Genre: Dark Fantasy/Grimdark
Author info: http://www.marklawrence.buzz/
Disclaimer: I have received a review copy from the author.This is an indie book by Mark Lawrence, a collection of short stories set in The Broken Empire world, each one featuring one of Jorg’s infamous band of Road Brothers. If you haven’t read The Broken Empire, I must say the stories and the footnotes contain spoilers for all three books, so this book is best suited for those who have read and enjoyed The Broken Empire trilogy.
I must admit I’m not quite over The Broken Empire hangover yet, even though Red Queen’s War books are awesome and set in the same world, I missed Jorg and his brothers a great deal. These stories give a great insight to the characters’ backgrounds, let them shine on their own without Jorg’s majestic presence and show you how they ended up there. I would categorize these stories not as just grimdark fantasy but also as literary fiction. The way they depict the human condition and how the choices people make shape their whole life remind me of the rather grim short stories from the grand masters of literary fiction I’ve read in my younger days.
Two of the stories are about Jorg, the rest feature Jorg’s band of brothers. Red Kent didn’t have a huge presence in the trilogy but his story is pretty powerful and as a lover of rustic settings, I found it a delight to read. Brother Sim was one of my favorites from The Broken Empire, his piece is superb and full of almost lyrical dark suspense. The leucrota Gorgoth has a killer show. Father Gomst story has the best cameos and ‘a-ha!’ moments.
We even get to see a cameo of Snorri’s father (for those who haven’t read Prince of Fools, Snorri is one of the main characters there) in the Nuban story. Nuban was one of my favorite brothers and his story is a true masterpiece, showing the tribal culture and spirit in poetic beauty. The book made me want to re-read The Broken Empire so badly, but alas, I have a lot of other grimdark books to read and review. But then again I might cave in and just do it. Then I will re-read The Road Brother tales, too, for these stories are the kind that warrant multiple re-reads.
Amazon link: Road Brothers – Tales From The Broken Empire