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The second book in the Broken Empire series, Lawrence takes his young anti-hero one step closer to his grand ambition. To reach greatness you must step on bodies, and many brothers lie trodden in my wake. I've walked from pawn to player and I'll win this game of ours, though the cost of it may drown the world in blood... The land burns with the fires of a hundred battles as lords and petty kings fight for the Broken Empire. The long road to avenge the slaughter of his mother and brother has shown Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath the hidden hands behind this endless war. He saw the game and vowed to sweep the board. First though he must gather his own pieces, learn the rules of play, and discover how to break them. A six nation army, twenty thousand strong, marches toward Jorg's gates, led by a champion beloved of the people. Every decent man prays this shining hero will unite the empire and heal its wounds. Every omen says he will. Every good king knows to bend the knee in the face of overwhelming odds, if only to save their people and their lands. But King Jorg is not a good king. Faced by an enemy many times his strength Jorg knows that he cannot win a fair fight. But playing fair was never part of Jorg's game plan.
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As a child there's a horror in discovering the limitations of the ones you love. The time you find that your mother cannot keep you safe, that your tutor makes a mistake, that the wrong path must be taken because the grown-ups lack the strength to take the right one... each of those moments is the theft of your childhood, each of them a blow that kills some part of the child you were, leaving another part of the man exposed, a new creature, tougher but tempered with bitterness and disappointment.