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.
"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)
Having read the three currently available books in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, I was very excited to introduce them to my wife via Audible.com. After reading the negative reviews about the reader, I was leery; I did not want a bad reader to ruin one of the best fantasy sagas of all time. We gave it a shot anyway, and are extremely glad we did.
First let me say, in my opinion, this work of fiction is one of the most captivating, wide scoped and all encompassing works written. Martin's mix of fantasy and reality is what makes this series stand out. Unlike many other writers of this genre, Martin never lets you forget these are "real" people, with "real" feelings and needs. You will not find the knight in shining armor here; everyone has a past, everyone has a secret, no one is safe.
As for the reader, he, like many of the characters in the story, grows and matures as they do. His telling has added to the story, not taken away. I think perhaps a few of the negative reviews are more a reflection of the complexity of the story, rather than Roy's telling. If anything, I think the editor of the audio could have done a better job. If you remember that each chapter in this book is not numbered, but rather is titled by the name of a character who's perspective we are about to take, you'll be much better off. Sometimes, there is no pause between the end of a chapter and the beginning of another (it just sounds like the start of the next sentence). Since the chapters are not traditionally titled, this can lead to confusion.
This is not a story that one can passively enjoy. It is one that demands your attention and focus. Roy, appropriately, demands the same. Remember my little hint regarding the chapters, and you'll be fine!
Cheers to a fabulous story, and a telling to remember.
George RR Martin is a GENIUS!!! I cannot remember when was the last time I felt this excited and enchanted by a book. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!
This series is amazing. This is praise I do not often give. Although a little confusing at first due to the extreme depth and the vast number of characters, once you have 4 or 5 hours invested in the story you will be hooked. George RR Martin has created a tale unlike any of his fantasy genre predessesors. I'm now on the third book and after about 100 hours of listening to Roy Dotrice's storytelling, I can think of nothing else but Westeros. You will not be dissappointed.
I thouroughly enjoyed this book. It is well written, packed with action and never dull. It took me a couple of hours to catch onto the names of the numerous characters, but once you figure out who is who... no difficulties in following the story. Great stuff!
This book reminds me of the Dune books. Complicated political double dealing and and vast tapestry of characters high and low. Not my favorite reader, but the material alone makes up for lackluster narration. (Besides, how can you blame the guy for running out of accents in a 33+ hour performance?) I eagerly look forward to volumes 2, 3 and 4.
The series is so well written that it's captivating from the start. It pulls you in, but beware of the fantasy world you are being pulled into. It's harsh, destructive, with a sexual edge that makes it nearly more erotic than fantasy. Unfourtantly, the sexual edge combines with the harshness to create some very disturbing situtations. I have trouble recommending this series to people for that very reason. It's not just that it's adult content, at times its disgusting content. The rewarding part is that the story continues to move, and once you get past those "scenes" you find one of the most well written fantasy stories you will every hear/read.
Admittedly, 32 hours is a LONG time to listen to a single story -- it's taken me a full month of daily commutes to and from work to complete this first book. nonetheless, I found the narration to be outstanding throughout and plan to purchase the audio to the 2nd book. that's the bottom line for me -- i enjoyed this so much that i will buy the next audio ASAP.
the narrator kept my interest for all those 32 hours, helped me distinguish between the numerous characters in the story by using different voices/accents/etc. unique to each, read with inflection and emotion that really conveyed the story on another level. he was outstanding.
re: the story itself, some reviewers have commented that it's less a fantasy novel and more a political novel, which i can't argue with. there are definitely elements of fantasy -- dragons, swordplay, castles, witches and healers, supernatural beings (The Others), etc. -- but the primary story line IS a political one. i found it fascinating on its own merits. the fantasy components just added to my enjoyment of the audio and book.
by the way, i had read this book over a year ago at the recommendation of a coworker who knew i read fantasy and sci-fi. i was shocked to discover george r.r. martin so late in my reading life. he is an excellent storyteller, his characters are rich and his plots complex, and best of all, his stories are as entertaining as i could hope.
i highly recommend this audio (and the book!).
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