• G R Matthews

Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence


With this book, Jorg’s story is complete, the Broken Empire is still broken but it there is hope.

I’ll start as I would normally end, with a recommendation; read this book. If you have read the previous two then I have merely told you to do something you would have done anyway. If you haven’t read the previous two then I would heartily advise you to.

I’ll be honest, some of you might find Jorg, the narrative point of view through 99% of the series, a little hard to empathise with. You may find him distasteful and repugnant at times. Some of you may feel disgust that an author can write a character that does the kind of things that Jorg does. However, what you’ll come to understand is that Jorg wrote the books himself; the author was merely a conduit for one of the most complete characters ever written. Along the way you will see the hopes, desires and reasons for Jorg actions. You may not sympathise, or empathise with him but you’ll understand.

The world of the Broken Empire is a dark one. Life is cheap and the landscape is poison. That anyone manages to exist and thrive can only be considered a miracle; those are rare in this world. In some respects it would be appropriate to compare the harsh struggle for existence in a post-apocalyptic world to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. There are aspects of that uncompromising vision in the Emperor of Thorns.

In this final book of Jorg’s story all the loose threads of the previous two are drawn together, though not all are rounded off – there is room for these to be explored, with a different viewpoint, in the author’s next series. What there is, and what even those who dislike the ‘hero’ of this series, is completion. What we have, at the end, is story of redemption and that, just perhaps, it is not the empire that is broken but man. We are left with a message of hope though; the actions of one man can make a difference (maybe I have watched too much Knight Rider) and though man is broken he can be fixed – if he wants it enough and is willing to make sacrifices. At the end, you'll have that sympathy and empathy you could not find earlier on. Read it.

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© 2013 by G R Matthews.