Mark Lawrence is married with four children, one of whom is severely disabled.His day job is as a research scientist focused on various rather intractable problems in the field of artificial intelligence. He has held secret level clearance with both US and UK governments.
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 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.
I consider myself to be a fortunate individual, I’m often sent books to read and review. I always hope to repay that trust of a review copy with something to say about the book. I’m not a critic however and will not review a book I didn’t like, which means not everything I’m sent gets added to the blog (just because I don’t like a book doesn’t mean it will not be amazing to someone else, eg, many love Harry Potter, me…cant stand them). So when I actually ask (well beg) for a book I really hope it’s a book I’m going to love, because otherwise it feels like a total let down to those lovely PR ladies.
All that preamble though is just background and flannel to wrong foot you, having read the Broken Empire series I was 99.9999% sure that this book was going to be excellent and that I would love it. Well having just finished it today I’m now 100%. I described it on twitter with its limited characters as “Prince of Fools is excellent: humour, Vikings, fighting, magic, Vikings, fighting, more humour, lots more fighting. Love it” .
That small description is it in a nutshell, The book centers on Jalan Kendeth a Prince of the realm, and a total utter coward, the author has done a wonderful job of transporting Harry Flashman from Victorian England to his own fantasy world, having read many attempted and failed copies of the humorous flashy it was wonderful to see someone finally pull off a witty, sniveling coward, but one with hidden depths…..when he has to save his own skin.
Enter his enforced partner and total opposite, the Northman Snorri, a big blonde viking, as brave as Jal is cowardly, a man haunted by loss. The pair are forced on a journey, one for the survival of his family and the other for the saving of his own skin. Wrapped in magic the 2 head north into the ice-bound wilderness……
If you have read any of the Broken Empire books you will already know Mark Lawrence is an excellent writer, combining a precise style with a clever depth of invention and world building (did you read his author bio? he is a bit smart), if you have not read any …well why not, go buy them now and this new book because its got Vikings, axes, swords, fighting, zombies …well undead but close enough.
Overall a highly entertaining, thrilling journey, funny, dark and fulfilling, for me one of the best fantasy titles I have read in quite some time. I have laughed out loud and wiped a damp eye, this story has it all.
Very highly recommended
Broken Empire Web site Link
2. King of Thorns (2012)
3. Emperor of Thorns (2013)
Mark Lawrence 2-Book Bundle (omnibus) (2013)