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Prince of Fools (The Red Queen's War #1)

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  11,717 Ratings  ·  1,107 Reviews
First in a brand new series from the author of The Broken Empire Trilogy.

The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire dread her like no other. For all her reign she has fought the long war, contested in secret, against the powers that stand behind nations, for higher stakes than land or gold. Her greatest weapon is The Silent Sister—unseen by most and unspoken o
Kindle Edition, Reprint, 367 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by Ace (first published June 2013)
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Vivian No romance. Jalan is a cad so there are plenty of mentions of sex and wenching.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mark Lawrence
Jun 03, 2016 Mark Lawrence added it  ·  (Review from the author)
STOP PRESS - the trilogy is complete! The Wheel of Osheim is out!

All the blog reviews so far:

Well... I kinda liked it.

One thing I didn't want to do was give you Jorg again in new clothes - I didn't want to put the reader straight back through the emotional wringer and build another defiant young man. But I do enjoy writing in the first person and the Broken Empire feels as though it's big enough to host a few more tales yet. So I give y
Khanh (the Grinch)
Battles are all about strategy, and strategy pivots on priorities. Since my priorities were Prince Jalan, Prince Jalan, and Prince Jalan, with “looking good” a distant fourth, I took the opportunity to resume running away.
Replace "Prince Jalan" with "Khanh" in those sentences, and you got me down to a Tee. Which might go a long way towards explaining why I loved the main character so much.

The thing is, I don't like a knight in shining armor. I like them tarnished, covered in mud, or better yet
Robin Hobb
Apr 18, 2014 Robin Hobb rated it it was amazing
I was very fortunate to receive this book as an ARC (Advance Reading Copy.) I've enjoyed Mark Lawrence's work before, and I knew that he had a wry twist of humor that he can inject into the darkest of scenes. I was not prepared for 'laugh out loud' moments, especially not when our heroes are in danger up to their brows!
There are special rewards in store here for readers of the The Broken Empire series.
Highly recommended.
Peter Tr
Jul 25, 2016 Peter Tr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I bought this book 1,5 year (or so) ago. All this time it was resting in my special bookcase (I have 2 bookcases, the regular one, and the special one for my favorite authors) across my room. I was looking at it, and it was staring back. We fell in love, but i consider myself a gentleman, so i never lay a hand, not until the wedding at least (publication of the 3rd & final book).

Four days ago i decided it was time. I said to myself "Let's start it today Pet, and read it in 15-20 days, to ext
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

My rating is 3.5 stars.

The Broken Empire trilogy stands as a seminal work in the fantasy genre, a grimdark extravagance which turned many a head. Jorg Ancrath an unforgettable protagonist who changed the genre forever in my mind. Mark Lawrence’s brilliance as a storyteller a revelation. But like all stories, no matter how great, Jorg’s personal journey came to an end, and fans of the series cried out for more! This fascinating post-apocalyptic world too gloriou
Jeffrey Keeten
Mar 31, 2016 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
”I’m a liar and a cheat and a coward, but I will never, ever, let a friend down. Unless of course not letting them down requires honesty, fair play or bravery.”

Prince Jalan Kendeth is tenth in line for the throne. His grandmother, the spry 70 year old Red Queen, may have prudently dropped him down the list due to a whole host of his self inflicted bouts of poor conduct. He doesn’t exactly stipulate his disgruntlement, but we get the idea that he believes he might be more deserving of, say, eight
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE)

Edit 10/15 : Rereading my fave parts before FINALLY starting The Liar's Key next week (yes, this book needed vacations time^^)

The day I give a 3 to Mark Lawrence's work isn't a good day in my book. Now, if I refer to the GR scale, a 3 means that I liked it, so it's by no means a bad rating. Anyway, I wasn't blown away and couldn't give it more, sadly. Would I have loved Prince of Fools more if I wasn't such a fan of Jorg of Ancrath? Maybe.

The fact is, even though Jalan and Snorri's journey con
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
BR with my MacHalo Freaks starting Oct. 1, 2015.

DNF at 35%. And it took me two whole months to get there.

I'm sorry. I can't do this. Even though I'm in love with Jal. Sigh. It was a beautiful thing, what Jal and I had. It was love at first page. He said:
I’m a liar and a cheat and a coward, but I will never, ever, let a friend down. Unless of course not letting them down requires honesty, fair play, or bravery [...] I’ve always found hitting a man from behind to be the best way to go about thin
Myke Cole
Apr 17, 2014 Myke Cole rated it it was amazing
When there are no choices, all men are equally brave.

This quote captures the spirit of Lawrence's latest book, which marks an unbroken and steady ascent to the top of my favorite-fantasy pile. Like Abercrombie, Rothfuss, Brett and Polansky, Lawrence gets better with each book he writes, the experience he provides the reader more nuanced and diverse, while keeping to the mainstays that made his Broken Empire trilogy so amazing.

In Jal and Snorri, we see the familiar pairing of dark-humored prince
Dec 30, 2014 seak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014

Three times.

That's how many times I attempted this book before it stuck. Three. (Could I be more annoying?)

Each time I picked up the book, I couldn't stand the main character, Prince Jalan. Hated him in fact. Yes, it was written superbly, it's Mark Lawrence for crying out loud. Yes, he was witty and hilarious and I already wanted to write down 10 quotes in just as many pages.

Such as this brilliant social commentary:
“We all practice self-deception to a degree; no man can handle complete hon
Bookworm Sean
Feb 13, 2016 Bookworm Sean rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 1-star-reads
The Broken Empire Trilogy had such a terrible ending that it should have kept me away from this author for good. But, alas, I was taken in by the write up of this and thought I’d give the author another shot. I most ardently regret it. I should have been wise enough to avoid this book because I found Mark Lawrence’s other novels rather confused and a little jumbled. This is no less true with this one. Indeed, this was a complete disappointment.

I know the ending

The main problem with this book
Jun 29, 2016 Gavin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was a fast paced and highly entertaining story. Mark Lawrence has a strange writing style, but lucky for me I find it very engaging. The story had a great blend of action, humour, and an interesting plot.

Prince Jalan of Red March is the wastrel grandson, and not even an important one, of the mighty Red Queen. The Red Queen, and her mage the Silent Sister, are in the midst of a war of intrigue. She seeks to counter the other members of The Hundred, the Dead King, and even the ghosts of the
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I am glad we’ve not heard the last of Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire, even if Jorg’s chapter of the saga has concluded. As far as endings go, that was a necessary and felicitous curtain call, even though I couldn’t be happier with the way things played out. But of course, that doesn’t mean I’ve had enough of this brilliant dark world.

Regarding his latest novel, Mark Lawrence has stated that what did not want to do was gi
Robin (Bridge Four)
This is a tale of two heroes
”Two heroes, one led willy-nilly by his cock, the other northward by his heart. Neither bringing their brain into any decision of import.

Prince Jal has been pretty useless his entire life. He is really a prince of no importance and mainly uses his status as a prince to get laid. However, he is one of the most likable horrible cads I’ve ever read. I loved his entire narrative and every messed up musing that he had throughout the book. He tells you right away everythi
TS Chan
Jul 28, 2016 TS Chan rated it it was amazing
All our lives are tales. Some spread, and grow in the telling. Others are just told between us and the gods, muttered back and forth behind our days, but those tales grow too and shake us just as fierce.

This is a tale of how a cowardly caddish Prince and a noble Viking warrior were joined together by fate to serve a greater and dangerous purpose. A pure narrative enjoyment deserving 5-stars and more!

June 2016: Buddy Read with BB&B - a reread before finishing the trilogy with the release of T
Mike (the Paladin)
Well, one of my friends has already expressed how...underwhelmed he is with this book. I suppose we can't all agree. I mean I'll give you that this is no great work of fiction. I'll also say up front that you've seen some of these actually you may have seen all these characters depending on how much fantasy and epic fantasy you've read.

But they're handled so well.

We meet our...hero(?) Jalan who is the quintessential rogue. As a matter of fact I think if you look up "rogue" in a
Bob Milne
Jun 18, 2015 Bob Milne rated it it was amazing
Mark Lawrence's The Broken Empire was something of a grimdark masterpiece, a fantasy trilogy with a dark protagonist, set in a time of post-apocalyptic darkness, and filled with acts of dark conquest. It wasn't just dark, it was violent and cruel in its execution - gloriously so. Anybody who expected The Red Queen's War to be more of the same is in for a shock. Both trilogies share the same deep, dark roots, but each has twisted and grown around its own unique protagonist.

Make no mistake, Prince
David Sven
Life is good for Prince Jalan, self professed coward, and tenth in line to the throne of the Red March where his grand mother, the Red Queens sits. Life is good for a prince who is important enough to demand some respect, but not important enough for anyone to care whether he drinks, gambles and wenches his way to oblivion.

“Humanity can be divided into madmen and cowards. My personal tragedy is in being born into a world where sanity is held to be a character flaw.”

So how then does Prince Jala
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela

I think there is a chance Mark Lawrence had this quote in mind when he conjured Prince of Fools as for me it was enthralling and gripping exploration of courage and fear and how one cannot exist without the other.

We follow a young Prince Jalen as he is swept up in an adventure that is for once not of his own design and, lik
$1.99 sale on Amazon, 4/14/15. Damn, dats cheap :P

Original Review

I’m not in the habit of buying expensive books from authors I’ve never tried before, I usually wait for a price drop on Amazon if I'm interested. But something about the blurb and cover spoke to me and I went for it with this one, which surprised me cuz damn, $10.99 for a kindle book?! I could’ve bought like, FIVE $1.99 books for the price of this ONE! (and I just blew you away with my mad math skillz, I know.)
Dec 08, 2015 Conor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lawrence
4.5 Stars

Prince of Fools was a funny and compelling read that kept me interested from start to finish. The story follows Jalan, a shallow, spoiled prince, as he embarks on a journey alongside a ferocious but honourable Viking warrior on a noble quest to a frozen wasteland to rescue his companion's imperiled wife and young son and lift a curse...while trying to find any opportunity to duck out of the whole thing and do some drinking and gambling. And wenching. The pacing in this book was awesome
Sh3lly ✨ Bring on the Weird ✨
All right. I'm feeling some major peer pressure to read this one. Buddy Read starting October 1, 2015 with my MacHalo freaks.

Want to read, but not sure at the same time.

Marc Aplin
Jun 27, 2014 Marc Aplin rated it it was amazing
Jalan has never had to think about anybody but himself. Grandson of perhaps the most feared, dangerous woman of all the Broken Empire things have always come easy to him. He has coin to gamble with, women to fumble with, and plenty of booze when he needs a break from either of those. Basically, Jalan is what Jorg (the protagonist from Mark Lawrence’s last series, The Broken Empire) could have been should he not have been forced to witness the murder of his mother and brother; the tragic event th ...more
Snorri Kristjansson
(Full disclosure - I have actually, physically *met* Mark Lawrence. Twice. Improbably, I am still alive so that therefore logically means we're, if not friends then at least familiar.)

After the Thorns trilogy, also known as The Happy Happy Times of Jorg Ancrath, I must confess that I was a little apprehensive. I knew Mark for a Good Egg, a merciless smiter of Internet Wafflers and a taker of no prisoners whatsoever. Would the first non-Jorg thing I'd read be more of the same? If I am to be perfe
Alex Ristea
Jun 29, 2014 Alex Ristea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It looks like we're going to have to talk about expectations again, because how can you not with this book?

Mark Lawrence blew me away with his Broken Empire trilogy, and has certainly made a name for himself in the genre. I am not the only one who was anxious to see how he would follow it up in this new series.

Spoiler alert: make that a big, fat YES.

One thing that has not changed is the quality of Mark's writing. It's as witty, pithy, and quotable as ever. Sometimes I'm half-convinced he's secre
T.O. Munro
Mar 22, 2014 T.O. Munro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In his afterthought at the end of Emperor of Thorns Mark Lawrence reflected on the risk he took in deciding that the Thorns works (unlike the Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy) would indeed finish emphatically and conclusively as the trilogy that the story demanded. In considering whether he should have surrendered to commercial opportunism and dragged more books out of our favourite anti-hero he wrote "in years to come when I'm eating cat food cold from a tin I may wish that I had." Well, Jorg's ...more
Sherwood Smith
I had no success with Mark Lawrence’s first book, Prince of Thorns, whose protagonist in the opening chapters proved to be a vicious, rapey jerk. Not for me. I donated the copy unfinished, mentally consigned Lawrence to the grimdark category, and moved on.

Well, a recent birthday gift was Lawrence's Prince of Fools, which at first I thought was the previous book—similar title and cover. But the giver insisted I take a look, I was sure to like it, etc.

Still mistaking it for Prince of Thorns I duti
Katrin von Martin
Unlike many other reviewers, I did not read Mark Lawrence’s previous “Broken Empire” trilogy before picking up “Prince of Fools.” This was one of those books that I picked up on a whim after seeing it several times in the bookstore. The fellow gracing the cover looked interesting and the premise laid out on the back of book sounded promising, so if nothing else, I was hoping for a fun ride through Lawrence’s take on a fantasy world. And I got it. “Prince of Fools” is easily one of the most enjo ...more
Nov 24, 2015 JAIME marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
DNF, because, let's be real. I'm never finishing this one. At this point, I would have to start again. So no.
Future-Jess ✮ The Book Eating Dinosaur ✮
"I'm a good runner any day of the week. Scared shitless I'm world class."

I went into this with a sense of trepidation. After my not so stellar experience with Prince Of Thorns, I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this bad boy. So colour me surprised that I ended up enjoying this quite a bit.

To help me decide on my final rating, I have decided to make a good old shit sandwich to explore my feelings about this book…

The bottom layer of bread – Things that worked

The characters in this sto
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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
More about Mark Lawrence...

Other Books in the Series

The Red Queen's War (3 books)
  • The Liar's Key (The Red Queen's War, #2)
  • The Wheel of Osheim (The Red Queen's War, #3)

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“I’m a liar and a cheat and a coward, but I will never, ever, let a friend down. Unless of course not letting them down requires honesty, fair play, or bravery.” 82 likes
“Humanity can be divided into madmen and cowards. My personal tragedy is in being born into a world where sanity is held to be a character flaw.” 74 likes
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