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A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1 | [George R. R. Martin]

A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: A favorite of Audible listeners, the first book in Martin's series introduces a world of deep intrigue, dark fantasy, and varied characters. It might prove overwhelming, were it not for Roy Dotrice. With a voice so seasoned and gripping that he may have stepped from, well, a George R. R. Martin novel, Dotrice gives each character their own persona and regionality, helping to anchor the listener throughout the action and intrigue. —Ed Walloga

Publisher's Summary

In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow. At the center of the conflict, the Starks of Winterfell hold the key: a reluctant Lord Eddard is summoned to serve as the king's new Hand, an appointment that threatens to sunder both family and kingdom. In this land of extremes, plots and counterplots, soldiers and sorcerers, each side fights to win the deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

©1996 George R.R. Martin, (P)2003 Books On Tape, Inc., published in arrangement with Random House Audio Group,a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Locus Award, 1997

"Martin's trophy case is already stuffed with major prizes...He's probably going to have to add another shelf, at least." (Publishers Weekly)
"The first volume in Martin's first fantasy saga combines intrigue, action, romance, and mystery in a family saga." (Booklist)
"Grabs hold and won't let go. It's brilliant." (Robert Jordan)
"This novel is an absorbing combination of the mythic, the sweepingly historical, and the intensely personal." (Chicago Sun-Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (31651 )
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4.6 (24892 )
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4.5 (24808 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Joseph Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States 10-17-10
    Joseph Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States 10-17-10 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
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    10
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    Overall
    "Crude"

    I don't mean the book is written badly, but I mean that everything, I do mean everything, is explained in graphic detail. The characters speak in crass terms too, so be warned. Also this series is yet to be completed and unlike Wheel of Time, it doesn't look to be completed anytime soon. I would therefore avoid the Ice and Fire saga.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melanie Sylmar, CA, United States 08-24-10
    Melanie Sylmar, CA, United States 08-24-10 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    28
    8
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    1
    0
    Overall
    "Fantastic tale!"

    Finally a fantasy tale that is as gripping as any thriller I've ever read. I loved the story, the characters, the world that GRRM created, and the narrator. All in all a very enjoyable read. I highly recommend this book to folks who don't need fairy tales, but are looking for edge of the seat drama in a ficitional world that comes alive from the start to the end of the novel.

    My only gripe about this particular Audible download is some of the reviewers of this work. I read both the positive and the negative reviews to get a handle on whether I'd enjoy the book or not. I can't tell you how annoying it is to read spoilers in a review because the reviewer isn't polite enough to his fellow Audible-ites to give a heads up. I'm a little surprised that Audible doesn't police that better. As to those reviewers who like to spoil the tale for others, their spoiler remarks gave such the wrong impression of how the tale unfolded that no wonder they didn't like the book...they didn't get it at all. Go back to fairy tale reading!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colin atascadero, CA, United States 07-09-10
    Colin atascadero, CA, United States 07-09-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    191
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    287
    46
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    5
    0
    Overall
    "5 Star book, 3 star narration"

    I've been thinking about listening to this book for a couple years but was held back by the 2 credit charge. When I saw HBO is doing a series based on it I knew I better go for it and I have not been disappointed! Some of the best characters, character development, plot twists, sub-plots and dialogue I've read since the last Peter F. Hamilton book I read!

    My only complaint is with the narrator who makes everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, sound like crusty 70 year old men. He's got a bunch of different crusty old men voices, but it's pretty weird listening to a boy who's supposed to be 14 years old or an 8 year old girl talking like my emphysema inflicted bartender! I would rate it 5 stars if not for the narrator. Not saying he's not very good at certain characters but it would be better with a reader who could get the younger and female characters. Certainly won't stop me from moving on to part 2 though.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    OnexNW 04-04-10
    OnexNW 04-04-10 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    285
    8
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    1
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    Overall
    "narrator detracts from story"

    I listened to this in 2007, and never bought the other books in this series. Recently a friend of mine let me know that HBO was going to do a series based on these books, so I downloaded GoT again to get a refresher. I LOVE THIS STORY, but now I know why I never went any further. The English narrator does a fantastic job with older men, grizzled soldiers, and the like. But when it comes to portraying the women and youths in the story he fails miserably. They all end up sounding like some terrible version of my 90-yr-old grandmother, or they end up sounding whiney and petulant. Ugh. I'm going to finish the novel, but I'm sorely disappointed in the quality of the narrator.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom Somonauk, Illinois, United States 02-02-10
    Tom Somonauk, Illinois, United States 02-02-10 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    134
    ratings
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    96
    23
    FOLLOWERS
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    26
    2
    Overall
    "Brutal...foul..gruesome...i loved it"

    Well..this series is the best of the best. But be warned. Its not something a person would like who goes to church every week. its has murder, rape, incest and foul langauge. not on every page. but its there. But its there cause it brings out the story in a brutal time in a time of war. The author has a way for you to feel every charater, good or evil. And the narrator Roy Dotrice is great (for all but the latest books) I used to say Robert Jordans wheel of time was my favorite series...but this topped it!! (side note...the Imp is my favorite charather in the book :o) )

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John T. Alexandria, VA 06-22-09
    John T. Alexandria, VA 06-22-09 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    18
    1
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    0
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    Overall
    "Epic and compelling, once you get into it!"

    I was looking for a new series and a long one at that. I like fantasy-type books well enough, but only high-quality ones... there are endless mediocre books and series to be sure. This series was just what I was looking for though!

    It starts out quite slowly; as other reviews mentioned, there is a tremendous host of characters and there are so many simultaneous plots going on! It took me a good 3-4 hours to warm up to the narrator and familiarize myself with the characters and what was going on.

    It is definitely worth it though. By the time the momentum finally builds up, you're hooked for the duration. And what a duration! I listened to this for weeks and finally finished it up on a return 20-hour road trip. I can't wait for the next installment.

    Great writing, great plot, very good narrator. I wish there was more variation in the voices, but honestly with so many characters I can't fault the narrator for running out of accents and voices. The many varied voices he *does* do are superb and he's dead-on emoting a vast array of character types, moods & emotions. The only way they could have possibly handled it better would be to have another narrator or two just for side characters and/or females or something.

    This one will keep you entertained and riveted for quite a long time; and this is just book 1!

    I highly recommend it.

    5 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C J WA, USA 06-18-09
    C J WA, USA 06-18-09 Member Since 2013

    cj

    HELPFUL VOTES
    114
    ratings
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    442
    29
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    7
    2
    Overall
    "Good not great"

    This was just a good book for me, not great. I found the story interesting after I got the hang of it. First, you are introduced to several different story lines and over 50 characters in the first two hours. After the first hour, I started jotting down notes to keep the characters straight, and after another couple hours, I was able to work it worked out.

    This would be a really good book for those interested in fiction about politics, power, war and intrigue. I was hoping for a bit more fantasy, and this is not it

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristina Raleigh, NC, USA 04-21-09
    Kristina Raleigh, NC, USA 04-21-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
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    0
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    Overall
    "Amazing story, wonderful narrator"

    This book is fantastic. Very enthralling - I find myself actually looking forward to my two hour commute each day! the story is complex and full of twists and turns, and you will be engrossed in the character's lives. I highly recommend it.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Weston, FL, USA 01-04-09
    Chris Weston, FL, USA 01-04-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    28
    1
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    0
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    "I loved it!!!!"

    I loved it and would definitely recommend this to someone who likes the fantasy genre. The characters are well developed and the plot is intricate but engaging. I can't wait to listen to the others in the series. The reader did a wonderful job. His command of different voices makes the story come alive.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Edney Stuart, FL USA 10-28-08
    Steven Edney Stuart, FL USA 10-28-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Excellent"

    Believable characters that are well developed. No cardboard good vs evil. Excellent plot, good pacing, and no character is safe. This is not your predictable medieval fantasy epic. I also enjoyed the reader and thought he did a fine job. If the rest of the series matches this first book, I will be very pleased.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
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