The Liar’s Key. Book Review

liarTHE LIAR’S KEY by Mark Lawrence
HarperVoyager, h/b, 672pp, £14.99.
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins.

It is winter in the icy, Viking north, and Prince Jalan Kendeth, tenth in line to the Red Queen’s throne, may be far from home, but he is indulging in his favourite old pastimes nonetheless. Sadly the male relatives of his most recent conquests are no more amused here than their counterparts were back in his homeland. Perhaps it is time to leave the north behind.

More surprisingly, Snorri ver Snagason, Jalan’s hulking warrior companion, seems to be in agreement. They have a boat, a key, the burdens of their pasts, the voices in their heads, and a purpose. Or maybe more than one purpose. It is time for Jal and his friend to travel back across the Broken Empire, but at who’s bidding do they really move?

The second book in The Red Queen’s War follows Lawrence’s second prince protagonist as he discovers more about the machinations of his grandmother, the Red Queen, the mysterious Lady Blue and the Builders that came before them all. Jalan’s narration is once again a humorous joy, in what is otherwise a sometimes-gruesome and heart-wrenching tale.

The Liar’s Key also brings us more glimpses into Snorri’s past with a wonderful dream-like quality that this, along with Jalan’s forays into his own past, inject into the narrative. Lawrence brings us another gratifying piece of fantasy and leaves us with even more excitement to wait for. This series has as much to recommend it as The Broken Empire trilogy before it. Nothing else need be said.