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Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #1)
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Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1)

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  43,479 ratings  ·  3,361 reviews
When he was nine, he watched his mother and brother killed before him. By the time he was thirteen, he was the leader of a band of bloodthirsty thugs. By fifteen, he intends to be king...

It's time for Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath to return to the castle he turned his back on, to take what's rightfully his. Since the day he was hung on the thorns of a briar patch and forc
ebook, 336 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by Ace Books (first published 2011)
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Miguel Halah, maybe the Percy Jackson series would be good for your brother, he'll surely love it if he hasn't read it. I would say it depends on how over…moreHalah, maybe the Percy Jackson series would be good for your brother, he'll surely love it if he hasn't read it. I would say it depends on how over protective you are and what you are willing to accept him to be exposed to. Just be advised, there are a few rape scenes, slaughter and violence. Swearing is very limited, which I am appreciative of. But I would say, I don't happen to have a younger brother but if I were in your shoes, I wouldn't expose him to it just yet. It is very intricate and some scenes will definitely be a bit too much for him(graphically speaking). My best recommendation is the Alex Rider series(it is great, I assure you.) Or try The Percy Jackson Series. Also, The Pendragon Cycle(it's a series) by Stephen Lawhead.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Steven Moser There was definitely some mystery involved even before he read the Builder's book. Just the fact that none of the locales are historical yet Jorg…moreThere was definitely some mystery involved even before he read the Builder's book. Just the fact that none of the locales are historical yet Jorg often mentions historical figures like Aristotle. At first I was wondering if it was some alternate history or something but when he finally brings out the book its pretty clear what's going on.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Robin Hobb
I had to grit my teeth several times to get through this, and more than once I wondered, "Why was this recommended to me?" Then the pieces began to fall into place. Not a tale for the faint of heart, but well worth it to prevail. Trust me.
Mark Lawrence
Nov 06, 2015 Mark Lawrence added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mine

My next book The Liar's Key has been released!

Prince of Thorns is 36th on Goodreads' voteable Best Epic Fantasy list!

Check out the first dozen reviews

Remember you can find the Jorg short story "Sleeping Beauty" on Amazon


Yay! Robin Hobb (newly welcomed to Goodreads) reviewed my book on Goodreads! LOOK That's officially ten types of awesome right there!

Yay! Terry Brooks reviewed my book on Goodreads!
LOOK Unreal! I read The Sword of Shannara as a kid in 1979!

Yay! Rick Riordan reviewed
Rick Riordan
I've heard of dark fantasy and anti-heroes, but this is the darkest fantasy with the anti-est anti-hero I've ever encountered. Our protagonist Jorg is only thirteen, but do not mistake this for a kids' book! Jorg is already the leader of a cutthroat gang of marauders, and has killed more men than most seasoned warriors -- including innocent civilians and a few of his own followers. Despite all this, I found myself rooting for Jorg, especially as more of his past is revealed, and we learn why he ...more
I can't get behind a book that has the main character raping girls in the first few pages.
No thanks, I am good.
I have read a lot of books with rape in them, but I have to say they were mostly with a female protagonist.
One of my favorite fantasy series, The Deed of Paksenarrion, Pak's lets herself be tortured for five days and nights, and rape isn’t the only thing that she has to suffer.
I understood why the character did this, I also understood why the author wrote the story the way she did.
Terry Brooks
This month I am recommending both PRINCE OF THORNS and KING OF THORNS by Mark Lawrence. They are two of three, with the third not yet published. I have read the first and am halfway through the second. As a fantasy tale, Prince Jorg Ancraft's story is quite extraordinary. It begins when he is 13 and already a stone cold killer with a horrific past. This is a dangerous and risky protagonist for any author to put forth, but Lawrence does it with verve and confidence. It is like a train wreck from ...more
I kept seeing good things and/or controversy about Prince of Thorns everywhere I looked, and everyone loves controversy. I decided to take the arc along with me to Worldcon in Reno, with the intention or reading it by the pool (I am still not comfortable taking an expensive eReader poolside).

Boy, am I glad I did.

Prince of Thorns had me by the balls in the first chapter. I found myself stealing time to read just a page here and a page there, and whenever a rare block of time opened, I commandeere
Lazy Seagull
Nov 22, 2015 Lazy Seagull rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Potential serial killers/rapists and murderers as a how-to manual.
Recommended to Lazy by: Unfortunately, me.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Here's Cliff Notes to my review: The Blade Itself Lite, with significantly less character development, a typical revenge plot and little redemption.

Feels suspiciously like watching a dog-fight video from ASPCA. Violent, powerful with a lack of finesse, subtlety or characterization, and the only redeeming aspect might occur at the end. The main character resists personal growth and opportunities for redemption, and commits violence after violence. We open as he watches a man die with his belly ri
I'm purposely using cat gifs to try and soften this review up a bit. I don't think it will help, but I just couldn't bring myself to search for anything bloody by the time I finished this book.

See that little boy on the cover, in all of his 14 year old glory?
By the fifth page I hated his guts. He repulsed me. Repulsed! And I'm not talking about just disliking his personality.
Oh, no! Full-on skeeved out.
The kid is an unrepentant murderer and rapist!


So why 4 stars, huh?
Weeeeell, he's just insane
Alienor ✘ French frowner ✘

(04/09) What can I say that I haven't already written ?

Warnings and other insights : Rereading Prince of Thorns after completing the series, I realize now how many details hint what will happen in Jorg's future, and this is brilliant. Indeed it gives the plot so much more depth!

Jorg is still my favorite anti-hero of all times : I could say so many things about him without never shedding light on his personality.
He is evil.
He is an asshole.
He is complex. He has layers. He is a PSYCHOPATH.

Kat Stark

Buddyread with these fabulous biotches: Anna & Chelsea (Click to read their reviews)

If you read this book, you’ll want to do these things to Jorg*:

a) rape him up the ass with a pineapple
b) stab him in the face with a carrot
c) watch as he lights a cigarette while all of him and his friends are playing with gasoline
d) throw a sharp frisbee towards him aiming for the neck, so you can watch him bleed out
e) bash him in the head with the end of a hammer

That's also how I felt about this book in gen
I had a lot of fun with this one. I'd read lots of discussion before actually jumping in and I have a couple things to say about it.

1. The rape at the beginning, while I in no way support this type of behavior, isn't graphic and does a good job showing how depraved these guys actually are. If it didn't include rape in some way, I really don't think it would have been nearly as believable, I mean, this is medieval times. Nobles were supposedly exercising their droit du seigneur. Again, not that I
I had heard so many good things about this book and although I'm not a fan of the gritty dark fantasy I think this was done exceeding well. Mark's prose is very well written and I found myself noting a number of particularly well done sentences, which is unusual for me to notice.

From time to time, fans of my series ask me to do a prequel on my character Royce and how he was when in the Black Diamond Thieves Guild and before the calming influences of Gwen and Hadrian started to shape him. From no
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

I’d heard a lot about Prince of Thorns before I picked it up. Naturally, some of the reviews were positive and some of them were negative. After reading the novel, I can honestly say I understand both points of view, because I found myself mesmerized by Mr. Lawrence’s first-person narrative yet horrified by the person I was reading about. But, beyond any doubt, this is a book that every fantasy fan should read at least once - and many will read over and
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

4.5 Stars

“War, my friends, is a thing of beauty. Those as says otherwise are losing.”

Houston commercial photography

If George R.R. Martin wrote young adult stories, they’d probably end up a little something like Prince of Thorns. In the first four pages the reader is exposed to raping and pillaging and beheadings . . .

Houston commercial photography

The Prince of Thorns is Prince Jorg – a boy who watched his mother and younger brother get murdered and who was pretty much left for dead by his
I got half way through 'Prince of Thorns' and could go no further. The over-the-top violence that some have written about didn't bother me or put me off the book. No, what DID put me off the book was this- I never, for even one moment, bought the 'Justin Bieber Meets Rambo' title character.

Yes, I've read ASOIAF, several times, and I'm aware that there are preteen and teen characters of derring-do in those books. The difference, and it is a fundamentally crucial one, is that George R.R. Martin ca
"War, my friends, is a thing of beauty."

Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath, heir to the throne of his father's kingdom, was nine years old when the Count of Renar's men ambushed the royal carriage, smashed his little brother's skull against a rock, and proceeded to rape and kill his mother. He himself was only saved by being thrown into a patch of hook-briars just moments before the attack. This episode is what turned him into the Prince of Thorns, and filled his existence with an insatiable lust for
Prince Jorg ran away from his castle with a band of highway robbers. This merry company kills, rapes, burns, and does all kinds of related activities with full Jorg's participation. Did I mention sometimes the merry band is afraid of Jorg? Did I mention Jorg is only fourteen? Anyway, the guy decides it is time to return home. This is where the real fun begins.

The shocking part of the book - atrocities committed by 14-year-old - did not work for me. There are several reasons. I suspect I became
Steve Drew
SUMMARY: A wonderfully written, feverish dream of a Fantasy novel. I would highly recommend Prince of Thorns to anyone who is willing to step into a shade of darkness in order to experience this unique and well-crafted book by Mark Lawrence.

No question - a lot of readers will have trouble with this novel. The twists and flow of his protagonist's skewed mind and the brutality of Lawrence's world make for some tough sledding.

Read Prince of Thorns if you love excellent, refreshing writing and can
Please check out my blog at! and check out other reviews and great suggestions while you're there!

WOW! where have i been? to say this book was a surprise is an understatment! i can't even remember how i stumbled upon this amazing read, i think a discussion of the best apocolyptic novels to date? but am i ever thankful i did.
a story so rich in beautiful writing, witty dialogue, magic and endless action is what this is. and the main character, jorge. he is so beyond his 1
Marc Aplin
Disturbing, Beautiful, Chaotic, Poetic, Haunting, Exhilarating… Believe it or not these are all words I would use to describe a single book. ‘Prince of Thorns’ is the debut novel of British author; ‘Mark Lawrence’.

“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 th

I hated the main character from the start. He is a 14 year old boy leading a gang of ex-convicts. He is the anti-hero, with the book opening detailing his rape of farmer's daughters, and frequent visualizations of just about every person he meets dying to his blade in their chest or cutting off their head. Yeah we get it. You have to be cruel and disgusting to be the leader and you are the young boy that is so "bad" he frightens ghosts.... Riiight.

At some point I just stopped caring.

At lea
Bookworm Sean
I’ve always had very mixed feeling about Lawrence’s world, but at this point in the series I did actually think it was fairly good. I thought the second book was much the same, then the third book was the complete ruination of this fantasy universe, in my estimation, but I’ll address that fully in my later reviews of the series. For now though, the Prince of Thorns was exciting and dark. However, it did have some major problems that limited it severely.

A dark protagonist

Initially, the firs
Jeffrey Keeten
Like most of the reviewers I'm baffled as to who I could possibly recommend this book to or if I should recommend it. On the other hand I couldn't put it down. The protagonist, Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath, is someone I abhored/admired from the first page until the last page. This book is disturbing, compelling, haunting, beautiful, disgusting and completely entertaining. The writing whispers evil thoughts into your mind. Your hand itches for steel. You start running through your mind every pett ...more
Anthony Ryan
Mark Lawrence’s debut offers many delights, including economical yet elegant prose and compellingly brutal action sequences, but the introduction of Jorg Ancrath to the Canon of great fantasy characters stands as his principal achievement here. A disinherited prince, Jorg strides across a far future Europe where some form of Apocalypse has seen humanity revert to a mediaeval state, pursuing a vendetta against those who killed his mother and brother, an event that has transformed him into what ca ...more
*even better on a re-read

The story follows a young prince who has witnessed a truly traumatizing event, his mother was raped and murdered and his younger brother murdered in front of his eyes at the age of 9. The novel for becomes a character study in how this effects a developing mind, violence ensues. Even though he is only 14 through most of the book, Prince Jorg is a complex and well thought out character. I found myself wondering how it was possible I could be rooting for someone like him,
Forget all the comparisons, the book is nothing like GRRM or Abercrombie's work. It is however, very good. A very tight and focused sprint to the finish, when finished with this short book I was shocked by how much world building was actually involved. And it is a world that I can not wait to learn even more about.

Dont be alarmed, this book at first seemed to be dark for darkness sake. But we gain revelations toward the end that changed my view somewhat. It is not an every bad guy turns out to
Will M.
Assassination is just murder with a touch more precision

Obviously this book is supposedly about assassins, and it lived up to its premise. With a seemingly dark fantasy summary, I had high expectations for this book. What made me feel reluctant though was the fact that the main character is a child. What could a child assassin really do that would seem realistic and entertaining at the same time?

The first 1/3 of the book annoyed me a lot. It felt like the author tried so hard to make Jorg
I must admit that I approached this read with a great deal of trepidation as a result of the large number of negative reviews I had read for this book over the years. Now normally negative reviews of a book do not worry me in the slightest, but in the case of Prince of Thorns those reviewers were highlighting an issue that I usually have a problem with. That problem being the nature of the main character. Honorous Jorg Ancrath, the titled Prince of Thorns, is this books only POV character and hi ...more

Prince of Thorns incredibly underwhelmed me as a reader. Let's get it out of the way that of course this is an opinion, by no means fact. But I do intend to provide a strong argument as to why I believe in my opinion.

I will forgive the first 50 pages, which let me down with their rougher quality prose. The prose on the whole turning out to not be a strong point to the book overall, though some suggest it improves in later books and it's never kept me from liking a book. I will also admit that t
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[My next book The Wheel of Osheim is out in June 2016]

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 w
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Other Books in the Series

The Broken Empire (3 books)
  • King of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #2)
  • Emperor of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #3)

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“Tell me, tutor,' I said. 'Is revenge a science, or an art?” 333 likes
“Memories are dangerous things. You turn them over and over, until you know every touch and corner, but still you'll find an edge to cut you.” 254 likes
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