Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Prince of Thorn by Mark Lawrence Plus Interview

Mark Lawrence's debut novel, Prince of Thorns, published two weeks ago. When I read it last week, I tore through it in less than one 24 hour period. That's how addictive and engaging his first person narrative, as told through Prince Jorg, was for me. The book has been one of the more buzzworthy debuts of the year, with one of the more active discussion topics at SFFWorld dedicated to the book.

Today, I posted my review of the book, as well as an interview I conducted with Mark via e-mail over the past week or so. Regular readers of my blog know the drill -- I post the cover shot, an excerpt of the review and link. Below the excerpt/cover is another link to the interview.

Told in a first person narrative, Prince Jorg comes across as an unapologetic, contentious, cruel, spiteful, and angry young man. Think Thomas Covenant with a healthy dose of teen angst and a sword and you might be halfway to getting a feel for the protagonist. First person narrative can be a tricky method for telling a novel-length story for the entirety of the thing rests on the shoulders of the protagonist, and the writer’s ability to generate a charismatic and compelling voice. The maturity of Jorg’s voice, along with the smooth almost matter-of-fact delivery makes it very easy to forget the protagonist is only 13/14 years old for a majority of the novel. Jorg does not mince words and at just over 300 pages, Lawrence’s novel is powerful and packs a great deal in a concise and powerful package. In other words, Lawrence has created a compelling storyteller in Prince Jorg.


this book is not for the squeamish or the light of heart. What is most refreshing about Jorg is that he makes no excuses for the things he’s done. He only hints at these things, and along the path of the narrative, the horrible things are implied more often than not.

… On the road I did things that men might call evil. There were crimes…I’ve grown, but whatever monster might be in me, it was always mine, my choice, my responsibility, my evil if you will. …

Here's a bit from the interview:

You come across as honest and savvy with the people of the Intarwebs. Speaking as a moderator at SFFWorld, this is most welcome. How important is keeping your virtual presence active, in terms of cultivating readers?

I don’t know. Many sources tell me that the influence of the blog-sphere and groups like SFF World is not as significant as you might think. Certainly no publisher has ever suggested that joining forums etc was a good investment of time. And the darlings of many forums (Bakker for example) are not noticeably more successful than many who are widely reviled in such places. So I spend time on SFF World primarily because it’s damn good fun. Of course, I can’t believe that it’s not good for spreading the word as well – it has to be doesn’t it? And because being a carer for my little girl means I’m never free for more than a few hours at a time, I can’t travels for signings and events, so it seems an ideal way for me to do my bit.

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