Voyager UK |

Emperor of Thorns: Published today!

Emperor of Thorns

Follow me, and I will break your heart. 

The final part in Mark Lawrence’s The Broken Empire trilogy, Emperor of Thorns, publishes today. For those of you who have been waiting to read this, you will not be disappointed. Here are just SOME of the reviews that have been filtering through and we expect many, many more to come. 

‘Every sentence is carefully crafted, a work of art and a pleasure to read.’ Peter V Brett

‘The entire series, and its latest installment, EMPEROR OF THORNS, deserves your attention. Be disgusted by it, be unsettled by it. But don’t ignore it.’ Myke Cole

‘Emperor of Thorns delivers a moving end to a trilogy that has been breathtakingly refreshing and compelling throughout .’ British Fantasy Society

‘In a genre fit to bursting with toadstools on Tolkien’s tomb Lawrence is a vibrant and original voice who blazes his own trail’  Mark Timmony, Booktopia (SFF & Fantasy Buzz)

‘the ending could well be the finest achievement of Mark Lawrence’s entire trilogy’ Fantasy-Faction

‘Mark Lawrence has written a brilliant and enthralling tale – a trilogy that has gripped from the first scene to the very last – and I, for one, can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.’ Starburst Magazine

‘ Lawrence wraps up the story of Jorg and the Broken Empire with pathos, care, deft, and surprising brevity’ SF Signal

‘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

‘WHAT AN ENDING. Needless to say, readers who have been following The Broken Empire up to this point will have no excuse to miss this. ’ The BiblioSanctum

‘A great trilogy. Dark fantasy at it’s grimmest and an absolute must read.’ Lynn’s Book Blog

Buy Emperor of Thorns: http://amzn.to/1bEV2kG
Start reading the trilogy with Prince of Thorns:http://amzn.to/M5Or6Q

Voyager UK |

Jane Johnson on Mark Lawrence’s The Broken Empire

Broken Empire

I remember the moment I started reading Mark Lawrence work with absolute clarity. Coming upon something extraordinary will do that to you –a song heard for the first time, a view glimpsed through trees, an expression on a lover’s face. I was sitting at my desk in our apartment in Morocco when a submission requiring swift reading popped into my inbox. Outside the sun was hot and bright; but inside a band of marauding raiders were intent on atrocity, fog wreathed the landscape and the dead were rising. And all of this was conveyed in prose so lyrical and precise that it took my breath away.

We bought the Broken Empire trilogy – PRINCE OF THORNS, KING OF THORNS and now EMPEROR OF THORNS – within 24 hours of that reading: something of a record in the slow-moving world of corporate publishing, and had to beat off every other UK publisher in the process. And here we are just 3 years later coming up to publication of the final volume.

Mark has written a fine blog on the subject of completing this chapter of The Broken Empire books in which he says it has been a journey. And indeed these books will carry you away and subject you to horror and beauty, misery and epiphany. Jorg does not at first appear to be the most appealing of protagonists: a charming but amoral young thug, hardened against the suffering of others to a terrifying degree. But, oh! as the books unfold themselves in their cunning, elegant fashion like some piece of clever origami, we come to see what has made Jorg who and what he is. We come not only to respect him but in the end to root for him; even to love him. That’s a trick not many seasoned novelists could pull off, let alone a debutant in the field.

People have compared Mark Lawrence to George RR Martin and Joe Abercrombie. Certainly, there’s an edge to his work that he shares with these two fine writers, a grittiness to the characters and the complex moral universe in which they operate; a way with words and of leavening the grim with laugh-out-loud lines. But there is also something deep and dark lurking in the prose, something that will sink its claws into you as surely as any hook-briar. Some readers have been strident in their negative reaction to the violence, though I hazard to suggest they have rather missed the point. And it’s true: Mark Lawrence will scar your soul. You’ll come away from reading him in an altered state – somewhere between elation and despair.

If you haven’t read his work yet, I urge you to do so. But I warn you now: it’s not for the faint-hearted. The journey is shocking. When I read KING OF THORNS I wrote to Mark: ‘This is shaping up to be the most extraordinary work of fantasy I have ever read: because you take such risks’. Those risks pay off brilliantly in EMPEROR OF THORNS. But don’t take my word for it. Read it and see what all the controversy is about.

Jane Johnson, HarperVoyager UK Publishing Director

Start reading The Broken Empire trilogy with Prince of Thorns

Read the second book in the series with King of Thorns

Finish the trilogy with Emperor of Thorns

Read an exclusive short story by Mark, set in Jorg’s world, right here, absolutely free 

Voyager UK |

Sleeping Beauty by Mark Lawrence

August sees the release of Emperor of Thorns, completing this chapter of  books. Mark has written a fine blog on this, in which he says it has been a journey. Jorg does not at first appear to be the most appealing of protagonists: a charming but amoral young thug, hardened against the suffering of others to a terrifying degree. But as the books unfold, we come not only to respect him but in the end to root for him; even to love him. That’s a trick not many seasoned novelists could pull off, let alone a debutant in the field.

If you need something to tide you over until Emperor of Thorns hits shelves in August, Mark has written a brilliant short story, featuring Jorg, which can be downloaded, for free, from the link below.

Sleeping Beauty

Download Sleeping Beauty 

Voyager UK |

Mark Lawrence on finishing The Broken Empire

Broken Empire

I’ve been putting off writing the ‘Goodbye to all that’ end cap to the Broken Empire trilogy for a long time. I could have written it before PRINCE OF THORNS was even published, before I had any inkling what it was like to have my work read by more than half a dozen people. The trilogy was complete in early 2011. I’ve avoided writing this for so long because the experience has been so multi-faceted and hard to pin down. It looks different from every angle. Each time I consider what I might say I come up with a different narrative.

On sending out copies of EMPEROR OF THORNS recently I’ve taken to adding in ‘Thanks for being part of the journey’. Because it definitely has been a journey, both for me and for Jorg Ancrath.

My own journey had been in two parts.

Firstly there’s been the writing: that isolated collection of late nights spent just pursuing Jorg Ancrath across the page – through his exploration of both the world he inhabits and the person he’s growing into. I don’t plan my stories. I don’t know what will happen next, not in the next chapter, not on the next page. I don’t know what’s coming, what secrets will spill out, who will die when, what the twist will be. I just type and it happens. It’s an endless what-if, what-next, a structured dreaming if you like. And so writing is for me the same adventure that reading is.

I’m very glad I wrote the trilogy before anyone started reading it. Not knowing if the work would sink or swim, not knowing if anyone would give a damn what happens, proved to be very freeing. My editor said on reading KING OF THORNS ‘it is shaping up to be the most extraordinary work of fantasy I have ever read: because you take such risks’. When I wrote it I wasn’t aware that I was taking any risks. When I wrote it I had no reader expectations to meet. It’s easiest to gamble when the stakes are low!

The second stage of my journey has been the watching. The internet gives modern authors the opportunity to see their work spread among the readers and read/listen/watch their reaction on blogs/podcasts/YouTube. Seeing the diversity of interpretation and response, and the passion with which those responses are often offered, has been as interesting in its way as having the story unfold before me on my laptop. I’ve loved interacting with the online reading community.

I’ve been asked about the difficulties in writing a story with many time layers and developing a character as I go. I sometimes feel I should wax lyrical about the skill and labour involved in order to lend gravitas to the end product. In truth though there’s been little effort required. The story flowed from my fingertips without stress or strain. I think in layers. I exist in layers. My past is always with me, informing my present. It seems only natural to write that way. And as for Jorg – he just grew, as children do whether you want them to or not. We’re built of memory and experience, we’re dynamic, evolving, and moments of crisis focus our past onto our present. This is as true of me at my desk and of at the person at the supermarket checkout as of Jorg Ancrath carving a path toward a throne.

Stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. I began with a character, I gave him a purpose, I grew him around it. And now it’s finished. There is, I feel, a power in knowing when to end something. Deciding to stop telling Jorg’s tale is doubtless not a wise move commercially. Received wisdom is if you find that rarest of things – something that works, something that sells – keep pushing it until it stops working/selling. The number of Aliens films is determined by market forces not aesthetics.

Jorg’s story is a trilogy. I hope that with EMPEROR OF THORNS I have quit while I’m ahead and on a high note. I hope that by stepping away I’ve left something of worth behind. Many stories are built to roll on. Many excellent characters are essentially static – the same formula applied to ever-changing problems to entertaining effect. Detectives just need crimes to solve. Sherlock Holmes could roll on forever. Secret agents need plots to foil. We could have twenty James Bond books or films and still want more. Jorg’s story however is primarily about Jorg. Ranging back in time to reveal his past, and forward to watch him grow, to watch him resolve the questions about who he will be. That’s the kind of story that when it’s done is done. To push it past its sell-by date would make caricature out of character and blunt revelation through repetition.

To everything there is a season, and Jorg’s tale has been told. The Broken Empire, however, is a different story – several in fact – and my next job is to sell you on another one.

Visit Mark’s blog

Buy the Broken Empire:
Prince of Thorns
King of Thorns
Emperor of Thorns 

Voyager Australia, Voyager UK |

Guest Blog – Mark Lawrence talks to Mark Lawrence about The Broken Empire

Mark Lawrence 2009 (aka OldMark) talks to Mark Lawrence 2012 (aka NewMark) about his journey so far and all things Prince of Thorns, King of Thorns, and his (their?) Broken Empire series…

It’s a sad turn of affairs when a chap has to interview himself…

OldMark:        Thanks, NewMark, for taking a moment to let me interview you. 2009 salutes you.

NewMark:       No problem. There’s loads of spare time in the future.

OldMark:        Wow! Really?

NewMark:       No.

OldMark:        OK. OK. We’re on a clock here. I get it. Sheesh. So tell me, am I rich and famous up there in the future? What’s 2012 like? Tell me they’ve found a cure for male pattern baldness.

NewMark:       We have hover-cars and my dreadlocks are down past my arse. I’m flying to all those book awards you haven’t heard of yet in my solid gold helicopter. How about we talk about the fuckin’ book? Focus!

OldMark:         OK. Got it. No lottery predictions, no small talk. Right King of Thorns, what should people know about it?

NewMark:       Well here’s the thing, OldMark. With Prince of Thorns I said very little concerning what it was about. I thought I’d set it out there and let the reader make up their mind. And what a lot of different things they thought! You simply wouldn’t believe it. But I won’t spoil it for you.
Of course like many books Prince of Thorns is about a collection of many different things all at once. Obviously it’s about a particular unfolding plot with a beginning, middle and end. But it’s also about

(i) the issue of nature vs nurture – was Jorg the product of his experience or would he have been a monster however idyllic his childhood?
(ii)  the ambiguities in responsibility and purpose that arise from the protagonist’s age
(iii) the disparity between what Jorg tells the reader about his motives and responsibility and what the reader actually deduces
(iv) the changes wrought in us through experience as opposed to those wrought by simply growing.

And running through all of that it’s about anger, passion, internal conflict … all that great stuff that pulses through literature. I don’t claim to have done a good job of it, but I do claim to have tried with honesty and without reserve.

OldMark:       And there’s me thinking I just wrote a story! Wonderful what a year of navel gazing will do for you. Anyhow. What does our navel say about King of Thorns? It doesn’t sound like there’s much left for it to be about?

NewMark:      When my editor (Jane Johnson, you’ve not met her yet, but you’re going to like her) read it she said in her editor’s letter: …it is shaping up to be the most extraordinary work of fantasy I have ever read: because you take such risks… 

Well I wasn’t aware I was taking risks as I wrote it but they seem to have worked for the readers so far. Will that hold true for the wider world? It’s nearly time to find out.

OldMark:       Yeah… but what’s it about?

NewMark:      Well, I’m gonna leave it pretty much open again and see what people tell me it’s about. Pretty clearly though it’s a reversal of established paths. The ‘chosen one’, the ‘golden and virtuous hero who has been foretold’… that ain’t Jorg. Jorg’s the guy in that guy’s way, the one scheduled for demolition and to be a footnote in the history books. That’s pretty much the starting point.

The other main thing I wanted to note is that Prince of Thorns was written as a standalone. King of Thorns is written as book two of three. It won’t leave you on an annoying cliff-hanger – it will be a self-contained and hopefully satisfying story – but it does contain elements that are enriched by the reading of the trilogy’s final book. There are small components of King that might appear a bit standard – they are not. There are parts of King where a line of story might seem to end before its time or evade some detail the reader would have liked followed up – these things are picked up, elaborated on, and completed in the final book.

OldMark:        So basically two years have passed and I’m just as tight-lipped as ever?

NewMark:      Yup.

OldMark:       So what about this whole author thing? How’s that working out for me? Is it fun? Have we done anything cool?

NewMark:     Well. I guess it’s like anything. Stuff’s rarely as good as you think it’s going to be. Anticlimax is the norm. So that’s where you’re lucky, OldMark. You didn’t ever entertain a burning desire to be an author and you didn’t build up an imaginary landscape of how great it would be. The main difference in your life is that all that spare time you never had and used to fill with PC games and writing, you still don’t have and now fill with twitter and facebook. You don’t write nearly as much as you used to because you’re less bored and there’s always someone wanting a chat or an interview or you have to recheck your Amazon or Goodreads ratings…

OldMark:       Sounds like you need to unplug the internet! Better still leave the computer room entirely and dig the typewriter out of the attic.

NewMark:     We’ve got a laptop now, with wireless internet. There’s no escape.

OldMark:       Cool! I always wanted a laptop.

NewMark:      Oh, and the economy really tanked. Your company laid off half its scientists before Christmas and the rest of us might be out on our ear before next Christmas.

OldMark:       Suckage. You’re not ever getting another job what with your caring responsibilities!

NewMark:      True. But it would give me time to write!

OldMark:       Or you could just exercise a little sodding self control and turn the internet off.

NewMark:     Yeah, yeah. Oh! That’s the other thing. Signed an options contract on the film and TV rights recently. Still an Everest to climb without oxygen before there’s any chance of an actual film, but hey, we’ve put our mountain boots on and got a ticket for base camp!

OldMark:      Oh shut up! If you’re just going to make stuff up this interview is over!

NewMark:     No, straight up! This guy from Hollywood- Hello? Hello? You still there? …

 

Prince of Thorns is out NOW!

King of Thorns will be available from the 16/08/2012 in the UK

http://princeofthorns.com/index.html

 

 

 

 

LIKE the Voyager Facebook page to unlock and read exclusive excerpts: https://www.facebook.com/#!/HarperVoyagerUK?sk=app_319631768109792

Voyager UK |

Guest Blog – King of Thorns – The Allure of Jorg

Today our guest blog is from Marc Aplin from Fantasy Faction. http://fantasy-faction.com/staff-members?uid=1

 Don’t forget to LIKE the Voyager Facebook page to unlock exclusive excerpts from King of Thorns: https://www.facebook.com/HarperVoyagerUK?ref=hl#!/HarperVoyagerUK/app_319631768109792

The Allure of Jorg Ancrath

When Prince of Thorns was released in 2011, and the character of Jorg Ancrath was exposed to the world, a wave tore through book review sites and genre blogs. This book, by a previously unknown author, Mark Lawrence, rejected many of the established tropes and pushed at boundaries that readers within the fantasy genre were not used to being tested.

That’s because there is no hero in Prince of Thorns, the protagonist does not seek redemption and in fact, if our protagonist achieves his objective, the whole world will fall under the command of an evil, evil young man. In fact, what made the first book so damned special was that you never knew what Jorg was going to do next, because he had absolutely no conscience, no moral compass. As a reader, you couldn’t rely on restraint, disgust or fear to hold him back.

So, I ask the question, readers, what on earth has propelled King of Thorns, the sequel to a book so dark and downright disturbing, to the top of fantasy readers’ most anticipated book lists? What is it about the character of Jorg and the setting of the Broken Empire that has propelled this debut author’s work, according to Amazon’s sales ranks, into the top 10 best selling fantasy books in the world? Before we begin I will offer you a bit of comfort and tell you that it’s probably not because you’re attracted to reading about death and despair (note: I did say probably!).

To begin with, being in the first person Prince of Thorns offers us a close relationship to our protagonist, Jorg. We therefore see the world through Jorg’s eyes and everything that we see includes, in some way, a thought, feeling or opinion from him. It is for this reason that we connect with Jorg because, essentially, when we pick up the book we become him. Writers such as Patrick Rothfuss and Douglas Hulick have said that writing in the first person for a great deal of time tends to leave an author stuck thinking in their characters’ voice. I find a very similar effect happening to me, as a reader. If I read a book in the first person, such as Prince of Thorns or Patrick Rothfuss’s Name of the Wind, I’ll find my own thoughts and even word choice resembling the voices of Jorg or Kvothe. Therefore, already, we can see a kind of bond between the reader and the protagonist being formed.

There is also the fact that Jorg has the unfair advantage of being able to tell us his story through biased opinion. Now, I should say that Jorg doesn’t take this opportunity very often. Unlike many protagonists he doesn’t ‘whine’ at the reader and tell them life is unfair. Rather, he sees life as a game and will often lighten up a terrible scene with a clever quip, such as: “Few things worth having can be got easily” or “Water! Water! It’s always water with the dying. Strange, it’s killing that gives me a thirst.” You quickly find yourself smiling or nodding along to Jorg’s way of thinking. The darkness is still there, but you accept it because he delivers it so elegantly, so amusingly and with such matter of factness.

The following revelation is often the most shocking to readers when they begin to reflect upon the book and, initially, may even deny it was the case until they think about it (so – think about it before denying it, reader!). As the book progresses and we begin to understand Jorg, we begin, dare I say it, to feel empathy towards him. Here is a prince that was set to one day be a king until his mother was torn away from him, raped and killed alongside his baby brother. Worst of all, he was forced to watch their deaths and expected to just forget about them. Can we blame him for not letting that experience go? Can we blame him for wanting some kind of revenge? Can we blame him for not wanting the people he sees as responsible for this atrocity sitting on the throne? (Note: perhaps skip the remainder of this paragraph if you’ve not read the first book). I don’t think Jorg will trust a family member ever again. After having found out that his uncle and father had an understanding about and involvement in his mother’s death – how could he?

The result is that you find yourself asking: does this young man who was forced, as a child, to watch his mother killed and raped deserve a shot at redemption? Is anyone ever so bad that we have to write them off forever? Would Jorg even accept redemption if it was offered to him? Perhaps we don’t think he does deserve it, but should his father and uncle be allowed to get away with their part in his mother’s and brother’s murders? If you don’t think they should, then you need to realise that, in the Broken Empire, if Jorg doesn’t do something no one else will. What I find myself asking when reading Prince of Thorns is: if I was in Jorg’s position and in Jorg’s world, how would I have grown up?

For me, the most chilling thing about Prince of Thorns was that I found it very, very difficult to hate Jorg. I didn’t like the things he did – but I could understand him and he won me over with his charm and charisma. Something about that shook me and I think that’s what makes the character of Jorg Ancrath so powerful.

Prince of Thorns is available now from all good book shops.

King of Thorns is published on Thursday 16th August 2012 (UK)

Voyager UK |

King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

The second book in the Broken Empire series, Lawrence takes his young anti-hero one step closer to his grand ambition.

Like the facebook page to reveal chapters http://www.facebook.com/HarperVoyagerUK/app_319631768109792

To reach greatness you must step on bodies, and many brothers lie trodden in my wake. I’ve walked from pawn to player and I’ll win this game of ours, though the cost of it may drown the world in blood…

The land burns with the fires of a hundred battles as lords and petty kings fight for the Broken Empire. The long road to avenge the slaughter of his mother and brother has shown Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath the hidden hands behind this endless war. He saw the game and vowed to sweep the board. First though he must gather his own pieces, learn the rules of play, and discover how to break them.

A six nation army, twenty thousand strong, marches toward Jorg’s gates, led by a champion beloved of the people. Every decent man prays this shining hero will unite the empire and heal its wounds. Every omen says he will. Every good king knows to bend the knee in the face of overwhelming odds, if only to save their people and their lands. But King Jorg is not a good king.

Faced by an enemy many times his strength Jorg knows that he cannot win a fair fight. But playing fair was never part of Jorg’s game plan.

Out 16/08/2012 (UK)

Voyager Australia, Voyager UK, Voyager US |

David Gemmell Awards 2012

Four Voyager titles have been nominated in the David Gemmell Awards! Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence ( HarperUK & HarperAUS ) & Heir of Night by Helen Lowe ( HarperUS ) are up for the Morningstar Award ( Best debuts of 2011 ) & the covers for both Journey by Night by Aaron Briggs ( HarperAUS ) & Oracle’s Fire by Frank Victoria ( HarperAUS ) are up for the Ravenheart Award ( best cover art of 2011 ) Congratulations to all our authors & artists!

Vote for Prince of Thorns or The Heir of Night here: http://www.gemmellaward.com/page/the-morningstar-award

and vote for either Journey by Night or Oracle’s Fire here: http://www.gemmellaward.com/page/the-ravenheart-award

Voyager UK |

Vote now in the David Gemmell Awards!

For the last three years, the David Gemmell awards have ‘celebrated the history and cultural importance of Fantasy literature’ to ‘appreciate & reward excellence in the field.’ The polls are open for the 2012 David Gemmell awards and we hope you have been voting. If you haven’t though, THERE IS STILL TIME!

The Legend Award celebrates the book voted best release of the year. The winner is presented with a unique, scale model of Snaga (the legendary axe of Druss the Legend) from Raven Armoury. The blades of the axe are even laser-etched with the winner’s name & novel.

Voyager is proud to have four superb books on the longlist for the Legend award, including George RR Martin’s award-winning A Dance of Dragons, Raymond E. Feist’s epic A Kingdom Besieged, Blake Charlton’s enthralling Spellbound, and Sara Douglas’s haunting Devil’s Diadem.

The Morningstar Award is to celebrate the newcomers to the fantasy genre, whose first book published in English will fight it out amongst the other young bloods to be crowned the fans undisputed New Blood Fantasy Champion.

Mark Lawrence’s dark, relentless debut, Prince of Thorns, is deservedly in the running.

Congratulations to all our authors who have made it this far! Winners will be announced on 15th June 2012 at the awards ceremony at London’s Magic Circle.

Polls close on the 31st of March, so there’s still time to visit http://www.gemmellaward.com/ and show support for the authors you love!