Saturday, 21 April 2012

King of Thorns - fragments, part (ix)

Brother Row

Age set its hand on Brother Row and left him forever fifty, not wanting to touch him a second time. Grey, grizzled, lean, gristly, mean. That pale-eyed old man will bend and twist but never break. He’ll hold where the better man would fail beneath his load. The shortest of our number, rank and filthy, seamed with forgotten scars, often overlooked by men who had scant time to reflect on their mistake.  

Friday, 13 April 2012

Thank you

I've been sent the proofs for the US paperback of Prince of Thorns & the 'praise for' section (copied below) reminded me of some of the many people whose kind words have helped me and my book on our way. I thought I'd post that section here so I had something to point at for the people whose comments are included. I think it's great that so many bloggers' quotes are listed and that Ace recognises the growing importance of the online voice.

It could be considered an act of vanity to post these, but I didn't write or select them & they're going to be in thousands of paperbacks come August... so...

“Prince of Thorns is the best book I’ve read all year. Mark Lawrence’s wonderful prose is vivid without being flowery, succinct without being plain. He pulls you in and doesn’t let go. Lawrence’s Prince Jorg makes Elric look like a boy scout, but you may find yourself having sympathy as you get to know him. Blink, and you might even find yourself rooting for him to succeed. Lawrence just raised the bar for compelling fantasy.”

— Peter V. Brett, New York Times bestselling author of The Desert Spear

“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 V. S. Redick, author of The Night of the Swarm

“Dark and relentless, the Prince of Thorns will pull you under and drown you in story. A two-in-the-morning page-turner.”

— Robin Hobb, author of Blood of Dragons

“[A] morbidly gripping, gritty fantasy tale.”

— Publishers Weekly

“Vivid . . . smooth and compelling . . . gritty and full of wonder. This book is brilliant.”

— Postcards from the Emerald City

“Disturbing, beautiful, chaotic, poetic, haunting, exhilarating.”

— Fantasy Faction

“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.”

— Risingshadow

“When you’re the new kid on the block and trying to get known, you have to make your reputation hard and fast. That’s exactly the route that Mark has done . . . definitely a series that will hit with a bang. Great stuff.”

— Falcata Times

“Defies the conventions of epic fantasy by invoking them only to take a savage delight in tearing them apart . . . Prince of Thorns deserves attention as the work of an iconoclast who seems determined to turn that familiar thing, Medieval- esque Fantasy Trilogy, entirely on its head. Against all odds, Mark Lawrence manages to pull this off in a book that can move the open- minded reader with its eloquence, horror, and beauty, even as it does its best to appall the bourgeoisie.”

— Locus

“Mark Lawrence has written a brutally good first novel, and you should read it . . . dark, moody, bloody, violent, sly, and beautifully written with a clean style that gets right down to the meat of the scene as it carves its way into your mind.”


“A fantastic debut novel. It, like its main character, Prince Jorg, is curt, cruel, and action packed.”

— Whatchamacallit Reviews

“2011 is turning into another year for impressive genre debuts, but at this point Prince of Thorns is arguably the most impressive and stunning . . . highly recommended.”


“With an epic, empire- shattering sprawl that brings George R. R. Martin to mind . . . Prince of Thorns is easily the most incredible epic fantasy I have ever read.”

— The Little Red Reviewer

Anthology Announcement!

A press release by Shawn Speakman, a dealer in signed books, fellow writer, geek 1st class, & good fellow.

Contact: Shawn Speakman                   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Genre’s Best Writers to Contribute Against Fellow Writer’s Cancer Debt

SEATTLE, WA — Grim Oak Press, a new publishing company formed by webmaster and freelance writer Shawn Speakman, will be producing Unfettered, a fantasy short story anthology by some of the best writers in the genre, for a very good cause.

In 2011, Speakman was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He completed the recommended chemotherapy, but lacking health insurance, the treatment left him with almost $200,000 of financial debt. At the suggestion of New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks, and with the help of nearly two dozen authors who call Speakman a friend, Grim Oak Press will publish the short story anthology Unfettered, with the proceeds helping to alleviate the medical bills.

Authors contributing include: Terry Brooks, Patrick Rothfuss, Naomi Novik, Brandon Sanderson, RA Salvatore, Tad Williams, Jacqueline Carey, Daniel Abraham, Peter V.Brett, Robert VS Redick, Peter Orullian, Todd Lockwood, Carrie Vaughn, Blake Charlton, Kevin Hearne, Mark Lawrence, David Anthony Durham, Jennifer Bosworth, Lev Grossman, Steven Erikson, and Shawn Speakman

Some of the authors will be writing short stories set in the fantasy worlds that made them famous. Other writers will be creating entirely new tales. The contribution by so many noteworthy authors of bestselling titles speaks to the generosity found within the science fiction and fantasy communities.

Unfettered will be published as a trade hardcover as well as a leather-bound, signed and numbered edition limited to 500 copies and autographed by all contributors. Speakman will also publish his full-length urban/high fantasy novel, The Dark Thorn, through Grim Oak Press to further offset treatment expenses.

Orders are currently being accepted for The Dark Thorn, which is tentatively scheduled to publish in August 2012. Unfettered will be released by early 2013.

# # #

If you’d like more information about Grim Oak Press or wish to set up an interview about its projects, please email Shawn Speakman at

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

King of Thorns - fragment, part (vii) & (viii)

A pre-chapter Brother-line:

You won’t see Brother Grumlow try to knife you, only the sorrow in his eyes as you fall.

& a one of the deleted pre-chapter battle vignettes:

Nial Ravener, thirty-four, spear wound. Blue Moon Pass.

Son of Graem and Nalla, raised in the Haunt. Husband to Erin. Father to Kai, Kelin, and Keris.

The spear hurt less than the climbing. Nial pitched into the deep snow, almost grateful for the excuse to stop. He lay cradled in softness.

Time was I could run all day. From valley to peak. Then time caught me up.

A blessing to die in the snow. Clean, serene, where all sins are covered, in the purity of high places.

No pain but the ache in his lungs and the memory of agony in his thighs. It felt good to be still, in a cool embrace, cold kisses on his forehead. Even the hot wet wound in his back seemed like release.

Images of Erin at the cottage door. The children in the hay. Bright days of summer. Too bright. Nial turned to older days, dim yesterdays lit now by the last beats of his heart. He remembered his mother, framed in golden curls. How fiercely he had loved her.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Interview question

A question and answer from a recently posted interview.

With such a coloured past as Jorg’s is there any chance in hell of redemption?

Religious folk often tell us there’s always a chance at redemption, again though the interest (often insistence) that I see in redemption strikes me as one of the more unsophisticated demands of the genre and one that it’s outgrowing. I hope my writing is entertaining. If I just wanted it to be important rather than entertaining or commercial I might turn to literary fiction (and likely fail to do any of those things).

However, I do try to inject something of worth into what I write, and that comes in the form of my own poor effort to illuminate some corner of the human condition. The great writers (of which I am not one) turn the spotlight on us, reveal truths, reframe them and offer them up without judgement. If fantasy insists on heroes and redemption then the genre will never have anything any more important to say than do bodice-ripping romances or slick thrillers sold in airports.

I’ve always felt that a genre in which there are no limits in terms of imagination should not find itself corralled by simplistic expectations regarding its characters. Other authors have led the way in expanding the fantasy genre toward its full potential and I’m hurrying along behind.