and he is a bit of a whiner. Yet, Lawrence has taken Jal out of his element and created an amazing story of berserkers, Vikings, gates into death, and being a pawn in a much grander plan.

All in all I absolutely loved Prince of Fools and can’t wait for the next book in the series. Between his Red Queen’s War series and his Broke Empire series, Lawrence has solidified himself a place as a must read author in my mind, earning and deserving a preorder of any and all books he writes in the future.


Publisher: Ace

Published: June 3, 2014

Price: $26.95

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