“Being on a ship is rather like being in gaol. I can say this with authority, having spent time in both.”
The New World continues the story of Mark Lawrence’s fantasy odd couple, Jalan Kendeth and Snorri ver Snagason, after the conclusion of his brilliant Red Queen’s War trilogy, which began with Prince of Fools and continued with The Liar’s Key and The Wheel of Osheim. Previously included as part of The Red Queen’s War omnibus from Grim Oak Press, The New World is now available as a standalone novella through Amazon.
Formerly a playboy prince, Jalan has been appointed a cardinal by Pope Gomst III. Yes, apparently Father Gomst from the Broken Empire trilogy has received a promotion since his Emperor of Thorns days.
The premise of The New World is that Cardinal Jalan is sent on a voyage to America, nominally to serve as a missionary. The story itself revolves around the journey rather than the destination:
“The good thing about being a cardinal was that I got the biggest cabin on the ship. The bad thing was that I was in a cabin. On a ship.”
The story itself is a lot of fun. There’s seasickness, mutiny, and even some of Lawrence’s subtle Star Trek humor (not necessarily in that order). I laughed out loud several times while reading The New World, particularly during Jalan’s ill-fated chess match:
“I’m a cardinal! I push bishops around for a living.”
Mark Lawrence fans who enjoy playing “I Spy a Taproot” will be more than satisfied with this novella, which also features appearances by the enigmatic Dr. Elias Taproot, the key character who unifies Mark Lawrence’s greater universe across his trilogies.
If you love the Red Queen’s War trilogy as much as I do, be sure to check out The New World. Jalan is such a vibrant narrator, always bursting with incisive humor, self-deprecating and otherwise. It’s truly a joy spending more quality time with fantasy’s greatest odd couple, Jalan and Snorri, and their supporting cast. The New World also works well as a standalone story, even if you haven’t yet started the Red Queen’s War.