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Mark Lawrence

Written by Jeremy. Posted in Tales from the Bookcase

Author’s Website: Mark Lawrence

This poor bastard doesn’t even know he’s made our stalking list, which may be a good thing, for us, considering he is a scientist working on artificial intelligence. And if he does, then we’ll be putting on our tin-foil hats and ramping up our vpn’s. So if you plan on stalking his works, you might want to be a bit careful. Use cash, an alias, and concealing clothing. Just saying.

A friend of mine who frequents the fantasy realm picked up the Broken Empire Series, and instantly thought of me. I love main characters that are borderline evil, or are conflicted enough to think they are. I didn’t find the entire series until attending a release party at Barnes & Noble with a friend. She was off being sociable and silly with other Cosplayers, while I began prowling the bookshelves stalking my next fictional character. It didn’t take long, and I found the Broken Empire trilogy, and the new fictional love of my life, Brother Jorg.

Nothing says read me like an opener like this:

When he was nine, he watched as his mother and brother were killed before him. At thirteen, he led a band of bloodthirsty thugs. By fifteen, he intends to be king…


Prince of Thorns (book one), sets the stage for what appears to be Jorg’s ambitions, but we soon find out there are stories within stories, plots within plots, and motives within motives. You end up venturing and wondering just as Jorg does, are his actions and ambitions truly his? Or are they the orchestration of someone behind the scenes else pulling the strings?

King of Thorns covers more ground by starting off with a few years later and the outcome results of the end of Prince of Thorns. But mostly it unravels past events that are plaguing Jorg, and are leading up to the present. Here I had to put the book on pause because I wanted to really analyze some of the events going on to get a stronger feel for what they are leading up to. Jorg seems scattered and there are some holes that need to be filled, not just for me but for Jorg as well.

The Broken Empire Trilogy

Prince of Thorns
Synopsis: Collected From Amazon.com

When he was nine, he watched as his mother and brother were killed before him. At thirteen, he led a band of bloodthirsty thugs. By fifteen, he intends to be king…

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 brier 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?

Haven’t gotten to Emperor of Thorns yet, (finishing King of Thorns tonight!), but getting there. One thing is for sure, this is a series that I wish wouldn’t have ended in a trilogy.

But even so, there is another character waiting in the wings… Prince Jalan Kendeth.

Where Jorg is mercurial and ruthless, Jalan, from the synopsis’s I’ve read, the complete opposite in the The Red Queen’s War Trilogy. I can’t wait to see what his story unfolds.

The Red Queen’s War Trilogy

Prince of Fools:
Synopsis from Amazon.com : The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire dread her like no other. For all her reign she has fought the long war, contested in secret, against the powers that stand behind nations, for higher stakes than land or gold. Her greatest weapon is The Silent Sister—unseen by most and unspoken of by all.

The Red Queen’s grandson, Prince Jalan Kendeth—drinker, gambler, seducer of women—is one who can see The Silent Sister. Tenth in line for the throne and content with his role as a minor royal, he pretends that the hideous crone is not there. But war is coming. Witnesses claim an undead army is on the march, and the Red Queen has called on her family to defend the realm. Jal thinks it’s all a rumor—nothing that will affect him.

But he is wrong…

Jonathan French

Written by Nik. Posted in Tales from the Bookcase

There’s a reason why authors hide away in their hermit hobbit hidey holes they call an office… me.

Last year, I had the pleasure of meeting several self-published authors and a gained a new pool to pull from when the bookshelves of my local Books-A-Million won’t tickle my fancy. Amongst them was Jonathan French, who is a regular panelist for ConJuration in Atlanta. When he isn’t promoting his own work, he frequently helps budding authors by answering questions and spreading the word about self-publishing.

After sitting through a few of Jonathan’s panels, discussing writing in general and writing fantasy, I decided to check out his works by giving his latest title, The Grey Bastards a go. Once I sat down and started to read, I devoured it. Finally! Someone who understood that fantasy is not all about pretty little fairies with magical weapons coming to save the rest of the races/classes having some conflict that were crammed into the story to make it interesting.

After a few chapters, I ran over to Jonathan’s book table and met his lovely wife, who was covering for him, and grabbed his other two novels, The Autumn Fall Saga, Exiled Heir and the Errantry of Bantam Flynn. Still working on the second, but they have broadened my reading horizons, and gave me new faith in reading fantasy novels. Below is the skinny on his current works, I highly suggest you check them out, well worth it!

The Grey Bastards: Available on Kindle | Amazon.com | Author Website Jonathan French


Such is the creed of the half-orcs dwelling in the Lot Lands. Sworn to hardened brotherhoods known as hoofs, these former slaves patrol their unforgiving country astride massive swine bred for war. They are all that stand between the decadent heart of noble Hispartha and marauding bands of full-blood orcs.

Jackal rides with the Grey Bastards, one of eight hoofs that have survived the harsh embrace of the Lots. Young, cunning and ambitious, he schemes to unseat the increasingly tyrannical founder of the Bastards, a plague-ridden warlord called the Claymaster. Supporting Jackal’s dangerous bid for leadership are Oats, a hulking mongrel with more orc than human blood, and Fetching, the only female rider in all the hoofs.

When the troubling appearance of a foreign sorcerer comes upon the heels of a faceless betrayal, Jackal’s plans are thrown into turmoil. He finds himself saddled with a captive elf girl whose very presence begins to unravel his alliances. With the anarchic blood rite of the Betrayer Moon close at hand, Jackal must decide where his loyalties truly lie, and carve out his place in a world that rewards only the vicious.

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