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

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  7,139 ratings  ·  784 reviews
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 of by all.

The Red Queen’s grandson, Prince Jalan Kendeth—drinker, gambler
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by Ace (first published June 3rd 2013)
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Vivian No romance. Jalan is a cad so there are plenty of mentions of sex and wenching.…moreNo romance. Jalan is a cad so there are plenty of mentions of sex and wenching.(less)
Steven Zimmerman they do go together but you won't notice you're missing something if you havent read the others.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mark Lawrence
May 01, 2015 Mark Lawrence added it  ·  (Review from the author)
EDIT: Prince of Fools is on the long-list for this year's Gemmell Legend Award.


Voting in the Gemmell Awards is free, takes 2 clicks, and requires no registration! Please support the award by voting, even if it's not for my book :)


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 f
Khanh (Clowns, Nightmares, and Bunnies)
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
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.
Myke Cole
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

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
Alienor ✘ French frowner ✘

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 contains several sparks of awesomeness, they were unfortunately too often drowned in a river of boredom.

As usual with Mark Lawr
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
Bookworm Sean
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
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
Bob Milne
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
TS Chan
What a thoroughly enjoyable and refreshing experience. As I had been only listening to audiobooks for rereads, this was the first time I did so for an initial read. I enjoyed the narration so much that I'd actually prefer to listen to than read this book (which was why it took me so long to finish a book of this length). Tim Gerard Reynolds' voice acting of Prince Jalan Kendeth was absolute perfection.

I'm a liar and a cheat and a coward, but I will never, ever, let a friend down. Unless of cour
$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.)
Marc Aplin
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
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
I'm running a Giveaway for two copies of Prince of Fools between March 15 and April 15. Check out for more details

“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
Alex Ristea
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
Milo (Bane of Kings)
The Review:

“An excellent novel that should please fans of the Broken Empire Trilogy and newcomers to Mark Lawrence’s work alike. You really should check this out.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields

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 T
T.O. Munro
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
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
As a fan of the Broken Empire series I started Prince of Fools with some mild apprehension. I love the way Mark Lawrence writes, but other people, who already read the book, often used the word ‘different’ to describe it and I didn’t like different. I wanted the same, whatever this particular blend was I previously liked so much.

I opened the book and got different. It was a great story, that I started to enjoy from the first moment and with a definite ‘Mark Lawrence-ness’ quietly rumbling deep d
Best book from this author yet, great storyline brilliant plots and edge of the seat combat and twists and turns.

Very likable characters, looking forward to reading the rest of the series when written.
Paul Nelson
I listened to the Prince of Fools on audiobook, so I’ll first comment on the narrator, Sean Ohlendorf, at first I wasn’t sure whether he had that suitable voice, you know the one that will get you invested in the story almost immediately but he sort of grew on me the further I got. I finished thinking he’d probably got the perfect voice for the role of Prince Jalan, a somewhat pampered royal tone entwined with the voice of the second protagonist Snorri Ver Snagason, a huge Norse axeman. The stor ...more
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
** this review was also just posted at***

Prince Jalan Kendeth is the black sheep of the family. A self-confessed untrustworthy scoundrel and coward who has taken every advantage of the life of luxury that comes with being royalty, he is perfectly content with his life as it is and has no plans to change or inclination for greater things. However, when he crosses paths with a courageous Viking named Snorri, Jal discovers that he may have been destined to stand against an
Lielisks "kvests" ar nesarežģītu pasauli, it kā minimālu, bet visu laiku klātesošu, maģijas un mošķu devu un foršiem varoņiem. Princis Džalens ir cinisks egoists un uzdzīvotājs, kuram rūp tikai un vienīgi viņa pakaļa (atvainojiet). Viņam blakus vikings Snorri ar savu bīstamo kaujas cirvi izskatās pēc morāli pareiza cilvēka. Divi tik atšķirīgi cilvēki veido lielisko pāri. Atliek vien ar smaidu sejā un bailēs tirpstošām rokām (dažās grāmatas vietās) sekot viņu piedzīvojumiem ceļā uz ziemeļiem. Vai ...more
Jonathan Gibson
My initial thoughts after reading the ARC copy of Prince of Fools:

I really enjoyed it! Mark Lawrence had me laughing and smiling throughout. His sense of humor translated really well, it was a strong point for me. Also, I really like Vikings! Snorri was a great companion to Jalan, I won't forget that duo anytime soon. I liked Lawrence's imaginative creations with the bonfire monster and the unborn as well. They were great, and sad, in the case of the unborn. Jorg's cameo was well done, too. I l

Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic

ANALYSIS: Last year after finishing off his debut trilogy in grand style, Mark Lawrence left his readers further conflicted about his main character Jorg, the bleak world encapsulated within & how he capped off the story. This incredible review by Jared does manage to capture in strong essence why so many readers have been conflicted (as well as in awe of) about this series. Beware though it has major spoilers for the entire trilogy but it along with
Review from Fixed on Fantasy.

I was a massive fan of Mark Lawrence's The Broken Empire trilogy; it had a brutally honest, raw and sadistic protagonist in Jorg, a dry, witty brand of humour and was one of the most well executed settings of post-apocalyptic Earth I have encountered.

With his latest novel, Prince of Fools, Lawrence decided there was more to be found within the world of The Broken Empire and we follow the journey of the somewhat cowardly Prince Jal, which occurs alongside the events o
K.Z. Freeman
Again with the "on par" thing... god dammit, this is better! I swear it on my left testicle. Actually, I'm so confident that this is better I swear it on all my future offspring (both testicles).

While this tome obviously doesn't sport the intricacies of Martin's crazy POV-hopping, it has it's own deliciousness wrapped up in it, out of which you simply get more enjoyment. Yes, simply.

That being said, I met the pages of this book with too much of a fanboy glee to give it an unbiased review. But I'
Loved the main character and his antics at home, but I lost interest after the circus made its appearance. Will try again another time.
I was worried about how much I would like this novel. I loved The Broken Empire trilogy and Jorg Ancrath in general and having an all new character come in and fill those shoes made me nervous. Especially since Jalan Kendeth is a coward, one of the two personality traits I hate in a person, the other being a white and shining knight.

Lawrence doesn’t disappoint though. This novel is a treatise on character development. The prose and the wit from Jal in never ending and amazing, there were hundred
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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)
Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #1) King of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #2) Emperor of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #3) The Liar's Key (The Red Queen's War, #2) Sleeping Beauty (The Broken Empire, #2.5)

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“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.” 51 likes
“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.” 46 likes
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