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Emperor of Thorns (The Broken Empire #3)

4.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  22,913 Ratings  ·  1,446 Reviews
The path to the throne is broken - only the broken may walk it.

To reach the throne requires that a man journey. Even a path paved with good intentions can lead to hell, and my intentions were never good.

The Hundred converge for Congression to politic upon the corpse of Empire, and while they talk the Dead King makes his move, and I make mine. The world is cracked, time has
Hardcover, UK, 592 pages
Published August 1st 2013 by Harper Voyager (first published January 1st 2013)
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The Republic of Thieves by Scott LynchA Memory of Light by Robert JordanEmperor of Thorns by Mark  LawrenceThe Daylight War by Peter V. BrettThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Can't Wait Sci-Fi/Fantasy of 2013
3rd out of 620 books — 3,265 voters
Prince of Thorns by Mark  LawrenceThe Blade Itself by Joe AbercrombieA Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinKing of Thorns by Mark  LawrenceEmperor of Thorns by Mark  Lawrence
The Grimdarks
5th out of 191 books — 614 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mark Lawrence
Apr 02, 2016 Mark Lawrence added it  ·  (Review from the author)
[STOP PRESS] The Liar's Key (& book 1, Prince of Fools) now in shops! If you want to spend some more time in the Broken Empire ... pick them up! The Red Queen's War trilogy ends with The Wheel of Osheim, out in June.


In case you're wondering which book in the trilogy people liked best - here's the result of a poll on the subject:

What's next for me? It's Red Sister, first book of the Red Sister trilogy, out in 2017:

Mar 30, 2013 Peter rated it it was amazing
You may be wondering why/how I am reviewing a book that is not due to be published for several months. The answer is I couldn't wait, in more ways than one.

I've written about Mark Lawrence before. I reviewed the first book in this series, Prince of Thorns, on my blog a couple years ago. I enjoyed it so much I happily offered quotes to Mark's publishers to be used on the second volume, King of Thorns, even before I'd had a chance to read it. I secured an advance copy of KoT, but again was too bus
Jeffrey Keeten
Sep 10, 2013 Jeffrey Keeten rated it it was amazing
”I failed my brother. I hung in the thorns and let him die and the world has been wrong since that night. I failed him, and though I’ve let many brothers die since, that first pain has not diminished. The best part of me still hangs there, on those thorns. Life can tear away what’s vital to a man, hook it from him, one scrap at a time, leaving him empty-handed and beggared by the years. Every man has his thorns, not of him, but in him, deep as bones. The scars of the briar mark me, a calligraphy ...more
Oct 04, 2013 seak rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
Mark Lawrence likes to claim that authors are not their characters, but I think we need to look at the facts.

Jorg Ancrath:

1. Single-mindedly takes the world by storm.
2. Spreads his wit (among other things, blood and guts included).
3. Flips everything on its head, traditions, magic, you name it.
4. Encourages blasphemy and the slaughter of innocents.
5. Will stop at nothing to reach his goals of claiming the title of Emperor.

Mark Lawrence:

1. Single-mindedly takes the fantasy world by storm.
2. Sprea
Nov 24, 2015 Bookwraiths rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, library, grimdark
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

Prince of Thorns was a seminal work in the fantasy genre. Jorg Ancrath a sociopathic protagonist who became both loved and reviled — seemingly in equal measure. The cry for “More Thorns!” overpowering. Quickly, Mark Lawrence turned Thorn‘s into an epic trilogy; a rousing tale of madness, mayhem, machinations, and meditations on the human condition. And with this final volume, the author has gifted readers with a fitting conclusion, remaining true to Jo
Dec 30, 2014 Markus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Dark times call for dark choices. Choose me."

Jorg of Ancrath, the Prince of Thorns, the boy who would be emperor, is back at long last. Our maliciously fascinating antihero is finally on his way to the holy city of Vyene. Escorted by the legendary Gilden Guard, Jorg is ready to make his way to Congression, the gathering of all the Hundred taking place every four years where they come together in the emperor’s palace to choose who among them shall take up the ever vacant throne of the Broken Emp
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE)
(reread 09/07) NEW WEEK. SAME CRAZY GUY. I might be predictable. Sorry about that.

Book 1 : Prince of Thorns
Book 2 : King of Thorns

Original review : February 2015

Sorry guys. I thought about some fancy way to write this review and it seems that I just - couldn't. Maybe, one day, when I'll reread it because of course I'm going to reread it, I mean, JORG for Pete's sake, maybe this day I'll be able to find, I don't know,
a) A travel map review of his journey through Europe, because YES, I to
Will M.
Jan 28, 2016 Will M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, audiobooks, 2016
This novel helped me reach a new milestone in my life, and that is to enjoy listening to audiobooks. I've written several reviews of how much I hated audiobooks, but I believe James Clamp helped me realize how amazing audiobooks are. Add in the fact that this is an amazing novel with a terrific plot and characters. Kudos to Mark Lawrence for ending a trilogy the right way.

My journey with this trilogy was rough. I enjoyed the first novel very much, but the second left a bitter taste in my mouth.
Rick Riordan
Feb 19, 2014 Rick Riordan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful, surprising, and worthy ending to the Thorns trilogy. If you’ve followed Jorg Ancrath through the first two books, it shouldn’t shock you that Jorg does not give you the ending you might expect, but it’s an ending that makes perfect sense. As with the past two volumes, this book jumps around in time, from Jorg’s journey to the seat of the empire to vote for a new emperor, back to his earlier journeys through Hispania and Afrique in search of power and answers. Looming on the horizon ...more
Milo (Bane of Kings)
The Review:

“A stunning conclusion to the Broken Empire Trilogy. Easily one of the best books of 2013 – and a book that’s well worth the wait.” ~The Founding Fields

If I had to make a most anticipated list of Novels coming out this year, Emperor of Thorns would be in the Top 5, there’s no question about it. Mark Lawrence really impressed me with the first two books in the trilogy, both of which I own in hardback – so that I knew that Emperor of Thorns w
May 22, 2015 Gavin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was a fantastic conclusion to what has turned out to be a very good series. It was a fantastically entertaining ride and Mark Lawrence succeeded in wrapping up all the ongoing story arcs in style.

Every four years members of The 100 meet in the holy city of Vyene, the heart of the Broken Empire, to vote. For over a century that vote has ended without anyone having the majority needed to claim the title of emperor. This time Honorous Jorg Ancrath is determined to see a different outcome. Jor
Franco  Santos
Every man has his thorns, not of him, but in him, deep as bones.
Satisfactorio final de saga.

En algunos momentos se me hizo aburrido, algo lento de a ratos. Algunas partes para mí estuvieron de más o se alargaron demasiado. Otra cosa que no me agradó tanto fue el cambio en Jorg. En este tomo la magia, lo que lo hacía tan especial, se perdió un poco. Lo noté más bueno y bondadoso.

Por lo demás, excelente. La prosa de Lawrence me volvió a maravillar, hay bastantes escenas épicas que me dejaron to
Jun 02, 2013 Reader-ramble rated it it was amazing
Shelves: must-reads
I've never done this before. I've never gotten a book ahead of its publication date. You can't leak the ending. You can't spoil it. So, what do you say? What do I say? In my previous reviews of Prince of Thorns and King of Thorns I brought up scenes I liked and wrote about Lawrence's use of modern science to make these books more than a fantasy. I even wrote about the chronological structure, but I'm not going to do that now.

I'm going to tell a story instead.

When I was sent a DM over twitter ask
Bob Milne
‘Dark times call for dark choices. Choose me.’

For all you Jorg haters out there, that one line, that simple declaration, sums up The Broken Empire better than anything I might be able to coax from my tired brain. Yes, for the second night in a row, a book has gotten its hooks into me and demanded I stay up far too late reading the final 200 pages. Fortunately, Emperor of Thorns delivered in almost every respect, defiantly answering my every conflicting emotion resulting from its predecessor, Kin
Alicia Wanstall-Burke
I've made several manic recommendations to friends to read the Broken Empire Trilogy and whenever they ask 'Why?' or 'What is it about?' I find myself hard up against a roadblock.
By roadblock I mean "giant choking lump in my throat every time I think about this series"...

Weird, given it isn't some navel-gazing, chic-lit, sob story, wah-wah examination of the world focussing on how we could and should be better humans. In fact, it's gory, unapologetic and painful. Sometimes even sickening. But th
Sep 17, 2013 Mags~CVAddikt~ marked it as on-hold-just-a-bit  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pendientes
The cover ... I just LOVE the cover ... it suits Jorg perfectly ...

However, I can't help thinking of The Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David at the Louvre, Ok not the original, but the first sketch David did. In that sketch, Napoleon didn't allow the Pope to put the crown on his head, he did it himself, so ... yeah, Napoleon crowning himself, same as little fictional Jorg.

Emperor of Thorns was surprising and satisfyingly predictable in a lot of ways. Talking about a final book in a series is always difficult, cause I don't want to give away any plot details.

For me personally the whole trilogy reads like a fever dream and in hindsight I would consider it the best approach to read it back to back, cause the gap for me between the books might have been too big to "get" all the little details and hints. I could have probably figured out a few things and themes sooner
Jan 13, 2016 Redeagl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every one who could read.
I don't write reviews but now i am writing one so you might ask yourself why am i writing for this books specially? Ok this review isn’t for Emperor Of Thorns but it is a review for the whole Broken Empire Trilogy with no spoilers even for Prince Of Thorns. This trilogy doesn’t have quarter the attention it deserves. These books are awesome and poetic. Mark’s writing style is unique it reminded me of the beauty of the Kingkiller Chronicles books even if the Broken Empire is one of the darkest se ...more
Aug 22, 2015 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2015
5 Stars

“I made a smile though it tasted bitter and said, ‘Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.’”

—-That is also how I feel after coming to genuinely love and appreciate Jorg our protagonist of this amazing series.

Emperor of Thorns ends one of the best dark fantasy trilogies ever written. Mark Lawrence should be applauded for never holding anything back and for never selling out. Our bad ass hero Jorg stays true to his roots from page 1 of the Prince of Thorns all the way to the last word of Emp
Péter Holló-Vaskó
Mar 06, 2014 Péter Holló-Vaskó rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone. Literally.
Recommended to Péter by: Németh Vladimir
I was reading Mark Lawrence's Emperor of Thorns while in a hospital with severe myocarditis. While the environment was not as pleasant as it could be, the reading experience proved to be simply astonishing.

True, Lawrence already made me a fan with Prince of Thorns, so me loving this novel was not a big surprise. What the author did is something really extraordinary: he did not just finish up a story arc elegantly, but also managed to do something that no other fantasy writer could ever (yes, th
From my review...

Mark Lawrence’s completed trilogy is like a rabies shot. Sure, it hurts, but if you don’t get it you’ll wind up frothing at the mouth before your throat swells up and you die of thirst. Not that failing to read Lawrence will leave you dead, but that not reading him would have left me lacking something I needed. For me, that was akin to a rabies shot. A rabies shot against the disease of entitlement. Or, more verbosely, the disease of believing that somehow it won’t happen to me.
Myke Cole
May 19, 2013 Myke Cole rated it it was amazing
This one was so good, it got a blog post.
May 11, 2015 Kaitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-sff-faves
This book is a weird one, and this series is a weird one because the whole way through reading this I never felt that I truly comprehended everything. That's not to say I was so confused I didn't 'get' it but it is to say that there's multiple plot lines and different timelines which all weave in and out of one another.

In this book we are following Jorg once more as he journeys to petition for becoming the Emperor. That's the first plotline, and it's the plotline which takes place two years aft
Paul Nelson
Aug 12, 2013 Paul Nelson rated it it was amazing
A fantastic ending to the Broken Empire trilogy, a little sad to say that its all over and still reeling from a mesmerizing and fascinating climax.

Once again Mr Lawrence entwines past and present story lines to devastating effect as the knowledge and actions accumulated five years earlier bear consequence in the present.

The story line set five years earlier sees Jorg undertake another epic journey first to the Iberico hills and the promised lands, drawn by Fexler Brews and the builders of old. T
Aug 11, 2013 Mia rated it it was amazing
WARNING: I am about to wax rhapsodic about Mark Lawrence's Broken Empire series which I unabashedly love. There are not enough stars. It speaks volumes to me at this time for many reasons. I do not begrudge anyone the joys that penetrate the walls of their heart and mind; please do not begrudge me mine.

THE BROKEN EMPIRE WORLD: This world has always had one eye on the past. It has a fascination with the world that was and its Builders. It yearns to understand its own origin and history which it r
Mr. Matt
Sep 27, 2013 Mr. Matt rated it it was amazing
I struggle with how to describe this book. There are many good science fiction/fantasy books out there; however, there are very few that make you think about quantum physics, artificial intelligence, religion, and the meaning of reality itself. Emperor of Thorns does all that.

The author's prime achievement in this series is world building. It is an impossibly deep yet fabulously simple world. And in this final volume the veil is finally lifted and we understand the nature of the world that Jorg
D.E.M. Emrys
Aug 02, 2013 D.E.M. Emrys rated it it was amazing
My world has ended.

And it’s all because of Mark Lawrence.

‘Emperor of Thorns’ was released yesterday in the UK, and even at a hefty 592 pages I finished it this morning…Rome might not have been built in a day, but like I said at the beginning of this review, Mark Lawrence has ended my world in less than 24 hours.

If you’re unfamiliar with Lawrence’s ‘Broken Empire’ trilogy, then you must have been sleeping under a rock for the past few years because its gathered so much attention from reviewer and
Aug 17, 2013 Ann rated it it was amazing
Some authors will squander chapter upon chapter, of a sequel, rehashing all that has gone before. In case in your slow wit you have forgotten the vitae of a novel.
Others, will throw you in at the deep end, and kick you in the balls on the way down.
And make you enjoy the experience.

Looks pointedly at Mark Lawrence.
Feb 27, 2016 José rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dark Fantasy Fans
Reseña en español en el blog: Click Aquí

“This is where the wise man turns away. This is where the holy kneel and call on God. These are the last miles, my brothers. Don't look to me to save you. Don't think I will not spend you. Run if you have the wit. Pray if you have the soul. Stand your ground if courage is yours. But don't follow me.

Follow me, and I will break your heart.”

It's been almost two months since I finished Emperor of Thorns and that quote still gives me chills...

I'm still at
Oct 06, 2014 BL834 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

That's inadequate for a review? Allow me to expand:

Jorg grew up in "King" but he matured in "Emperor". Torture is no longer entertainment, people are no longer expendable by default, ambition is no longer solely reason enough. That's not to say that there isn't torture, that people don't get spent like currency, or that ambition isn't followed to the bitter end... but now Jorg really feels each loss even as he witnesses and/or causes it. Emotionally painful.

Unexpected plot twists hide al
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Thoughts 3 40 Nov 10, 2015 01:36AM  
Amazing writer 4 56 Apr 23, 2015 01:11PM  
A Million More Pages: 3 - Emperor of Thorns (The Broken Empire): May 2 3 21 Apr 18, 2015 09:28PM  
SciFi and Fantasy...: Broken Empire (Emperor of Thorns) Ending confusing. *Spoilers* 1 140 Aug 06, 2014 09:07PM  
Fantasy Book Club...: Emperor of Thorns-Finished/Spoil away 9 170 Jan 31, 2014 05:42PM  
Fantasy Book Club...: Emperor of Thorns--Planning/started to read-No Spoilers 8 48 Jan 23, 2014 09:37AM  
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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)
  • Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #1)
  • King of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #2)

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“This is where the wise man turns away. This is where the holy kneel and call on God. These are the last miles, my brothers. Don't look to me to save you. Don't think I will not spend you. Run if you have the wit. Pray if you have the soul. Stand your ground if courage is yours. But don't follow me.

Follow me, and I will break your heart.”
“No half measures. Some things can’t be cut in half. You can’t half-love someone. You can’t half-betray, or half-lie.” 91 likes
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