Known best for his Broken Empire series, award winning author Mark Lawrence returns with a collection of short stories from his celebrated fantasy world.
Road Brothers, released November 2nd, compiles 14 stories of murder, mayhem, pathos, and philosophy. The anthology follows Jorg Ancrath, our protagonist from the main novels, but depicts him not as we are used to. We see Jorg as a child of six, we travel with him as a roaming teenager, and finally glimpse at his first trials as a young king. Also contained are stories of new characters from Lawrence’s Red Queens war Series, as he follows rascal and womaniser Jalan Kendeth.
Fantasy Scriptorium spoke To Mark Lawrence about his most recent release…
How does it feel to go back to the world of the Broken empire?
“The 14 stories in the Road Brothers collection were written over the course of 4 years, beginning in 2013 when Emperor of Thorns came out. I’ve fitted them into various gaps in my main writing, or used them as a change of pace. So I’ve never really left the Broken Empire world – I dip into it fairly regularly.”
Are there any overarching themes in this collection?
“I guess if there are overarching themes – and remember these stories weren’t written with a collection in mind – it would be about the moments that form the foundation of a person. How we come to be who we are, and whether there is any choice involved.”
With that said, what was your inspiration and reasoning for revisiting these characters specifically?
“Mainly it was fun! But Jorg’s story is very firmly focused on Jorg. He has interesting characters around him but following up on the tantalising glimpses of their pasts is not in his nature. Jorg isn’t a people person. So that meant there was plenty to go back and look at in more detail.”
How different is it from writing short stories, such as those in Road Brothers, to writing full series’?
“It’s much harder to write a good short story than to write a good chapter of the same length. Short stories have to be very efficient and to cram a book’s worth of world building, plot, character, and story into a small space without the reader feeling crowded. A very different art.”
Do you enjoy either style more?
“I like the variety. Just as I don’t eat curry every night I wouldn‘t want to write a short story every week. But it makes a welcome change every now and then.”
Personally, I love short story collections, it can be such a relaxing way to read and experience less so called “important” stories, and really connect with the characters.
Do you plan on releasing or writing any more short story collections, maybe for the Red Queens War or your newest series?
“I have no plans but it may happen. Road Brothers contains one story about Jalan Kendeth from The Red Queen’s War. I wrote another Jalan story recently for an upcoming charity anthology (The Art of War). If I ever gather enough of these tales to make a decent collection then I’m sure I will put one together.”
Fans of Lawrence will be happy to know that more books are well on there way. His new series, Book of The Ancestor, which already has it’s first instalment “Red Sister”, is like his previous works achieving critical acclaim scoring 9.2/10 from Fantasy Book Review and 4.3/5 from Good Reads.
Road Brothers is now available on Amazon, check it out.
Road Brothers- Mark Lawrence