Mark Lawrence: Holy Sister (Review)

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Mark Lawrence was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, to British parents but moved to the UK at the age of one. He went back to the US after taking a PhD in mathematics at Imperial College to work on a variety of research projects including the ‘Star Wars’ missile defence programme. Returning to the UK, he has worked mainly on image processing and decision/reasoning theory.
Mark Lawrence lives in Bristol and 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. At one point he was qualified to say ‘this isn’t rocket science … oh wait, it actually is’.
Between work and caring for his disabled child, Mark spends his time writing, playing computer games, tending an allotment, brewing beer, and avoiding DIY.


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Nona Grey’s story reaches its shattering conclusion in the third instalment of Book of the Ancestor.

They came against her as a child. Now they face the woman.

The ice is advancing, the Corridor narrowing, and the empire is under siege from the Scithrowl in the east and the Durns in the west. Everywhere, the emperor’s armies are in retreat.

Nona faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice. But it seems unlikely that Nona and her friends will have time to earn a nun’s habit before war is on their doorstep.

Even a warrior like Nona cannot hope to turn the tide of war. The shiphearts offer strength that she might use to protect those she loves, but it’s a power that corrupts. A final battle is coming in which she will be torn between friends, unable to save them all. A battle in which her own demons will try to unmake her. A battle in which hearts will be broken, lovers lost, thrones burned.

Holy Sister completes the Book of the Ancestor trilogy that began with Red Sister and Grey Sister. A ground-breaking series, it has established Mark Lawrence as one of the most exciting new voices in modern speculative fiction.



What can i say about this series and this book? whilst not my favorite of his characters, It’s the best series he has written and ballsy as hell for a guy to write a female protagonist, and one that takes no crap what so ever. The last book of a series is always bitter sweet, the conclusion of the time you have invested in the world and the character, yet the culmination of an excellent story, and you hope not the life of the main character.

Holy Sister was always going to be bloody, the empire is under siege from the Scithrowl in the east and the Durns in the west after all, assassins abound, the emperors sister is a cold hearted bitch set on betrayal, the Scithrowl are as many as the Nadir Hordes in Legend and led by one of the most powerful people alive and none of that even touches on the Durn.

This book is told from 2 different times lines, from the end of the last book and also now 3 years ahead, it takes us on both journeys to see how we get to the end, to see what was learned, when and how, to see the pain and suffering each of the novices/ nuns have to endure. we learn painful lessons on the ice and finally get more of an insight into the magic of the ancestors.

The culmination of the book as you would expect is the big finale, the battle, who will win? the rampaging hordes or the beleaguered forces of the Empire, TBH morally you only really root for the empire because of Nona and her compatriots, lets face it most of the Snr people in the empire are self serving back stabbing political climbers and rich nobility, with almost no redeeming qualities.  So who should win the fight for the dwindling resources of the world?

What engages is as always the sacrifices of the nuns, the friendships, the loyalties, the ties of youth enduring despite past conflict. Mark Lawrence has woven his threads so well we are all bound to the characters and their fate.

I can’t add much about what happens because id kill someone if they spoiled it for me, suffice to say no matter who you are, keep a tissue handy for the end of this book, it will pull the heart strings of even the most hard-hearted. This is a book full of drama, excitement, heroic deeds and nasty back stabbing. It will make you gasp at the twists and turns and it will make you cry at the inevitable losses. what more can you ask for.

Brilliant ending….. although… do i sense that we may see more one day ??


Broken Empire
1. Prince of Thorns (2011)
2. King of Thorns (2012)
3. Emperor of Thorns (2013)
Mark Lawrence 2-Book Bundle (omnibus) (2013)
The Complete Broken Empire Trilogy (omnibus) (2014)
The Secret (2015)
The Broken Empire (omnibus) (2016)
Road Brothers (2017)
Red Queen’s War
1. Prince of Fools (2014)
2. The Liar’s Key (2015)
3. The Wheel of Osheim (2016)
Red Queen’s War collection 3 books Box set (omnibus)(2018)
Book of the Ancestor
1. Red Sister (2017)
2. Grey Sister (2018)
2.5. Bound – A Book of the Ancestor Short Story: Short Story (2018)
3. Holy Sister (2019)
Book of Ancestor Books 1-2 (2018)
Impossible Times
1. One Word Kill (2019)
2. Limited Wish (2019)
Girl and the Stars
1. The Girl and the Stars (2020)



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Filed under Fantasy, Mark Lawrence

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