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 he hung pinned on the thorns of a briar patch and watched Count Renar's men slaughter his mother and young brother, Jorg has been driven to vent his rage. Life and death are no more than a game to him--and he has nothing left to lose. But treachery awaits him in his father's castle. Treachery and dark magic. No matter how fierce his will, can one young man conquer enemies with power beyond his imagining?
Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath, 14, mastermind, ruthless and determined. Mark Lawrence has created one of the most controversial and intriguing characters I have ever come across. Whether you like him or loathe him, his journey is one that is captivating and will make you read until either he is successful in his journey to win the game of thrones and become emperor or he is defeated by his demons and the perils he encounters. Either way, you’re in for one hell of a fast paced and brutal story of revenge, betrayal and slaughter.
The story starts with a brutal and devastating scene, just after a massacre of a town by Jorg and his small band of debauched individuals. It must be said that this book is not for the faint hearted. However, I found Mark Lawrence so eloquent that even when describing scenes of carnage he does so in a poetic way.
“Ravens! Always the ravens. They settled in the gables of the church even before the injured became the dead. Even before Rike had finished taking fingers from hands, and rings from fingers. I leaned back against the gallows post and nodded to the birds, a dozen of them in a black line, wise-eyed and watching.
The town-square ran red. Blood in the gutters, bloom on the flagstones, blood in the fountain. The corpses posed as corpses do. Some comical, reaching for the sky with missing fingers, some peaceful, coiled about their wounds. Flies rose above the wounded as they struggled. This way and that, some blind, some sly, all betrayed by their buzzing entourage.
“Water! Water!” It’s always water with the dying. Strange, it’s killing that gives me thirst.”
Set in a medieval type setting where society is fractured, law and order is confined to within castle gates and kingdoms wage war against one another, themes of torture, violence and even rape are prevalent. Yet, after reading numerous reviews before committing to the read I expected a lot more debauchery to a point where I would become utterly disgusted and unable to continue with the book, this was not the case and in essence it added to the overall situation and setting.
Throughout the story it alternates between past and present, it’s one of those books you can’t put down because of the engrossing storylines. The past depicts Jorg’s encounter with the men of Count Renar and the murder of his mother and younger brother William, it tells us of his teachings and his time with his tutor. It also explains the origins of his band of men. Although each character is fascinating, not much is told of their background, this is probably because it is through the mind of a 14 year old psychopath who cares little for these things. There’s a lot of action throughout, Prince Jorg has many obstacles in his way in his quest for vengeance. Necromancers, witches, mutants and those in his own company threaten to halt his journey to the throne and Prince Jorg will do anything, and I mean anything to dispatch of these threats.
A beautifully written and brilliantly crafted story of one boy’s indomitable quest for vengeance, a unique fantasy world which as you delve deeper reveals more of its history that also grabs the attention of the reader even more. I have to admit that my reviewing schedule was completely put on hold due to this book and the rest of the series, I have read all three books and would love to divulge the secrets and tell how Jorgs tale ends but that wouldn’t be fair. All I can say is that it has become one of my all-time favourite book series’ and I cannot wait to read more of Mark Lawrence’s work.