Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence

The Red Queen’s War, Book 1

Synopsis: 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.

After escaping a death trap set by the Silent Sister, Jal finds his fate magically intertwined with a fierce Norse warrior. As the two undertake a journey across the Empire to undo the spell, encountering grave dangers, willing women, and an upstart prince named Jorg Ancrath along the way, Jalan gradually catches a glimmer of the truth: he and the Norseman are but pieces in a game, part of a series of moves in the long war—and the Red Queen controls the board.

Review: I discovered Mark Lawrence with his trilogy: The Book of the Ancestors, which I really loved. So I was really very curious to discover another book and I am therefore embarking on The Red Queen series with great pleasure.

Jalan is a prince, one who is not important, which allows him to live likes he want his life of debauchery. However, an incident will change everything when he is bounded to a northern man, Snorri. This is a big problem, because Snorri is determined to go back north to save his family, except that because of their new relationship, he can’t do anything without Jalan. Together, they will face many dangers, which Jalan would have preferred to avoid. And maybe they’ll have to save the world.

I really had a great time with this first volume and I am very curious to read the rest now. It was a delight to discover the author’s world, as well as his characters. Jalan looks like an anti-hero and I loved seeing what he was going to do, just like his interactions with Snorri, who it must be said is quite different from him. The author offered us spicy characters and an exciting plot and I didn’t see the pages scrolling.

There is a lot going on in this book and we are following a very interesting story that is not yet finished, and I will read the rest with great pleasure!