Prince of Thorns v Pure UBU

  • Book: Prince of Thorns
  • Author: Mark Lawrence
  • Publisher: HarperVoyage
  • Published: 2011

It is 10 years to the day since Mark Lawrence burst onto the Fantasy scene with Prince of Thorns. Since then he has gone on to become a Titan within the genre.

Prince of Thorns introduces us to Jorg Ancrath – a ruthless, charming and thoroughly immoral boy who leads a band of mercenaries the length and breadth of the Broken Empire – and his plans to seize the currently vacant Imperial throne.

This book is bloody and brutal. Whenever you think Jorg’s tolerance for depravity, or dare I say ‘evil’ has peaked he tops it. (However most of the worst excesses happen ‘off screen’) That can be hard for lots of readers to handle, which is fine, but I found him to be a remarkably compelling character. Mainly because his flashbacks and revelations about his childhood trauma paint a rich and vibrant backstory. The thorns which physically ensnared him as a child still ensnare his mind in the present.

There are glimmers of honour mixed in, occasionally from Jorg, but more often from the few of his brothers who believe in him most. His other brothers are just along for the bloodshed.

Plotwise I don’t think I can go into much detail other than to say it’s a ride and half. It’s one of those which meanders a lot without necessarily having a clear endpoint for most of the book iirc. So if you want a book with a target to aim for then it might not be for you.

 If however you are open to being swept along in a warped, maybe post-apocalyptic? version of Europe then I highly recommend picking up Prince of Thorns. I loved it when I first read it in 2011 and have loved everything Mark Lawrence has put out since.

  • Beer: Pure UBU
  • Brewery: Purity Brewing Co.
  • Style: Premium Amber Ale
  • Strength: 4.5%

It seems quite a contrast to pair a beer with ‘Pure’ in its name with a book whose protagonist is anything but. Probably not the one to have drunk on a 30c day but hey ho 😂. I did chill it for a little bit (sacrilege I know) and it retained its characteristics well. Still tasted great. 

Good bitter flavour and light amber colour. Rich caramel notes on the nose

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