Four years have passed since the Prince of Thorns, Jorg Ancrath forged his place atop a fractured and broken throne won with the blood of his brothers and those who dared to stand in his way. Now, the Price of Arrows threatens all that the newly proclaimed King Jorg has taken. Marching twenty thousand strong to his doorstep, the Price of Arrowshas Jorg’s number but not his thirst and talent for bloodshed. KING OF THORNS pits Jorg against a worthy foe, albeit a mere mortal who just might cut the killing king down to size. Might.
KING OF THORNS is really a novel of two tales. For the better part, the present day battle and attempted take-over of Jorg’s kingdom is secondary to the throw-back chapters of four years prior. Despite the aptly titled, King of Thorns, more than half is a direct sequel to PRINCE OF THORNS with a dedicated and elaborate focus on Jorg forging alliances with other amenable states in the preparation of war some three months after taking the throne. This does well to link the allegiances we see in the present day confrontation and gives context to the relationships between the newer characters introduced across the Broken Empire.
As for the ‘wedding day’ story arc set in the present, as the chapter title suggest, this is a single event of monolithic proportions which, not only provides Jorg with a wife and Queen to his kingdom, but a clever and strong minded companion who aides the war effort in more ways than one. Author Mark Lawrence does a great job at providing some redeemable qualities to his very tainted and horribly violent lead character – the introduction of the bride-to-be helps with that.
Initially I was taken aback by the continued references to the back-story, after all there is a whole book dedicated to the Prince prior to becoming King yet as the novel progresses these chapters became more and more relevant and enhanced the present day storyline.
While the fantastical elements are obvious, the medieval, strategic warfare, and futuristic components add a nice touch to KING OF THORNS, making this one of the more enjoyable and distinct concepts in the genre.