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    Review of THE LIARíS KEY by Mark Lawrence

    The Red Queen's War

    Ace, June 2015

    Viking warrior Snorri has found the Liarís Key, Lokiís device that can open any lock. Now, he plans on opening the door to death itself in an attempt to rescue his murdered wife and children. Prince Jalan Kendreth has accompanied Snorri on his questÖ always with complaintsÖ but he swears he will draw the line here. Thereís no way that Jalan, a coward, thief, liar and hedonist, intends to put himself in more danger than he has to. With some of the decisions heís made, however, Jalan finds himself constantly in danger and itís often hard for him to figure out which path is safest.

    Snorriís quest takes him to some of the deadliest parts of the world. To Jalanís delight, those the route seems to be heading south, toward Jalanís home where his grandmother, the Red Queen, rules. When the witch Kara joins them and opens Jalanís memories, he learns more than he wants about his grandmother, the death of his mother, and his own questionable magical talent.

    Jalan spends his time running away from Snorri and his other companions but the two are connected, both magically and (despite Jalanís wishes) emotionally. Then again, if youíre a liar, compulsive seducer and cheat, itís helpful to have a massive Viking as a friend. Author Mark Lawrence continues his Red Queenís War series with an enjoyable saga. In many ways, Jalan is the antithesis of the fantasy hero. Not only does he start out as a liar and fake, he proudly clings to this identity even when doing so causes more trouble than it could possibly be worth. Fate seems especially unkind to Jalan because it forces him to become a hero no matter how unheroically he acts. Itís hard not to admire such a dedicated effort to remain a slimebucket. Lawrence combines intriguing characterization with a nice mix of action and characterization.

    Frankly, it took me a while to get into Jalan. But, despite my efforts, I became seduced by this unlikely but ultimately likable anti-hero.)

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 5/29/16

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