cover image Prince of Fools

Prince of Fools

Mark Lawrence. Ace, $26.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-425-26878-0

A not-so-heroic prince is trapped in a deadly mission that could decide the fate of the kingdom in this trilogy opener set in Lawrence’s alt-European Broken Empire world. Prince Jalan Kendeth, 10th in line for the throne and a self-described coward, has few life ambitions beyond drinking, gambling, and wenching. But the Dead King is raising a vast army that threatens Jalan’s home of Red March. Jalan’s grandmother, the Red Queen, has a secret weapon: a mysterious sorceress called the Silent Sister. Jalan knows the Silent Sister is capable of horrors, but that knowledge doesn’t protect him when he and enslaved Norse warrior Snorri ver Snagson are caught in one of her spells. Bound by magic, the two men become unlikely traveling companions. Shrewd Jalan and honorable Snorri make a marvelous team, lightening a very dark story with wry humor. The brisk adventure and black magic will leave readers eager for the next chapter in the series. (June)