Posts Tagged ‘Prince of Fools’

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As a fan of the Broken Empire series I started Prince of Fools with some mild apprehension. I love the way Mark Lawrence writes, but other people, who already read the book, often used the word ‘different’ to describe it and I didn’t like different. I wanted the same, whatever this particular blend was I previously liked so much.

I opened the book and got different. It was a great story, that I started to enjoy from the first moment and with a definite ‘Mark Lawrence-ness’ quietly rumbling deep down at its core, but it left me wondering if the magic will somehow once again reach out of the pages and stun me into falling head over crazy, as before.

And soon enough the book twisted and turned, it changed, considered, conspired until it accomplished its aim and I was utterly captured, the prose overwriting my concepts on beautiful, heart stolen away giggle by giggle, line by line, opened with a secret key, cradling me until the dark caressed my daylights into nights.

At the same time Prince Jalan Kendeth, third son of the Red Queen‘s third son, became just as trapped in the legendary Snorri ver Snagason‘s eloquent tales, only to find them turning into cold reality around him that would melt him, freeze him, hammer him into a destiny written by a blood-soaked game played behind hidden veils, drawing their lives toward a single point and time upon which a dream may wake from blood and sacrifice.

PofI found this book a lot more colourful than the first three, every location of the journey painted with attentive, precise strokes of a thousand shades, characters, interactions, even movements felt more vivid, described in a way that leaks the words into pictures, fiction swallowing your reality, opening a door you willingly enter, forgetting your body far behind.

Closing it left me with one of those peculiar moods that you might experience after listening to a captivating melody or watching a sunset. Not something you want to discuss straight away, but preferring to stay quiet, smiling, enjoying and preserving the feelings it created inside.

And now, that I‘m ready to speak, my only fear is that I might not find the right words to tell just how much I loved it.

Mitriel

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1964414_10152217178357156_1227909861_nWe are delighted to announce that the judges have come to a decision and have selected a winner of our Prince of Fools Writing Competition out of the many excellent entries.

Congratulations go to Håkan Pettersson, for his entry The Chauffeur.

 

With the overall high standard of the entries we would also like to give a special mention to the runners up:

First runner up: Mary NThe Hunt

Second runner up: Matthew Yeo, Motley

A huge thank you to everyone who entered and to our most excellent judges panel. Please see the shortlisted entries below, with some feedback from our judges.

The Chauffeur

Stockholm News on the radio. A double homicide. Apparently a gang-related shooting.
Parked outside a discreet club in the suburbs, the chauffeur listened idly.

“This city is going to shit”, he muttered.

He felt the same way about his life. After 18 years driving cabs, this offer had felt like hitting the jackpot. From minimum wage driving businessmen, tourists and drunken fools – to having a limousine and making impressive money with very little work involved.

Be available, don’t ask questions and don’t ever meet your clients’ eyes. Seemingly simple instructions.

The news report had given over to Classic Hits, when a noise outside the limo announced his client’s arrival.

A glance in the rear-view mirror showed a woman and three teenage boys entering the cab. The chauffeur’s heart sank. He didn’t like it when his clients brought company.

Laughter and champagne bottles could be heard from the back seat. The chauffeur headed north, raising the volume on the radio.

Always the same destination. It wasn’t far, but his clients liked him to drive around for an hour or so before arriving.

Sounds from the back were still audible. More strained now. The giggles had an edge of hysteria. Prince was on the radio. Purple Rain.

“I never meant to cause you any sorrow.
I never meant to cause you any pain.”

Sudden heat. Giggles turned to screams. Panicked shrieks. And below that, a low frequency humming, felt rather than heard. The Chauffeur swallowed and drove on.

An hour later he arrived at the destination, waited ten minutes, and walked around the car. His client had gone, but there were… remnants. And the smell of sulfur. The limo would need to be cleaned.

The chauffeur closed his eyes. The city and his life were indeed going to shit.

by Håkan Pettersson

Atmospheric little horror piece with a powerful sting in the tail and a clever and unique interpretation of “prince.”

– Luke Scull

What made The Chauffeur the winning entry for me was a superb combination of characterization, pacing, and story—all rolled into three hundred words. Congratulations, The Chauffeur is a very nice piece of horror flash fiction.

– Teresa R. Frohock

An excellent piece with a particularly well crafted tone. The combination of a tightly contained setting, controlled narrative and very well written character made for a high-impact piece of fiction.

– Snorri Kristjansson

A well crafted piece on a man habituated to horror. Complete in itself, but left you wanting more.

– T.o. Munro

An understated story viewed from a secondary angle that manages to inject considerable horror into just a few paragraphs and present us with the banality of evil in the form of a chauffeur.

– Mark Lawrence

***

The Hunt

The beast let out a final earth-shaking roar before it collapsed on the forest bed, slain.

Breathing heavily, Prince Robert approached the maiden whose screams of fear had attracted his hunting party’s attention. She was collapsed against a tree, unharmed.

“My lady,” he said, helping her up. “Are you alright?”

“Yes, I’m wonderful! Why, I owe you my life.” The maiden leaned onto him, pressing a hand to his chest.

“Truly, it was nothing-“

“I see that your armor bears the royal crest. You must be the prince born under the burnt sun,” she continued. “I have heard many stories-“

“Ah, no,” he said. “I’m afraid that was my cousin.”

Her grateful smile twitched. “Oh, I can’t believe I didn’t see it before! How silly of me. By your clear blue eyes, you must be the son of the seven waters-“

“You must be thinking of my half-brother.“

“Daughter of the tempest?” the maiden tried.

“What? No,” he said. “There is neither absurd witchery nor superstitious drivel in my blood. I am Prince Robert, born to -”

“So you and your lot are just fools on a camping trip? No exciting quest you have set out to fulfill? No thirst for adventure you are attempting to sate?”

Robert groaned. “No. No quest. No adventure.”

“I see. That just won’t do,” the maiden said, stepping away and straightening her dress. “Come Morty, let’s see if we can find ourselves a real prince.”

The beast pulled itself from the ground and shook itself off. She climbed atop it and seated herself with the primness of a nun. “No hard feelings, I hope,” she called out.

The royal hunting party watched them ride off into the sunrise.

“Second maiden we’ve lost this fortnight,” Robert sighed. “Well, third time’s the charm.”

by Mary N

This was funny—and just plain fun—with the twist of the women using their distress and frightening beasts to lure a potential mate. I also enjoyed the banter. Again, the issue here for me was pacing and that is so hard to accomplish with a three hundred word story. You made me laugh with this story, and writing an entertaining tale is half the battle.

– Teresa R. Frohock

Very clever and well written.

– Snorri Kristjansson

Well written with humor in the lines as well as the whole.

– Mark Lawrence

***

 Motley

“To wear the motley is to balance wit with motion. Steel in the one, softness in the other.”

The words of his grandfather still echoed in his ears as Laserre slipped into the stretches and calisthenics he had been taught, grandfather to father to son, stretches that seemed longer and more painful every year. In his head he saw his Grandfather stumble. He saw the wince and heard the pop in the knee, so carefully hidden behind the never ending smile, and remembered the fear as he was rushed in stumbling, too young, to fill his place. The Black Fools were bigger than any one man.

In his head he ran through the pits. The Duke of Callowall was a cuckold. The bishop of Rheins buggered children. The crown prince still wet the bed at 8 summers. Skewer, but not too close, his father had said. Leave but a spot of blood and nothing more or necks will be wrung and wrung tight.

The motley slid on, easy but too loose. He tucked in the mended sleeve edge with practiced care. His right boot heel felt loose. Juggling the cobbler, tailor and food was infinitely harder than juggling balls.

The greasepaint was last, the transformation achieved quickly. One minute man, the next maudlin. He was just putting on the cap ‘n bells when the ragged curtain was pulled back. Ghoros thrust his face in, red-nosed and stinking.

“Time to dance, little clown. This time try to give ‘em a little more of the bump and wiggle.”

Once, it was minuets and court. Now it was a concertina, drunken fingers and ignorance. He slipped on The Face and danced in, grinning through the reek and noise, capering sideways in a practiced stumble. The show must go on.

by Matthew Yeo

Made powerful use of the language to inject considerable atmosphere into just 300 word – a restrained but poetic touch produced prose I would be proud of. It seems unreasonable to ask more of such a short piece, but a lack of tension/momentum was probably why such fine word-smithing allowed this entry to reach the top 3 but not the top spot.

– Mark Lawrence

Excellent prose; possibly the best-written story I read on a line level, though lacking in tension & ultimately impact.

– Luke Scull

This was exquisitely written with atmospheric use of language, felt a bit like seeing a shot of Tony Hancock in his dressing room, but lacked that sense of dramatic tension needed to drive it to the top of the list.

– T.o. Munro

***

New Solitude

A rock fell from the cliff above. Gilbert spun, eyes squinting.

A woman stood at the edge of the world. The morning sea breeze whipped her gown like a plague of microdrones. Her face was in shadow, but sunlight flowed along the glitter of technology braided along her bare arms.

“What do you want?”

She answered by turning into a swarm, diving down next to him and coalescing back into shape. He turned away.

“You look like her.”

“I am her.”

“I’m not a fool. I know she’s dead.”

“She was a flawed genetic clone. I am the original.”

His body shook, blood pounded.

“That fact does not make her any less special,” the woman said. Her appearance shifted. Any tell-tale sign of her technology disappeared. The iridescent shine to her eyes left, leaving the deep brown he knew so well. Her hand came up to caress his cheek and he let her.

“We only want what is best. One coupling and you will save humanity,” she said.

“You want me to fuck you?”

“We’d rather a complete integration.”

He pushed her away, and made a haphazard retreat. He tripped, going down on his ass on the sandy beach.

“I’m human. I don’t want to be—“

“Like me? I was human – once. Now, I am like a god.”

“Controlled by…what?”

“Code. A set of rules developed fifty thousand years ago. It has worked remarkably well for us. You are the last of humanity, Gilbert. A prince among none. Would you rather let the human species go extinct, or join a new one?”

“I’d rather be my own person. Make my own decisions.”

“We are all bound by our code.”

After a moment’s thought, Gilbert stood and walked into the ocean.

by N. E. White

This piece stood out by moving into a very distinct setting and squeezing a lot of story, but not too much, into the tiny space on offer. Combining this with some well turned phrases secured a place on the shortlist

– Mark Lawrence

***

The Price We Pay

The rain fell in a steady cascade that whispered of empty streets and warm fires. It poured down on Pembleton Library as an elderly gentleman struggled through the doors with a large package. A small group of children, gathered around an empty chair, turned at the sound and gazed excitedly upon the painting Ralph began to reveal.

Ralph made his way over to the empty chair and propped the painting up for all to see. A window into desolation sat before them as they looked upon a faraway king, sitting in a barren hall that leached the colour from the world around it. Distressed murmurs ensued before a nervous, ‘why is the man so sad?’ arose from the crowd.

‘His name is the Melancholy Prince, and in his heart he held a loneliness that drove him from all that is real.’ The children leaned in, listening intently to every word Ralph said. ‘He was a man who fell in love with a paper doll, but he was so blinded by love that he forgot all about the rain; only to be reminded as his happiness turned to horror when the rain tore into her flesh like one thousand tiny arrows. He sold everything in his kingdom to try and regain his love, but to no avail. Now he spends his days sitting alone in his sadness and living in a world inside of his head where his love has not disappeared.’

Marcie’s mother sat behind the rest of the parents, attempting to hide the fact that she was constantly occupied. ‘What fools, listening to the drivel of an old man. Who would be stupid enough to fall in love with a paper doll‘, she thought to herself as she checked her bank balance for the fourth time that day.

by Hannah Brian

I really loved this particular piece, especially for the clever twist at the end. I love stories that have a message embedded in the prose, and I believe this piece handled that objective very subtly and well. Unfortunately, this was another case of the story being cheated by the word count. The author focused on atmosphere, which was very good, but I would have loved to have seen more of the king’s story told, so it was more a matter of pacing for me. It wouldn’t take much at all to craft this into a very nice short story.

– Teresa R. Frohock

***

 The King, The Fool

It was a misty morning the day I decided to end my life. The sun was but a knife edge on the horizon, a pale orange ember. I looked down at the sidewalk thirteen stories below and imagined my corpse splattered at the bottom.

We all have regrets. Words said, or not said, that haunt our every waking moments. Deeds done that sicken us to our very core, deeds that have consequences for both those involved and those not. Some can move past these regrets with no real backlash, trade their unhappiness for a dull ache and a feeling of guilt. Others find it more difficult, and find themselves looking down at the street below.

I have many regrets; but my biggest regret is existence I mean creating it. Take in everything, and sit enlightened when I tell you that it’s all my doing.

I’m God; I’m not Christian, not Muslim, not Orthodox. I’m not anything you’ve labelled me, I simply am.

If I could, I’d end it all. You wouldn’t even know; one moment you’d be handing over the cash for your latte, and then next there would be nothingness.

But I can’t. I made the rules, I’m the most powerful being in creation. You’d think if something displeased me, or something was broken, I’d be able to fix it. Yet even I can’t change the game I made. I’m a prisoner in my own construction. Forced to wander around the Earth for eternity, because what else can God do?

No hesitation. I stepped off the ledge, knowing full well I’d be back in the same position in a day or two.

You call me the King of Heaven, the Creator, the Wise, the Just.

In the end, I’m just the Prince of Fools.

by Alexander McCrorie

Struck out in a different direction to many with a piece that had not so much a twist as a sharp kink in the middle. Thought provoking but perhaps too ambitious a concept for the word limit, with a God it was difficult to warm to. Hence shortlisted but not placed in the top three.

– T.o. Munro

***

A Sweet One, And A Fool

“Have you enjoyed the feast, Wayland?” Geswin’s voice interrupted his thoughts. She leaned down, giving him an eyeful of the long line of her throat. “You don’t look well, my prince. You should come with me.”

“I’m not a prince,” Wayland replied thickly, setting down his empty cup. He willed himself to his feet. “I just live here with Andvari. I’m just a blacksmith.” For some reason this fact seemed very important to Wayland in his stupor, so he fixated on it.

“You’re a king then?” The Valkyrie laughed, guiding him by the elbow toward the back of the hall.

“We shouldn’t leave. Andvari’ll be upset.” Wayland’s mind was working much too slowly, like honey dripping off a spoon.

“Andvari’s fine. Odin wanted to discuss something important.” They veered down a hallway and then into a dark bedroom that smelled of down and wool. He stumbled against the edge of the bed and felt Geswin push him down on the mattress. She was on top of him then, lithe limbs enfolding his. Where had her dress gone?

“What are you doing to me?” Wayland’s head swam. A distant part of his mind became alarmed when he felt her slip the knife from his belt and pull at his shirt. Her body was a pale gleam in the dim room.

“No. Stop it,” he whispered. “I need to find Andvari…” As his mind rebelled against her ministrations, his body complied. The last thing he was conscious of was the weight of her hips on his, rhythmic motion, and then darkness. He did not wake when Geswin rose from the bed, unsheathed his knife, and slit the leather thong securing the key around his neck.

The Valkyrie paused at the door, looking back. “You’re a fool,” she murmured. “Both fools.”

by Meg Floyd

Well written, atmospheric and subtly dark, this piece left a lingering impression on me. I particularly liked the Valkyrie – her character was deftly sketched.

– Snorri Kristjansson

***

 The Eternity Crypt

“Time is no ‘Great Destroyer’ in this place.” The old man’s words fall to dust and settle across the ancient book beneath his mottled hands. “It paces its frustration from beyond a looking-glass. It stares in at us watching, waiting. It sharpens all around us, but is incapable of reaching through.” His pus-stained lips and remaining green teeth produce his vowels in utter clarity, while his consonants slur as if masticated into paste.

He looks up and locks his gaze with mine. His eyes are blind: green-ringed marbles sunken in pools of aging milk. Yet he sees me as clear as I see him, and, oh, how I see him. I see his yellow fingernails scraping against the book’s crumbling leather cover. I see a translucent grub squirm from his ear and fall into his lap. His body shakes with every breath, and the cobwebs in his stringy hair quiver with his heart’s every beat.

Yes, I see him. He is an aging, but undying, Prince of Rot and Decay.

He watches me and begins to speak once more, his breath hot with fever and disease. He speaks, but I slam my fists against the filthy table and ignore his philosophizing. I say, “You claim time holds no power here. Yet you decompose before my eyes, ravaged by unending life. You offer me an eternity in which my own flesh will mold and fall away.”

“There’s always a price,” he replies. His tone pleads me to stay. I shrug his beggar eyes aside, stand, and gesture for the book. He hands it over, taking no notice as its weight snaps two of his finger bones.

I turn to leave. At the threshold, I whisper, “Yours is an offer for cowards, terrified of dying, acquired at a price for fools.”

by Adam Carter

Nice little snapshot. Very good descriptive writing that borders on taking itself slightly too seriously, but ultimately doesn’t. Consequently there is little space for the ending, but the author does very well with what he has.

– Snorri Kristjansson

***

Just Desserts

Gooseberry fool wriggled in its bowl. Alongside laid two spoons. Two halves of an intestinal-red berry stared at Rebecca from the custard, knowing it was too late. She was already in the dining hall, forty-seven footsteps from the man who called himself prince.

For eight years, Rebecca padlocked the pantry, keeping its key fortified between her breasts. She pressed her ear to keyholes. Squeezed life through droppers. Licked spatulas. And waited in fear.

But not tonight. Tonight, poison came from her own hand.

The false prince once scraped the bowl clean and demanded seconds. That was before his oak chair was gilded gold, before he shaved all but the circlet of hair, outgrown and twisted upward like sun-withered roots. Before fools chanted his name. Before he traded machines for the boy.

The boy sat nearby, his shaved-side facing the prince in servitude. “I accept your offering on my Prince’s behalf,” He smiled at Rebecca, his remaining eyebrow arched over an eye so like her own.

“May it please his Majesty,” Rebecca fought the urge to knock the spoon away. Instead, she shuffled backward, never exposing the hair-side of her head. At twenty-three steps, her son finished the compulsory third spoonful.

“Boy’s growing fast. Cook, can he have another spoonful?”

“One more won’t hurt.” Her son’s antivenom-rich veins could outlast half a bowl. Maybe…

“No, I imagine it won’t. What about a fifth?” He shoveled fool in her son’s mouth, “Sixth? How many before it hurts?”

Rebecca was no longer backing up. She was charging when the bullet unpeeled her stomach like overripe berries. Her son stumbled towards her before retching.

“Promote a cook,” he yelled, gun smoke curling through his crown of hair, “and fetch me her son.”

Revelation stopped Rebecca’s heart: Her son’s danger lived only while she did.

by Abigail Dunard

A busy piece that crammed a lot of plot into 300 words. Nodes of a great story leapt out from its short lines, but in the end too much of a quart squeezing itself into a pint pot to make it into the top three.

– T.o. Munro

 

 

 

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We are delighted to announce a writing contest, where you can win an Advance Reading Copy of Mark Lawrence’s highly anticipated new novel:

Prince of Fools!

What’s more, we are also proud to reveal that we have an amazing panel of guest judges to consider your entries, namely:

Mark Lawrence
Teresa R. Frohock
T.o. Munro
Snorri Kristjansson
Daniel Polansky
Luke Scull

The Rules:

1) Submit your entry, which is no longer than 300 words and features the words ‘prince’ and ‘fools’ here: https://bloodycake.wordpress.com/enter-the-competition-here-2/

2) Like our Facebook page (if you haven’t already) : https://www.facebook.com/bloodycakenews

The competition closes on April Fools’ Day (1st April 2014). All entries will be posted here.

428516_10151929048484698_1577066315_n

When three weeks ago the idea came up to interview a series of editors and ask them about some of their authors and their work relationships, I wholeheartedly volunteered to write a short introduction about Jane Johnson for this article. Little did I realise how I had just made a decision to walk into one of life’s perfect traps, for the more I read about her, the more I was drawn into this tale we may call her life, though in all honesty, it could pass as a fascinating piece of fiction, a story to be told huddled around the fireplace on a long winter’s night.

In vain I tried consulting the fantasy literature with my dilemma, where everyone seemed to know how to summon the genie from the lamp, but no one was able to tell me how to fit it in in the first place. Since this is a story of a little girl who was writing novels by the age of nine, had her schoolmates buying ghost stories from her until they were too afraid to cross the churchyard on their way to school and grew up to be a successful writer and an editor to some of the finest authors in today’s fantasy literature.

I once wrote ‘We do not see books as they are. We see books as we are. But every now and then a book comes along that changes everything.’  For me this book was Prince of Thorns that 1276646_436371446483633_1380565004_oamongst many things has led me to this interview. For Jane it was The Lord of the Rings  that amongst many things led her taking a degree in Old Icelandic, publishing the works of J. R. R. Tolkien during the 1980s and 1990s, commissioning John Howe and Alan Lee to illustrate them, spending months in New Zealand during the production of both of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies, dubbed as the 10th member of the Fellowship by producer Barrie Osborne, writing Visual Companions under her pen-name of Jude Fisher; fishing with Aragorn, and watching and advising a number of incredible people as they brought to life the world she fell in love with as a child.

1376472_10152282768334698_1870252787_nAs if this was not enough to make you stop and wonder what you’ve been doing with your own life so far, she also decided about ten years ago to research an ancestress who was kidnapped from a Cornish church by Barbary pirates and sold into the North African white slave trade in the 17th century. This became an adventure that almost claimed her life, while spending a freezing night hanging between life and death near the top of a mountain, and a search for inspiration for the cruel pirate captain of her novel, The Tenth Gift, which she found in Abdellatif,  a local Berber tribesman, whom she married within the year.

578376_10152517794414698_415102614_nThe Tenth Gift was shortly followed by The Salt Road (2010) and The Sultan’s Wife (2012), all of them historical novels with Morocco at their heart, and she has also written Sorcery Rising, Wild Magic and Rose Of The World under her pen-name Jude Fisher. Her novels have been translated and sold into more than 20 territories worldwide. As a publisher she works with some of the world’s bestselling authors, such as George RR Martin, Sam Bourne, Raymond E Feist, Robin Hobb, Tom Knox, Dean Koontz, Mark Lawrence, Stuart MacBride, and Joe Abercrombie.

I read a comment from Robin Hobb recently, which said:  ‘Jane’s like the sun; we just get pulled in to orbit around her’ and I’m by no means surprised to find that even such authors as these would be drawn to a woman whose love for books drove her to become an inspiration for us all.

writers

We have asked Jane to answer us a few questions about Robin Hobb, George R.R. Martin and Mark Lawrence.

Do you still remember the first time you met them? What was your first impression?

Jane: I was quite worried about meeting George for the first time – I mean, my only contact with him up to that point had been through his work. And anyone who could kill beloved characters off so mercilessly was likely to be a bit of a monster, right?

Jane on the Iron Throne with my Voyager editor Natasha Bardon and deputy publishing director, Emma Coode

Jane on the Iron Throne with my Voyager editor Natasha Bardon and deputy publishing director Emma Coode

Wrong. George turned out to be the most affable, charming, funny writer I had encountered in years with an infectious and very surprising giggle and a very naughty sense of humour. He’s a bear of a man and, well, you just want to hug him, despite all the gallons of blood shed in A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE. But there is also, beneath that affability, a steely character made up of equal parts of stubbornness, principle, and powerful intelligence. He’s a man who doesn’t suffer fools gladly and as a publisher he keeps you on your toes.

Robin Hobb (aka Megan Lindholm) is on the face of it George’s polar opposite: a small, modest woman who never pushes herself forward but exudes a quiet confidence. She was very polite and reserved, very accommodating. We had worked together for years before I began to understand the real person behind the persona of the perfect writer. It’s not for me to give away her secrets, but put it this way: she’s a lot more like George than you’d imagine. Toughness of character, a steely intelligence, determination, a wicked sense of humour, and a great deal of human warmth. All this you might intuit from reading the books: also that she is very secretive – she’s kept us all guessing about the nature of one of her central characters for 20 years!

'A Game of Thorns?' by Dusty Wallace

‘A Game of Thorns?’ by Dusty Wallace

Mark Lawrence is not an easy man to get to know, partly because his circumstances make it difficult for him to travel (he cares for his disabled daughter Celyn, and works as a scientist, as well as writing, so that’s a round-the-clock schedule that makes travel well nigh impossible. First impressions came through the writing – of someone fearsomely intelligent, with an acute sense of humour and a streak of torrid viciousness that left me wondering whether I actually wanted to meet him! In person, though, Mark is good company: quiet and smart and fascinating to talk to, very gentle, very easygoing. He’s curious about the workings of things – especially the book trade, and often brings to the conversation a scientist’s logic that shows up our industry as the haphazard, serendipitous, Heath Robinsonian thing it really is. You can’t bamboozle Mark, and I would never try. As an editor I’ve learned that honesty is always the best policy, especially when allied with passion for the work.

If you could organise your next meeting with them anywhere in the world where would you take them?
Jane with Robin Hobb at her recent FP signing

Jane with Robin Hobb at her recent FP signing

Jane: George, I would take to the world’s best curry house. He’s a man who dearly loves a curry, the hotter the better.
 
Megan, I would take to a wolf sanctuary so that we could walk and talk. You know she raised a wolfcub in the wilds of Alaska as a child? I think she’d like that.
 
 Mark, I would have to spirit away by time machine so as not to disrupt his schedule. Where would I take him? To Reyjavik, where I would get plenty of brennivin down him, and then we could wander around the museum and look at Viking axes 😀
 
What did you like most about their last book?

Jane: With George, that’s pretty much an impossible question to answer: the books are so immense, and do not stand alone. I love just about every character, wicked or good, that he creates: he invests them all with so much life. But of course we all adore Tyrion and his gorgeous witticisms and the warmth and depth of his humanity: despite being the smallest person in Westeros – or indeed now that he’s travelled so far afield, anywhere else in this vast world – he is without doubt the largest of soul and the marker by whom we judge all the other characters.

I just finished editing Megan’s new Robin Hobb novel, FOOL’S ASSASSIN, which we publish in August, and it was sheer thrilling, joyous, tear-jerking delight to return to my favourite characters in her world: that pair who share the most elusive, oblique, and touching love- affair-that-is-never-quite-a-love-affair-and-yet-much more in any form of fiction I have read. Readers have such an intense treat in store.

Prince of Fools ARC competition

Prince of Fools ARC competition

Mark, having treated us to the ultimate anti-hero-who-is-actually-a-hero in Jorg Ancrath in the three BROKEN EMPIRE novels, is now treating us to his polar opposite: Prince Jalan Kendeth in his new trilogy, THE RED QUEEN’S WAR. Jal is what I like to call the ‘Fantasy Flashman’ – that is Harry Flashman, made famous by that wonderful writer, George MacDonald Fraser. Jal is a coward, a womanizer, a gambler, a liar and a strutting peacock of a waster: but he is also cursed with battle-frenzy, a dark angel and a hilarious turn of phrase. Readers are going to love him.

Mitriel

Prince of Fools

From Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence

Mitriel