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

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  32,411 ratings  ·  2,699 reviews
A stunning fantasy debut from a major new talent!

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
Hardcover, 324 pages
Published August 2nd 2011 by Ace Hardcover (first published August 2011)
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Zerkezhi Depends on what he's used to. I would've read it as a 12 year old, but I never gave much thought to age restriction/recommendations...if you consider…moreDepends on what he's used to. I would've read it as a 12 year old, but I never gave much thought to age restriction/recommendations...if you consider casual rape, slaughter and violence to be inappropriate, then no.(less)
Christian There's all kinds of romance out there. for example the love of family one is driven to kill a lot of people. But as far as a between a boy and girl…moreThere's all kinds of romance out there. for example the love of family one is driven to kill a lot of people. But as far as a between a boy and girl NO at least not in the first book. (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
Jan 20, 2015 Mark Lawrence added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: mine

My next book Prince of Fools has been released!

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 Prince of Thorns on Goodreads!
I cant 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, Paks 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.
I ca
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
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
Oct 12, 2013 Lazy Seagull rated it 1 of 5 stars
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.
Dec 26, 2012 Carol. rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one, really
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 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
"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
Wendell Adams
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 at 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
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
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
*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
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
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
Alexandru Mihalcea
Duality is perhaps hardest to accept in ourselves, of all things. We claim that "thought" and "love" make us human and we relentlessly ignore our darker side, a clearer glimpse of which would make even the most vicious predator of the animal kingdom flee in terror. To know a man is to try walking in his shoes, and throughout these three books you will fight tooth and nail to get out of Jorg Ancrath's bloodied boots. Truth be told, you're a hero if you make it past the first pages. You'll hate th ...more
Prince of Thorns is definitely a very intriguing read. I'd first come to know of it through Jason Chan's wonderful cover (from his blog), and bought the book shortly after.

The cover is an instant win, and as for the content?

I loved it and finished pretty quickly, props to Mark Lawrence for creating such a violence infested yet believable world. Jorg's psychotic nature would have been repulsive in any other setting, or any less developed setting, but Mr. Lawrence anchored him and his no-so-merry
Lillian Hong
Barely got into the first few pages and I love it.

---------------AFTER READING-----------------

First of all, let me narrow down the audience: those who can not handle the darker side of Medieval England are advised to GTFO. Go home and enjoy your happy-ending Disney tales. There will be enough rape, murder, and other delightful things in this book that will make softer readers a bit uncomfortable.

Second: if you're looking for a hero, move along. This Prince Charming lost his golden heart a long

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
Ranting Dragon

Prince of Thorns is the spectacular debut novel of talented new British author, Mark Lawrence. The first installment in the Broken Empire trilogy, it promises to be one of the most exciting releases of 2011. Dark, captivating, relentless and haunting, this brilliant epic fantasy more than delivers in all regards.

Imagine the earth as a desolate wasteland. The dead rest uneasily and hundreds of claimants battle for various thrones across the Broken Empire. N

Full review, by Stephan and I, published under The Ranting Dragon

Also, an interview with the author.

Prince of Thorns is the spectacular debut novel of talented new British author, Mark Lawrence. The first installment in the Broken Empire trilogy, it promises to be one of the most exciting releases of 2011. Dark, captivating, relentless and haunting, this brilliant epic fantasy more than delivers in all regards.

Imagine the earth as a desolate wasteland. The dead rest uneasily and hu
In fantasy novels, you’ll find legions of heroes. There are at least half as many again anti-heroes. And then, there’s Prince Jorg of Ancrath.

“When they killed him, Mother wouldn’t hold her peace, so they slit her throat. I was stupid then, being only nine, and I fought to save them both. But the thorns held me tight. I’ve learned to appreciate thorns since. The thorns taught me the game. They let me understand what all those grim and serious men who’ve fought the Hundred War have yet to learn.
Jun 05, 2013 Nermin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of gritty fantasy, The First Law Fans
Recommended to Nermin by: myself :p
Shelves: fantasy, series
If Kvothe and Prince Joffrey could somehow come together and have a love child, that child would be Prince Jorg. This fourteen year old prince is one arrogant nasty little bastard, raping girls and killing innocent people, but at the end of the day you find yourself rooting for this vengeful psycho. How does that happen? I DON'T KNOW, but it happens. And I find that I don't even feel guilty about it. Yet I understand people who don't enjoy the book and are disturbed by it.

There are a very few ch
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
This "hero" is a sociopath. I get that. But though his general psychopathic violence is disturbing enough, when he refers to rape almost as an aside, I get particularly angry. Our society is already inured enough to violence which is awful. Do we need to look at rape as akin to burning a house down or killing livestock? I know which I would never choose.

I've read the passage from the book which occurs in the first chapter and you can, too:

(view spoiler)
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Portland Reddit F...: Looking forward to seeing everybody tonight 2 18 Dec 21, 2014 04:41PM  
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Why???? 7 211 Oct 30, 2014 04:17PM  
You'll love this ...: Prince of Thorns 74 42 Sep 27, 2014 06:26AM  
A Foray Into Fantasy: First Impressions? 11 40 Aug 10, 2014 12:03PM  
question: please the prince.... 11 137 Jul 30, 2014 01:06PM  
A Foray Into Fantasy: Final Thoughts? 6 24 Jul 23, 2014 09:34PM  
  • Among Thieves (Tales of the Kin, #1)
  • The Red Knight (The Traitor Son Cycle, #1)
  • Theft of Swords (The Riyria Revelations, #1-2)
  • The Heroes
  • The Thousand Names (The Shadow Campaigns, #1)
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  • Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage, #1)
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  • Malice (The Faithful and the Fallen #1)
  • Knife Sworn (Tower and Knife Trilogy, #2)
  • Scourge of the Betrayer (Bloodsounder's Arc, #1)
  • Shadow's Son (Shadow Saga, #1)
  • Forge of Darkness (The Kharkanas Trilogy #1)
  • The Black Prism (Lightbringer, #1)
  • The Ten Thousand (The Macht #1)
  • The Dragon's Path (The Dagger and the Coin, #1)
  • Miserere: An Autumn Tale
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[My next book The Liar's Key is out in June 2015]

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 b
More about Mark Lawrence...

Other Books in the Series

The Broken Empire (3 books)
  • King of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #2)
  • Emperor of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #3)
King of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #2) Emperor of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #3) Prince of Fools (The Red Queen’s War, #1) Sleeping Beauty (The Broken Empire, #2.5) Select Mode (The Broken Empire, #1.5)

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“Tell me, tutor,' I said. 'Is revenge a science, or an art?” 251 likes
“There’s something brittle in me that will break before it bends.” 179 likes
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