The Broken Empire trilogy is am excellent addition to the fantasy world by first time author Mark Lawrence. The series starts off with Prince of Thorns, the story of a prince who deserts his titles to run with a group of outlaws.
Barely much older than a child, Prince Jorg lives happily in a castle with his parents and brother. His father’s is one of many kingdoms attempting to gain rule over the Empire as a whole. An empire which has broken after some sort of great disaster hundreds of years in the past. While this is most definitely a fantasy book, it occasionally hints at a post apocalyptic past.
When a family tragedy occurs, Jorg runs from his life of luxury with a group of escaped prisoners. For several years he lives a life of crime and murder before an incident on the road forces him to reveal his past and return home to claim what is his.
This book, as well as the series as a whole, is decidedly dark in nature. Young Prince Jorg is an excellently written anti-hero through and through. While many of his actions are despicable and self-serving, you never completely root against him. An excellent twist on the genre and a must read for fantasy fans not afraid to get their hands dirty.