Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence - a review

Set in the 100 Kingdom's, this is the story of Jorg, the titular Prince and his gang of  'Road Brothers'.

It is clear from the start that Jorg and the brothers are not nice people. They roam the land looting and burning more or less everything and everybody they come across - and Jorg, although the leader, is only 13.

Please don't let this put you off because the differences between Jorg and many other fantasy heroes is what makes this a refreshingly different story (although it probably strikes as similar to Game of Thrones - can't say for sure as I haven't read GoT).

Early on in the story Jorg decides (or is it decided for him?) that he will turn for home and claim his birthright as the son of the king. We learn through flashbacks how Jorg came to be where he is, and these flashbacks really and meat to the bones of what is already a meaty story.

The world of the 100 Kingdoms is our world way into the future after what seems like a massive nuclear event. There are many hints at this, most intended (Jorg reads the likes of Plato, Euclid, Nietzsche and Sun Tzu) and some maybe not so ("Hangings, beheadings, impalements - oh my" - reminiscent of  "Lions and tigers and bears - oh my" from The Wizard of Oz, but of all things, would The Wizard of Oz still be remembered several thousand years in the future?). The church is still around, much as you would expect in a medievil setting with 'Dear Jesu' an oft spoken phrase and references to Ave Maria, David and Goliath, Gog and Magog etc.

They also still read and quote Shakespeare in both natural (Is this a dagger I see before me) and bastardized (Now is the winter of our Hundred War made fearsome summer by this prodigal son) forms.

The story has everything you could want from modern fantasy - heroics, quests, betrayal, all set in a well realised land and with characters you will come to enjoy (for all their foibles). It is followed by two more books (King of Thorns - out now and Emperor of Thorns - out August 2013) and if they are half as good as this one I shall be a very happy reader.

No comments:

Post a Comment