King of Thorns: Broken Empire 2 : Broken Empire

  • by Mark Lawrence
  • Narrated by Joe Jameson
  • Series: Broken Empire
  • 14 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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

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What the Critics Say

"Without a doubt the most original and most memorable fantasy debut of 2011. It's difficult to imagine how another book could top this one." (RisingShadows.net)
"This is a lean, cold knife-thrust of a novel, a revenge fantasy anchored on the compelling voice and savage purpose of its titular Prince. There is never a safe moment in Lawrence's debut." (Robert Redick, author of The Red-Wolf Conspiracy)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

"He said", "she said" - ad nauseum

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Yes! - the constant "he said", "she said" every time any character utters a word. More than any other book I've listened to, this is really intrusive and annoying, especially since the narrator is so good with the different voices he uses that there is really no need for the endless use of "he said". I wish the audio producers would pay more attention to the specific requirements of their publishing medium - it really does come close to ruining an otherwise excellent production.


What did you like best about this story?

Thoroughly engaging and inventive story - medieval neo-noir hybrid?


What about Joe Jameson’s performance did you like?

Excellent voice modulation and intonation - a pleasure to listen to his interpretation.


Could you see King of Thorns: Broken Empire 2 being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

The ex-footballer Roy Keane would make an excellent Prince - a highly intelligent, borderline psychopath.


Any additional comments?

The writing itself is a step above the usual fantasy fare where the expression tends to be weak, it really is a well-written book, I just wish the translation to audio book had been carried out more smoothly!

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- Theodor Adorno

Better than the first in my opinion

I am glad I stuck with this trilogy, as this book was probably one of my favourite listens of 2013 so far

Story – 4.5/5

King of Thorns is a vast improvement on the first in my opinion; growing and maturing the main character Yorg into someone who is more believable. He still has a good portion of ruthless and inhuman personality so he still holds true to the anti-hero element of the trilogy.

Running throughout the book are multiple time frames, similar to the first book. It really stands out in this one though, as the main timeframe arc is a big, impossible to win, battle. There are plenty of unexpected turns in this battle though, and all of the background on the lead up to this battle and the characters is given in the intertwined back flash chapters.

Where this story really blew me away though was in the final few chapters, which every good book should do. If you like epic battles and war strategy like I do, this one will not disappoint. I can’t wait for the concluding novel.

One of the small drawbacks of the book was that some knowledge/actions were very convenient. If ever I think this throughout a novel, I can’t help but wonder if it is down to poor planning/writing on the author’s part. Not that it deterred my enjoyment though, just one of the only things stopping it getting 5/5


Performance – 4.5/5

Joe Jameson was also a big improvement in this novel. His young, high sounding voice suited the narration in the mind of Yorg nicely again, and he did a good job distinguishing all of the characters in his acting. Where he improved was upon his scene setting. If Yorg was in a sticky situation, you felt concerned for him, as if he was actually in danger, unlike with the first book.

Overall – 4.5/5


Apologies for the star ratings not matching the written review, I am forced to round halves on Audible.

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- Christopher

Book Details

  • Release Date: 16-08-2012
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited