Sunday, August 14, 2011

Viddy well my droogs, viddy well

No, this is not about the current riots in the UK but the quote from A Clockwork Orange seems fitting given the youth rampaging through the UK, eh?

  Perusing Neal Asher's excellent blog "The Skinner" I chanced upon this entry detailing Mark Lawrence's book Prince of Thorns.  Since I had been busy singing hosannas in praise of Neal's work and the fact that he is one of those libertarian types, his word goes a long way here at Rational Gun.  Incidentally, I enjoyed Gridlinked and am tearing through The Line of Polity.  Neal writes real, imaginative science fiction.  Not formulaic, not rehashed.  Go get you some of that.

  Prince of Thorns is an unabashed work of homage to A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess by first time novelist Mark Lawrence.  As such, it is dark, violent, and amoral.  You have been warned.

  Our protagonist Jorg is a fourteen year old prince who leads a gang of older criminals on the road in what (a nice twist) is a medieval, sort of fantasy Earth.  Throughout the novel, there are many hints of the world being a future Earth (with our present being the past).  Jorg also makes mention of reading Plutarch (free Kindle edition).

  Jorg is on a quest.  A quest to avenge his violated and murdered mother.  He left his father in company of criminals he freed from his father's dungeons.  We pick up after he's done a bit of robbing, murdering, and even rape (you have been warned but there's no directly narrated scenes of rape).  He and his gang of "brothers" evoke memories of Alex and his "droogs" in A Clockwork Orange as Lawrence meant it to.  Another line; "What's it going to be then?" is clear affectionate homage to Mr Burgess's seminal work.  However, the unique patois of A Clockwork Orange is not imitated.  Clear and direct English is the rule of the day here.

  An example of the style of writing and tone set is when Jorg is enjoying paying for a prostitute and not having to wait his turn on a woman.  Like I said, you have been warned......

  Another example of Lawrence's excellent prose should my previous mentions scare the prospective reader away......

I raised the knife to my lips and kissed the blade.  Count Renar and the puppet master who pulled so many strings, one sharp edge would be enough for them all.

  A wee bit of magic is encountered but really if you are looking for wizards, warriors, and whatnot, this is not the book for you.  However, if you are tired of the general formulaic plotlines and hunger for something other than predictable, happy scenes of good prevailing, look no further than this dark, brutal, brilliant novel of revenge.

  Lawrence has paid honor to A Clockwork Orange with a wonderfully dark and original fantasy (or should I say "speculative fiction?") work.  Mark, I am greatly looking forward to "King of Thorns" which is the sequel to this book.  "King of Thorns" is due next August.

Buy your Kindle edition here

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