King of Thorns (The Broken Empire)
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The boy who would be king has gained the throne...
At age nine, Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath vowed to avenge his slaughtered mother and brother—and to punish his father for not doing so. At fifteen, he began to fulfill that vow. Now, at eighteen, he must fight for what he has taken by torture and treachery.
Haunted by the pain of his past, and plagued by nightmares of the atrocities he has committed, King Jorg is filled with rage. And even as his need for revenge continues to consume him, an overwhelming enemy force marches on his castle.
Jorg knows that he cannot win a fair fight. But he has found a long-hidden cache of ancient artifacts. Some might call them magic. Jorg is not certain—all he knows is that their secrets can be put to terrible use in the coming battle...
William was young for it. He could only ever find the dog star and the Pole Star.” I saw Will pointing, arm stretched out as if to touch each star, finger questing. “Sirius and Polaris.” Robert sipped his wine. “I can’t remember much more. Rowen had the mind for it. In some twins the gifts are not shared out evenly. She got the brains and the looks. I got…a knack with horses.” “I got a knack with killing.” The wine ran over my tongue, its flavour dark and layered. “More than that, surely.”
chainmail veil out over the back of his neck. He looked from me to Miana. “Our alliance requires that the union be sealed, King Jorg.” I threw my hands up. “Christ bleeding! You saw us married. It’s the middle of the day and we’re fighting a pitched battle.” “Even so.” No room for negotiation on that pinched face. He turned to follow Sir Makin. “Your grandfather knows the blood of both your parents runs in you, sire. I cannot act until the alliance is complete.” And that left me on my throne
can’t make me forgive the means by which he taught it. For a time there on the road I followed Father’s teaching: strength in all things, no quarter. On the road I had known with the utter conviction of a child that the Empire throne would be mine only if I kept true to the hard lessons of Justice and the thorns. Weakness is a contagion, one breath of it can corrupt a man whole and entire. Now though, even with all the evil in me, I don’t know if I could teach such lessons to a son of mine.
came near. He hit me, and then he used me? That sick boy, daring the knife, barely able to stand? October 11th, Year 98 Interregnum Ancrath. The Tall Castle. My chambers. I saw Friar Glen in the Blue Hall today. I’ve stopped going to his services but I saw him in the hall. I watched his hands, his thick fingers and his thick thumbs. I watched them and I thought of those fading bruises, yellow now, and I came to the tall closet, and here I am with the torn satin in my hands. Skin,
the Gilden Gate for our master and set a new emperor on the throne.” The dead of Gelleth came then, wandering through the marsh as if lost, ambling one way and the next. Ghosts these, but looking real enough, with their burns and their sores, teeth missing, hair and skin falling away. Hundreds of them, thousands, in a great ring of accusation. They pressed so hard that at the back some of the bog-dead were pushed aside and trampled under. “So,” said Rike. “Marry the bitch.” “She’s going to