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Emperor of Thorns

(The Broken Empire #3)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  46,411 ratings  ·  2,617 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 Edition, 592 pages
Published August 1st 2013 by Harper Voyager
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Mark Lawrence
Aug 08, 2012 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Just couple of ratings needed to reach 40,000!

All reviews very much appreciated :)

Finished the Broken Empire trilogy and want more? Check out Road Brothers for backstories on Jorg and friends!

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

If you've read The Red Queen's War trilogy, the Book of the Ancestor trilogy, and the Impossible T
Jeffrey Keeten
May 24, 2013 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
Sep 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5/5 Stars

Emperor of Thorns marks the conclusion of The Broken Empire trilogy and I must say, despite my lukewarm and dislike towards the first and second book, I end up enjoying the last book in the trilogy more than I expected.

Jorg, now 20 years old, is on his way to become the Emperor of the Broken Empire but there’s a looming threat that’s coming for him and the Broken Empire itself, the Dead King. EoT managed to wrap the main storyline wonderfully, the entire climax of the trilogy between
Mar 28, 2013 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
Nov 29, 2012 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
Petros Triantafyllou
Emperor of Thorns is Mark Lawrence's greatest work up to date (The Wheel of Osheim is out).

"If i come back from Congression and I'm still not Emperor, I'm not going to be in the mood for excuses."

Emperor of Thorns, just like it's predecessors, is featuring two different POVs of the same character. One in the past, covering the time period between the events of the second and third book, while the other, in the present, is following Jorg's tale in the path of conquering and uniting the Broken Em
Rick Riordan
Feb 19, 2014 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
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grimdark, fantasy, library
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
Apr 06, 2014 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
Sean Barrs
Mar 15, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 1-star-reads
This is a book I really wanted to like. And this is a series I thought I’d love.

Now I know I’m arguing against the tide, Mark Lawrence is one of the leading names in grimdark fantasy. He has done exceptionally well for himself. I just don’t get on with the way he writes. I hate the way he puts words together and I hate his characters. His stories just don’t work for me. And I’m not going to attempt to objectify my opinion here and talk about literary quality. I am happy to say that it is my
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

I am completely blown away. What a great ending to a great series!

Jorg is on his way to Congression knowing he must become Emperor and unite the Hundred against the Dead King. Jorg knows that only united will they be able to stand against him.

As with the other books in the series, the author bounces between several time periods to tell this story. The process creates a captivating world dominated with strong characters you can't help but enjoy. Jorg more than any other shines. I was never sure i

May 13, 2015 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
Will M.
Dec 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, fantasy, 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.
Milda Page Runner
If you must run, have something to run toward, so it feels less like cowardice. And if you must run to something, why not make it the empire throne? Something suitably distant and unobtainable. After all, getting everything you wish for is nearly as dire a curse as having all your dreams come true.

Good and thought provoking book and a fitting ending to trilogy, although it didn’t blow my mind the way King of Thorns did. Whilst I enjoyed the story for the most part (except the gruesome bits) I fo
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2020-shelf
While this book might appear to be one of those love/hate things, I have to admit that Jorg, the character I love to hate, is awfully compelling.

Sure, he's a right bastard and he'll never mince words when the sword of the blade will do the job quicker, but beyond that, he's all about RESULTS. He never takes half-measures. Whether it's about living life, saving people, or murdering ANYONE who gets in his way, be they loyal or antagonistic, he never, ever, takes half-measures.

I admit I love that a
Inocan Andrei
Jul 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good end to the series. If in volume 2 the narrative lines were a bit confusing for me at times, in this volume I did not have this problem. And that end .... I warmly recommend the whole series.
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
TS Chan
Jul 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Emperor of Thorns was a satisfying conclusion. As the title of the book suggests, the inimitable Honorous Jorg Ancrath, was paving the way to getting himself crowned emperor of the broken empire at the Congression at the Gilden Gates of Vyene where the Hundred gather every four years to vote. The reason why the empire stayed broken till today was simply because no one ever managed to swayed a majority vote. However, this is Jorg we’re talking about, and this young man really knows how to play hi ...more
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Broken Empire trilogy is an amazingly well written, witty, rich with action and magic dystopia.
A multitude of well developed, twisted and unique characters is what, in part, makes this series so interesting.
We start our journey among a bloody brotherhood of the road, dumbfounded by disturbingly crude and grim narration of their atrocities, committed with unsettling triviality. LET THE ADVENTURE BEGIN.
(I've noticed a lot of readers complaining about the "unnecessary and extreme" violence of
samantha  Bookworm-on-rainydays
This whole series is fantastic...dark and disturbing and extremely well written I would recommend this series to both fantasy and non-fantasy readers alike.
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Thank you Mark for this great and amazing trilogy.
I recommend this to everyone. It got it's own magic, something I can't pin out.
RTC(Damn you university)
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
Nov 16, 2012 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
“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.”
3 stars
I don’t know why but for some reason, I just couldn’t really get into this book, which is a shame because I really liked the 2 previous books in the trilogy. Even though more things were supposed to happen, it just seemed a bit bleh to me…

I started reading it a couple months ago, but couldn’t
Liviu Szoke
Brilliant though unexpected ending for one of the most beautiful and violent fantasy series I have ever read. Everything fits perfect, from de characters' destinies to the plot's ending. And the SF elements are also perfectly integrated, making this story even more intriguing. Despite Jorg Ancrath being despised by a lot of people, I think he is the most interesting character ever to step between the pages of a book. Highly recommended. ...more
‘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
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I unfortunatley lack the time to elaborate, so I'll make this short.
Thank you Mark Lawrence, for one GLORIOUS trilogy. I'm absolutely confident that had the books weren't dark enough to diminish their audience, they were as popular as other awesome "mainstream" series (Sanderson's, Rothfuss's, Lynch's, etc.)

The biggest non-spoiler question in these books is: how in hell do we get to root (and dare I say, love) for Jorg's success? That awful murderer, rapist, monster.

“It's what I am, and i
4 Stars


I still love that ending, although it confuses the hell out of me. While reading I never had the feeling I actually understood everything. I still like the characters and their development, I like the way the story continues and ends in this and I love the way the story is told from different timelines.
I recommend reading this if you enjoy reading about the more antagonistic and fearsome characters :)
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Time heals all wounds, but often it’s only by the application of the grave, and while we live some hurts live with us, burning, making us twist and turn to escape them. And as we twist, we turn into other men."

"Perhaps I just wanted to know what it was that I wanted. Maybe that is all that growing up means."

"Nothing can be cut away without loss. Even the worst of our memories is part of the foundation that keeps us in the world."
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great ending to one of the best fantasy series I've read. One of the few occasions in fantasy when a trilogy didn't somehow turn into 19 books, 3 novellas and a papyrus scroll. That (relative) brevity allowed this series to go out on a high and without any major drag in the middle.

As with the previous books in the series this one was driven by the protagonist Jorg. I wouldn't call him my "favourite" fantasy protagonist in terms of wanting to be mates with him but he was undoubtedly one of the m
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: Emperor of Thorns [May 10, 2018] 230 75 Jun 16, 2018 09:16AM  
Thoughts 3 84 Nov 10, 2015 01:36AM  
Amazing writer 4 67 Apr 23, 2015 01:11PM  
A Million More Pages: 3 - Emperor of Thorns (The Broken Empire): May 2 3 24 Apr 18, 2015 09:28PM  
SciFi and Fantasy...: Broken Empire (Emperor of Thorns) Ending confusing. *Spoilers* 1 208 Aug 06, 2014 09:07PM  
Fantasy Book Club...: Emperor of Thorns-Finished/Spoil away 9 229 Jan 31, 2014 05:42PM  

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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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