Faith in Books: Emperor of Thorns


Emperor of Thorns

By Mark Lawrence

The awesome conclusion of Lawrence’s Broken Empire trilogy is here! If you have begun reading this series, you will not be disappointed. If you are a gentle reader, this may not be the series for you. You have been warned. See my previous posts below of the first two books.

Emperor of Thorns continues the story of Jorg of Ancrath, now king of seven nations. Many details of the time period (post-apocolyptic) have been revealed and we have seen Jorg get into and out of some incredible scrapes. Emperor does not disappoint. Also, this book fills in about a nine month gap from the previous book and answers some questions that were left hanging last time around. And blessings on Lawrence: he has announced that is the end of the stories about Jorg so we don’t have to wait for another in the series.

I like Jorg. I don’t really know why because he isn’t a likable character but he has grown on me. He seems to be liked by those who get to know him in the book as well. Jorg continues to get into an impossible situations and then extricates himself. And he never does it in the same way — it isn’t as if he has some kind of super power that will help him (the powers that clung to him in the last book have faded). Now if only I could get out of my difficulties in a brilliant way but without so much bloodshed and hard feelings!

What did this book have to do with my faith? SPOILER ALERT! Death becomes a major factor in the end of this series. The implication is that our concepts of heaven and hell are fabricated by humans and have no place in reality. What I find interesting is a constant emphasis on re-animating the dead: through a zombie-like state (with bits missing); as a walking corpse (kind of like sleep-walking); appearances as a ghost (machine generated); or simply because death is not strong enough to hold a person in a traditional life after life spiritual plane.  Now, all of you bible scholars will note that scriptures point not to eternal life in the clouds behind the gold gates but a renewal here on earth. Jesus will return and the dead will rise. There will be a new creation here on this planet and not on some kind of spiritual plane. Don’t get me wrong — it is comforting to think of your loved one looking down upon you in the presence of God. But Jesus was raised from the dead and ascended in bodily form. Paul goes to great lengths to stress that the dead will rise and even those not brave enough to read Revelation know that Christ comes here not the other way around. Very hard to change our impressions of what death will be like. Lawrence does a great job in making us think! What are your thoughts about death? Is rising from the grave at all appealing to you?

I highly recommend Emperor of Thorns!

Happy reading (and contemplating)!


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2 Responses to Faith in Books: Emperor of Thorns

  1. Pingback: Emperor of Thorns | Benign guy

  2. I discovered these books this year. I almost stopped reading PoT due to the dark subject matter but was encouraged by a friend I trust to keep at it. So glad I did. I enjoyed KoT even more and finished Emperor with enthusiastic relish along with some tears. Lawrence’s writing is so strong, Most of the books I’ve read since have felt anemic by comparison.
    You asked about people’s thoughts on death. From another of my favorite reads comes this quote: “Each man, when he dies, sees the landscape of his own soul.”
    ― Martine Leavitt, Keturah and Lord Death
    Loved your reviews and how they relate to your faith.

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